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BEST American Express Credit Card Battle 2023 | American Express Platinum vs Gold vs Green

There are lots of claims floating around out there about which credit card is the best, but I’m not seeing a lot of evidence. Lucky for you, I’m a huge spreadsheet nerd. I went down the rabbit hole, so you don’t have to.

We’re going to look at which American Express credit card is the best at different spending levels and at different spending types.

For instance, are you spending money dining out or are you buying groceries to eat at home? Different spending habits will make a difference when it comes to which credit card is the best for you.

On the go? Watch my video here:

Let’s get into it.

American Express Credit Card Spreadsheet Overview

If you want to download it for free and follow along, here is the American Express credit card spreadsheet.

American Express Credit Card Lineup

Along the left-hand side is section one, where we go over all of the 7 different American Express credit cards (2 not shown in photo).

Moneycessity American Express Credit Card Spreadsheet

We’ve got two columns here, the annual column and the year one column.

The year one column is used to determine how much value you’re going to get if you want to churn the credit cards, but more on that later. The year one column adds up all the points and all the value that you get in year one only. There’s only one item that only applies to year one and that is the sign-up bonus.

The total of the annual column is how much money you can expect to get just from the annual fee and the annual bonuses before you factor in the points that you get from spending

User Profile

The second section is the user profile section in the top right corner, where you can include or exclude different annual bonuses or types of spending that are either applicable to you or not applicable.

For instance, you could remove the Uber credit if you’re not big on Uber. You could remove the digital credit if you don’t use streaming services. If you’re not taking trips every year, you can remove the annual hotel credit.

For each category, you put a one if the item applies to you, put a zero if it does not. All of these different categories are going to correspond to different credits and bonuses available for each of the different credit cards.

To start, we’re going to put a one in all the categories that will just be our default user profile so we can see all the different bonuses that all the credit cards have.

The only one we’re going to have a zero in is this first year only. You’d put a one in the first-year-only category if you were going to analyze which card is best for churning. More on that later.

Spending Levels and Categories

Below the user profile category, we’ve got the third section showing different spending levels along with the different categories of spending that make up that spending level, as well as the different American Express credit cards with the points that you get from each spending level.

Different spending levels for different spending categories

This top row shows the different spending levels and each spending level has different spending categories. The average American spends $19,000 on their credit card every year. And here I have filled out the average spending for all the different categories.

Points get from each American Express credit card at each spending level

Below that you can see the amount of points that each credit card gets at the different spending levels. The $19,000 spending category corresponds to this row here. You can see with the default user profile, that the American Express card is getting $1,426 worth of points. But later on, we will change the user profile to match different profiles of spenders.

Further down in this third section, I’ve also included a graphical view if you prefer to see which cards are on top and how they increase in points as the spending level increases.

The Y-axis corresponds to the number of points each card is getting.

The X-axis corresponds to the number of dollars you spend in the year.

American Express Credit Card Lineup

American Express Platinum

This is the big dog of the American Express credit cards. You can see it has the biggest annual fee, $695.

As for the signup bonus, in order to get the $800 worth of points, you have to spend $8,000 on your credit card in the first 6 months. With most credit cards, you have to hit the spending goal within the first 3 months, so the American Express Platinum card has a little bit more flexibility, giving you 6 months to hit it.

Keep in mind that this Uber credit is not $200 towards rides, it is $200 towards your Uber membership. Same with the Walmart Plus, this is $155 towards the Walmart Plus membership.

Personally, whenever I go to the airport, I like to get there early and get something to eat. Lounge access is the perfect bonus for me because I love having access to the airport lounge. This is a $25 value.

American Express Platinum Points and Bonuses

The bottom section shows the different points that you get from spending. All purchases get you at least 1 point per dollar spent. If you’re spending money on hotels, you also get 5 points per dollar spent.

American Express Gold

The American Express Gold has a smaller annual fee than the American Express Platinum, only $250.

You still get the Uber credit of $120. You also get a dining credit of $120 if you’re going out to eat. You get a hotel credit if you spend money on a hotel. It has a slightly smaller signup bonus, a $600 value.

American Express Gold Points and Bonuses

But where this card really shines over the platinum card is the additional points that you get on these spending categories. You get 4 points per dollar spent on restaurants and 4 points per dollar spent on groceries. These categories really apply to me.

I spend way more money on restaurants and groceries than I do on flights and hotels.

American Express Green

It has an even smaller annual fee, only $150.

We get a Clear Plus annual bonus of $189. Clear Plus allows you to get through the lines at the airport faster. This is a membership fee.

