American Express charge cards: Which ones fit you?

Woman in car shops for the best American Express charge cardImage: Woman in car shops for the best American Express charge card

In a Nutshell

Even though changes to certain American Express cards means the issuer doesn’t technically offer charge cards anymore, you can still find flexibility with three Amex cards that have no preset credit limits.
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American Express doesn’t offer any true charge cards to consumers anymore — but if you’re looking for flexibility, you can still avoid preset spending limits with several Amex cards.

The American Express® Gold Card, American Express® Green Card and Platinum Card® from American Express all used to be described as “charge cards.” This meant that while the cards looked and acted like traditional credit cards in terms of making purchases and earning rewards, they typically needed to be paid off in full each billing period — you couldn’t carry a balance.

Amex has made some changes to its charge cards, though. Now these cards come with options to pay for purchases over a longer time period. The Pay It Plan It® and Pay Over Time features enable you to finance qualifying charges and pay them back over time, for a fee or with interest.

If you tend to spend a lot and usually don’t carry debt on your credit cards, these cards can still provide convenience and flexibility. Unlike traditional credit cards, they don’t come with hard and fast credit limits that you’ll know upfront — instead, the amount you can spend adjusts based on factors such as the purchase and your payment and credit history. Note that this doesn’t mean you’ll have no limit at all.

Here’s what you need to know about the best American Express cards with no preset spending limit.



Compare these cards

  Platinum Card® from American Express American Express® Gold Card American Express® Green Card
Welcome bonus 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending at least $6,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending at least $4,000 on purchases within 6 months of account opening 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending at least $2,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening
Highest rewards rate 5 points per $1 spent on flights and booked through an airline or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year, then 1 point per $1; 5 points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants; 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1 point per $1) 3 points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases and 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants
Annual fee $695 $250 $150

American Express® Gold Card

If you consider yourself a foodie or spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets, you stand to earn a load of Membership Rewards points with the American Express® Gold Card. Cardholders earn …

  • 4 points per $1 spent at restaurants
  • 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then one point per $1 after that)
  • 3 points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on AmexTravel.com
  • 1 point per $1 spent on purchases everywhere else

Although the card’s $250 annual fee is a bit pricey, several benefits quickly make up for it. You’ll earn dining credits worth up to $120 total (up to $10 per month) at popular restaurants and with food delivery services. Plus, card members can earn a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending at least $4,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

Learn more with our review of the American Express® Gold Card.

American Express® Green Card

Though this Amex card comes with fewer bells and whistles than the others on this list, it has a lower annual fee of $150.

The American Express® Green Card earns you just one Membership Rewards point per $1 on everyday purchases. But you’ll earn three points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, at restaurants worldwide and on transit (including options like rideshares, tolls and subway fare).

The card also has a welcome bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Learn more in our review of the American Express® Green Card.

Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a favorite among travelers, and for good reason. It has a luxurious lineup of benefits and rewards, which makes up for the eye-popping $695 annual fee.

For starters, you’ll earn a welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending at least $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

Plus, the rewards rate is pretty good — you’ll earn …

  • 5 points per $1 spent on flights booked through an airline or at AmexTravel.com on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year (then one point per $1)
  • 5 points per $1 spent at prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
  • 1 point per $1 spent on purchases elsewhere

You can redeem points for travel purchases, statement credits, gift cards and more.

Even if you don’t spend a lot on travel, you can still get a lot of value out of the card’s other benefits, such as up to $200 annually in Uber Cash credits for U.S. Uber rides or Uber eats orders and access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide through the Global Lounge Collection.

Learn more in our review of the Platinum Card® from American Express.

How to pick the right card for you

If a card with no preset spending limit sounds appealing to you, one of these three cards from American Express could be a good option. But the best card for you will depend on where you typically spend.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a clear standout for people who frequently travel, don’t mind paying a hefty annual fee and can take advantage of the card’s premium benefits. But the annual fee and travel-focused perks mean it won’t make sense for everyone, especially if your purchases align with other bonus categories. You might be better off with a more moderately priced travel card instead.

The American Express® Gold Card is especially geared toward foodies, with good rewards at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. But the value of this card — and whether it outpaces the annual fee — comes down to how often you dine out and purchase flights directly through airlines or through the American Express Travel Center. Again, you might want to consider a cheaper credit card with no annual fee instead — perhaps something like the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

If the annual fees on the other two cards give you pause, the American Express® Green Card offers a cheaper alternative with a $150 annual fee. It’s a good fit for the occasional traveler looking to rack up travel rewards for the first time. But the rewards rate is pretty mediocre, especially compared to some other rewards credit cards with a similar annual fee.

When it comes down to it, pick the card that best aligns with your spending habits. But also consider whether you really want a card where juggling balances can be complicated. Because of the high annual fees and limitations in terms of carrying a balance, a lot of people may prefer a regular rewards credit card instead.

Not sure any of these cards are for you? Consider these alternatives.


About the author: Kim Porter is a writer and editor who has written for AARP the Magazine, Credit Karma, Reviewed.com, U.S. News & World Report, and more. Her favorite topics include maximizing credit… Read more.