The 8 “No Annual Fee” Amex Cards You Should Know About


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Considering I hold the Platinum Card from American Express ($550/year), the Citi Prestige card ($450/year) and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card ($450/year) you may be surprised to know that I love credit cards that come with no annual fee.

As the description tells you, these cards cost absolutely nothing to hold, some can be very useful for strategic or everyday spending and, as long as you use them every now and again, they stay alive (i.e. the credit card companies don’t shut them down) and they help keep up the average age of your credit card portfolio as you open and close whatever other credit/charge cards you’re interested in.

No annual fee cards like the Citi Double Cash card and the Chase Freedom cards are hugely popular because they earn valuable reward currencies (Citi ThankYou points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points) and they return a decent rate of return in categories where no other card offer a spending bonus…..but the Amex cards also have another use.

All Amex cards (regardless of how much they cost to hold) are eligible for Amex offers (I discussed some of the latest offers late last week) and these offers can be great for saving money and boosting points balances.

I hold the Hilton Honors credit card from American Express and the Amex EveryDay credit card and although neither costs me a cent to hold both often save me money.

Right now here are just a few of the offers I can see across these two cards:

All are very good deals and all would represent pure profit to me as the credit cards to which they’re attached cost me nothing to hold (assuming I’m not dumb enough to book something I wouldn’t have otherwise booked….which I’m not).

With that in mind I thought I’d take a brief look at the six personal no annual fee cards that Amex offers and two of the no annual fee Business cards that are also available.

Amex Personal No Annual Fee Cards

Amex EveryDay Credit Card

  • 2 Points/Dollar at US supermarkets on up to $6,000/year
  • 1 Point/Dollar everywhere else
  • 20% more points when you make 20 or more purchases with the card in a billing period

Cash Magnet Card

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit to how much you can earn

Note: Cash back is received in the form of reward dollars which are best redeemed for statement credits.


Blue Cash Everyday Card

  • 3% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000/year then 1% thereafter
  • 2% cash back at US gas stations and select US department stores
  • 1% cash back everywhere else

Note: Cash back is received in the form of reward dollars which are best redeemed for statement credits.


Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

  • 2 Miles/Dollar at US restaurants
  • 2 Miles/Dollar on purchases made directly with Delta
  • 1 Mile/Dollar everywhere else

Hilton Honors Card

  • 7 Points/Dollar on spending made with Hilton and properties in the Hilton portfolio
  • 5 Points/Dollar at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations
  • 3 Points/Dollar everywhere else
  • No Foreign transaction fees
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver status for as long as you hold the card
  • Earn Hilton Gold status after you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year

Blue From American Express

  • 1 Membership Reward Point/Dollar for all spend (no cap to earnings)

Amex Business No Annual Fee Cards

Blue Business Plus Credit Card

  • 2 Membership Reward Points/Dollar for all spend up to $50,000 in purchases (1 Point/Dollar thereafter)

SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card

  • 5% cash back at US office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased direct from US service providers (up to $50,000 in purchases, 1% thereafter)
  • 3% cash back on any one of these categories (up to $50,000 in purchases, 1% thereafter):
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
    • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
    • U.S. gas stations
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
  • 1% cash back everywhere else

Note: Cash back is received in the form of a statement credit.


Thoughts

Considering there is no annual fee for any of the cards mentioned above some of the earning rates are pretty good:

I value Membership Rewards points at a conservative 1.5 cents each which means that the Blue Plus Business Card earns an effective 3% cash back wherever you use it – that can come in very useful when it comes to spending in categories where other cards don’t generally offer bonuses (department stores, wholesalers, drug stores etc…).

The Hilton Honors card (which I hold) is very useful if you’re not a regular at Hilton properties but still want to be able to collect Honors points when you do find yourself staying at a Hilton property. The fact that this card also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees makes it even more useful.

If you don’t want to hold the Blue Plus Business card the Amex EveryDay card is a very good free option for spending at grocery stores – it effectively allows you to earn 3% back on the first $6,000 of grocery spending and that increases to 3.6% in each month that 20 transactions or more are put though on the card…and that’s very easy to do.

Overall all of these cards serve a purpose but don’t be tempted to apply for too many as there are pitfalls. Too many hits to your credit score doesn’t look good when you come to apply for cards from other providers and banks like Chase have the 5/24 rule which can really slow you down if you’ve already applied for a lot of credit cards.