The Four American Express Cards I Have, And What I Do With Them

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I carry (4) different American Express cards in my wallet. Some would consider that a lot from one issuer, probably, however:

  • they have some of the most valuable points of their own (Membership Rewards) which can be transferred to a selection of airline and hotel points
  • and they have cards that let you earn those points quickly — I’ve said many times that you should never earn just one point per dollar for your spending.

I have the new SPG Luxury Card for the Platinum status option and I put airfare spending on my Platinum Card, and restaurant and grocery spend on my American Express® Gold Card, and I can transfer the points from those latter two cards to:

  • Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore, Avianca
  • oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia
  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM, Delta
  • Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, El Al, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
  • Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Starwood (soon to be Marriott)

Here are the American Express cards I’m currently carrying, and how I use each:

  • American Express® Gold Card: I use this to earn 4 points per dollar at US restaurants and at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year).

    The card has a $100 annual airline fee credit and the up to $10 a month in statement credits using the card at participating dining partners.

  • Platinum Card from American Express: I use this card to earn 5 points per dollar on airfare. It gets me Hilton Honors Gold status and National Car Rental Executive status (I don’t need the Marriott/Starwood Gold status as a Platinum already).

    The reason I keep it in my wallet, though, is lounge access. If I happen to fly Delta the card gets me into Delta’s lounges. It works with Plaza Premium, Escape, and Airspace lounges. I use it most, though, to get into American Express’ outstanding Centurion lounges.

    American Express Centurion Lounge Dallas.. which like Miami has a complimentary spa

  • Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card: I upgraded my Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express which I had since 2001 to the Luxury Card. Since I’ve already spent $75,000 on the Starwood card earlier this year, converting to the new card should give me Platinum status for next year. I had the card in my wallet because I used its annual $300 Marriott spending credit about a week ago — and haven’t taken the card out yet.

    W Doha

  • Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express: I have had the card for some time and keep it for the annual free night (redeemable at hotels which run 35,000 points per night or less).

    What cards from American Express do you carry?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Hi. I’m curious why you don’t carry the Amex blue business card for non bonus spend which earns 2 points per dollar on all spend?

  2. I’m surprised not to see the AMEX Business Platinum on your list. This is a popular card among bloggers and other points enthusiasts. I wonder why more people don’t carry it instead of the personal platinum card. Is the 35% rebate on pay-with-points airfares not worth the annual fee, Gary?

  3. I have the Biz Plat, the personal Plat, the biz and personal SPG and the AE Blue. Love the Blue for the 2x points up to 50K per year. Once I reach that threshold, the card gets put away until the following year – EXCEPT – for great AmEx Offers which have been spectacular for me on that card this year. Plan to dump the Biz Plat when it comes up for renewal because of the increased fee and the new benefits don’t do anything for me. I like the 35% rebate on buying plane tickets with points but of course liked it a lot more when that rebate was 50%. Just don’t think I can justify the fee for that card anymore.
    Toying with the idea of getting rid of the SPG biz card. Fee is $95 and you do get free night cert but didn’t use the cert this year and have the personal SPG and the Marriott card from Chase for free nights.

  4. I’ve got Personal Plat, Biz Plat, Gold, Everyday Preferred, Delta Plat, SPG personal, SPG Biz and Honors (no AF). The personal plat is a benefits card, the Biz Plat for the 1.5x over 5k (I had a 75k tax payment I made on this card), the Gold for Grocery/Dining at 4x and the dining credit (I use it every month). EDP is for all non-bonus spend. The Delta Plat for that companion cert, the SPG cards (I’m grandfathered in on one at $65 AF) for the free night certs and the Honors leaves the door open if I decide to up to Aspire. I’d like BBP at some point so I’ll have to close one of the five credit cards.

  5. MB Plat till Jan 10th (end of MB Plat product), then i’ll open Business Plat, EDP for groceries 4.5, Gold for restaurants, and three Business Plus 2 point earning cards.

  6. Vanilla plat, biz plat, Gold x2, BGR, ED, SPG biz, Hilton biz, MB cc, Green card. 10 Amex cards.
    Canceling green & MB, downgrading vanilla plat to green. Canceled the Delta plat earlier this year after 10 years & almost always giving the cert away. Probably cancelling SPG just b/c the merger was(is) a cluster + the data hack. Plan to open the BBP & maybe EDP next year.

  7. @Justin

    why not use your EDP (4.5) for Grocery spend instead of Gold (4)


    why not use another card for unbonused spend, like Business Plus and get 2 points instead of EDP(1.5) ?

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