I already use Global Entry, so this is not an annual bonus that I would utilize. Here we have the lounge credit once again, and a hotel credit if you’re going on a trip every year.

American Express Green Points and Bonuses

The signup bonus is smaller than the previous two at $400. And because you have that lower annual fee, you’re also getting dinged on the points that you get from spending. You only get 3 points per dollar spent on dining. You no longer get the groceries, but you do get 3 points per dollar spent on transit.

This would not be the card for me since I do not spend money on public transit.

Blue Cash Preferred VS Blue Cash Everyday

The Blue Cash Preferred has a $95 annual fee.

You get a Disney credit of $84 and an Equinox credit of $120. The Blue Cash Preferred card does have a higher annual fee, but you get a little bit better points per dollar spent. You get 6 points for groceries, 6 points for streaming, and then 3 points for gas and transit.

If you’re big into buying groceries instead of dining out, this Blue Cash Preferred card might be really good for you.

Blue Cash Preferred VS Blue Cash Everyday Points and Bonuses

With the Blue Cash Everyday card, there is no annual fee.

You get a Disney credit of $84 and a Home Chef membership credit of $180. Blue Cash Everyday card also gets a little sign-up bonus, $200, but you can see it gets dinged on these points. You only get 3 points spent per dollar on online purchases and 3 points on groceries.

The American Express credit cards get more random bonuses than I’ve seen on any other credit card.

Amex Everyday Preferred VS Amex Everyday

The Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card has an annual fee of $95 and a small sign-up bonus of $150 when you hit your spending.

This one has an interesting 50% point bonus. The points that you get for the month get increased by 50% if you make 30 transactions on your card in that month. 

If this was my primary credit card, I think I would be able to hit that pretty easily. But if you’re utilizing multiple credit cards, then this is a bonus that you would probably want to cancel out on the user profile section.

Amex Everyday Preferred VS Amex Everyday Points and Bonuses

The Amex Everyday card has an annual fee of zero, a slightly smaller signup bonus of $100, and of course, it gets fewer points per dollar spent and a smaller end-of-the-month bonus. Just 20% of your points get added if you’re able to hit 30 transactions on your credit card.

Don’t leave now. You’ve made it this far and it’s about to get interesting.

Spending Levels Overview

The Typical

First, let’s check out which credit card comes out on top of this default user profile. We’ve just got one in all the categories: Clear Plus, airport dining, one trip per year, one traveler.

The Typical user profile

If you’re spending $10,000 per year, there’s virtually a tie between the American Express Platinum and the Blue Cash Everyday. However, as we start to spend more money per year, you can see the Blue Cash Preferred card will start to pull ahead because it gets superior points per dollar spent.

So at $23,000 spent, the Blue Cash Preferred has moved ahead of the American Express Platinum but it hasn’t quite caught up to the Blue Cash Everyday. That’s because the Blue Cash Everyday card does not have an annual fee while the Blue Cash Preferred does so it’s going to require more spending to overtake the Blue Cash Everyday.

If we skip ahead to $58,000 on your credit card every year, you can see that the Blue Cash Preferred comes out on top by a pretty good margin.

Best American Express credit card for the Typical user profile at different spending levels

The Cheapskate

The next user profile I want to look at is somebody who’s very frugal. You’re gonna put a zero in all these categories. You’re not going to hotels. You’re not spending money on streaming or Uber. You don’t use Home Chef or Equinox. Let’s see which credit card comes out on top for somebody who is very frugal.

The Cheapskate user profile

At the $10,000 per year spending, the American Express Platinum is looking pretty rough. You are losing $575 just for having this card. You have a huge annual fee and you’re not using any of the bonuses. You’re not spending enough for the points to take effect. This card is horrible. At $10,000 per year spent, the Blue Cash Everyday card is the card for you followed by the Blue Cash Preferred.

If you’re closer to average spending of $19,000 per year or $23,000 per year, once again, the American Express Platinum is not going to work out for you. The Blue Cash Preferred card is now coming out on top.

If we skip to the end, $58,000 spent per year, the Blue Cash Preferred is way out on top. The Blue Cash Everyday card is just behind. This is because the Blue Cash Preferred gets you tons of points on groceries and dining. If you’re not traveling, then the American Express Platinum and Gold are just not really going to work out that well for you. You’re going to want to stick with the Blue Cash Preferred.

Best American Express credit card for the Cheapskate user profile at different spending levels

The Spender

The next user profile that we’re going to look at is the bougie spender. They’re taking three trips per year for a family of four. They’re going to utilize all the bonuses.

