Best Amex Credit Cards, What Is The Perfect 4 Card Wallet?
American Express recently reduced the limit allowed on credit cards from 5 to 4 per person. This is only for credit cards, since the cards without a preset limit have their own 10 card limit. The move was not all that surprising with the economy being in the dumps right now and it is really more of a return to the old. American Express used to have a 4 card limit but it creeped up to 5, or sometimes 6, after Amex took over Citi’s side of the Hilton portfolio too. That left me wondering, with the new lower limits what are the best Amex credit cards? What is the ideal 4 card Amex wallet? A lot will depend on your personal situation but I will give you some of my thoughts on that question.
The Perfect Amex Wallet
We are going to ignore cards without preset spending limits, like the Amex Gold and Platinum, since they have their own 10 card limit and are not included in the 4 card credit card limit. Your decision may vary greatly depending on your goals. If you are a Delta enthusiast and try to spend your way to status then you may simply carry the 4 Delta cards to rack up MQMs. If you love Hilton then you may lean towards those cards, and carry 3 of them, for the perks and free night certs. I am going to try to focus on a more general picture. I will also assume you can get both business and personal cards.
The Everyday Champion
The one Amex card that everyone with a business should get is the Blue Business Plus. You earn 2 Membership Rewards on all purchases, up to $50,000 in spend each year. The best part is they are fully transferable points. There is no need for an annual fee card like Chase and Citi to have access to transfer partners. This is one of the best cards on the market and in the top 2 or 3 for no fee cards as well. It is the one Amex card that everyone should get and it deserves a top spot in the 4 card wallet.
The Bonus Point Earner
Now that we have the everyday card out of the way we should focus on the best credit card for bonus spend. My pick would be the Amex Everyday Preferred. After making 30 transactions per statement period you can earn 4.5X Membership Rewards on grocery (up to $6000 per year), 3X on gas and 1.5X on everything else. It is a great backup card for everyday spend if you are a big spender and max out the $50K limit with the Blue Business+ card. I think the Everyday Preferred is kind of underrated in this space because of the lower grocery limits. I still think it is a great all around card and one of the best one card wallet options out there for most people.
Another option would be the Blue Cash Preferred if you prefer cashback. You earn 6% back on grocery spend, up to $6,000 per year, and 6% on streaming services. You also earn 3% back on gas, transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains and buses.
The Co-Brand Option
We now have everyday spend and a lot of bonus areas covered let’s focus on getting some co-branded action in the mix. I wanted to focus on something that has a good earning structure plus the opportunity to earn some extra goodies. I think the Hilton Surpass fits that bill perfectly. You can earn 6X on gas, grocery and restaurant purchases. You can also earn a free night certificate after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year. That adds another $250-$300 in value on top of the points you earn. This also gives us a great option for restaurant spend, an area we haven’t touched on yet. The card also comes with pretty valuable Hilton gold status, probably the best mid-tier hotel status out there.
The Perks Card Option
Okay, so we have all angles of spending pretty much covered with our first 3 cards but what about some perks? We still haven’t touched on lounge access, resort credits or top tier status. There are a couple of options for you. My first choice would be the Hilton Aspire card since the card essentially pays you to take it. Others may prefer the Bonvoy Brilliant card.
Dividing your loyalty between two brands can make some sense, since you would already have a Hilton card that comes with decent status. But the Brilliant card doesn’t have great spending categories AND its perks are not as valuable as the Aspire card’s perks. I will say, some people struggle to use the American Express airline incidental credit and Aspire resort credit and prefer the simplicity of the Brilliant’s credit.
Bonus Option, The Card Often Overlooked
One option I wanted to bring up that kind of goes under the radar a bit is the Amex Amazon business card. The card allows you to earn 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. I have this card in my current 5 card set up. Granted, I can usually do better than 5% by buying discounted Amazon gift cards but sometimes you just run out. Some people may prefer the simplicity of not chasing down every deal as well. However you want to slice it, this is a card that could slide into one of your 4 card slots for sure.
Best Amex Credit Cards – Final Thoughts
Hopefully I have given you something to chew on in regards to what the best Amex credit cards are. That is my ideal 4 credit card lineup with Amex. Remember that this does not include cards without a preset limit and it is not taking welcome offers into account. This is simply focusing on what the best long term strategy would be.
Please share your favorite 4 card lineup in the comments section below. I look forward to seeing what other people come up with.