The Spender user profile

It doesn’t make sense to analyze the Spender at these lower spending levels, so let’s go ahead and skip up to the $23,000 spent on your credit card per year.

Because of the really good annual bonuses that the American Express Platinum gets, it’s going to come out on top if you’re spending anywhere from $23,000 to $40,000 per year on your credit card.

However, once you start spending up to $48,000 and $58,000, the Blue Cash Preferred Card does overtake the American Express Platinum because of the superior points per dollar spent. At those really high spending categories, you just cannot beat the Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card.

Best American Express credit card for the Spender user profile at different spending levels

The Churner

We’re going to put one in this first-year category only. That way the signup bonus will be factored into the comparison down below.

The Churner

If you’re churning credit cards, what that means is:

You’re going to open up a credit card.

You’re going to take advantage of those year-one annual bonuses and the signup bonuses to get huge value.

And then you’re going to either cancel the card or downgrade it to a lesser free card before next year’s annual fee hits.

I personally recommend downgrading to a free credit card instead of canceling because it’s going to be better for your credit score.

All right, if you’re going to churn the American Express credit cards and you’re only spending about $10,000 per year, the American Express Platinum, surprise, surprise, is going to be the best credit card for churning. I think that was pretty obvious since this credit card just gets the most bonuses on signup all the way down to the $58,000 category.

You’re still getting the most points in that first year from the American Express Platinum because of that massive signup bonus. Not even the Blue Cash Preferred card is able to catch up from its superior points per dollar spent. That massive signup bonus is just too much to overtake.

Best American Express credit card for the Churner user profile at different spending levels

If we look at the graphical representation, you can see at a glance that the American Express Platinum is on top at all spending levels. However, due to this trajectory of this red card here, the American Express Gold, it does look like maybe at $65,000 to $70,000 spent per year, maybe that American Express Gold would overtake the American Express Platinum eventually.

Best American Express credit card for the Churner user profile at different spending levels

The One that Wrote This Article

Next, I want to show you my personal user profile. So let’s see which credit card is best for me.

My personal profile

My wife and I usually end up pretty close to average spending, so we’re going to see which credit card is best for both the $19,000 and $23,000 spent per year. The Blue Cash Preferred card is going to come out on top. Clearly, I don’t take advantage of enough of the annual bonuses for the American Express Platinum. The Amex Everyday Preferred and the American Express Gold are pretty close second options. Really, I could go with any of those three and have pretty good results. However, the Blue Cash Preferred does come out on top.

Best American Express credit card for me at different spending levels

If you look at the graph:

The American Express Green card comes out on top at the absolute lowest spending levels.

But right around $17,000, there’s a pretty big shift where the Blue Cash Preferred is able to overtake those lesser cards and it really stays on top until you get to these much higher spending categories.

The Blue Cash Preferred card stays on top until around $30,000 is spent where the Amex Everyday Preferred card would eventually take over.

Best American Express credit card for me at different spending levels

Next, I’m going to look at my personal churning profile. If I were going to churn a credit card, all I would do is I would add one into this category. I would keep all my other spending profiles the same.

My personal profile when I am churning

Surprisingly enough, at $23,000 spent per year and above, the American Express Gold actually comes out on top for me. And that’s because I’m not able to utilize a lot of those annual bonuses that the American Express Platinum offers.

However, at the lower spending levels, the American Express Platinum does come out on top because of that $800 bonus. Keep in mind in order to get that, you have to spend $8,000 in the first 6 months. So if you’re only spending $10,000 to $14,000 a year, you’re probably not going to be able to hit that naturally.

At my personal spending level, these cards could really go either way. If I had to pick one, I would go with the American Express Gold card because it has a lower annual fee and it has better points per dollar spent.

Best American Express credit card for me when I am churning

If you look at the graph, the American Express Gold Card really takes off at these higher spending levels. If I’m spending more than I think, clearly the American Express Gold Card is going to be the safer pick.

Best American Express credit card for me when I am churning

As you can see it is crucial to compare different credit cards at the spending level that most closely matches your own. Not only that the type of spending you do will also have a huge impact. In this case, prioritizing dining out versus buying groceries or taking a couple of trips per year can make all the difference as to which credit card is best for you.

If you like my spreadsheet tool and would like to use it, check it out HERE for free. No spam, I promise.

If you are into credit cards, check out my other articles in the series:

BEST Chase Credit Card Battle 2023 | Sapphire Reserve VS Sapphire Preferred

BEST Capital One Credit Card Battle 2023 | Venture X VS Venture VS Venture One

Until next time.

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