American Express's slogan is "Don't live life without it."

And if you're all about getting the best earn rates and perks, then Amex is right.

There's only one downside to American Express – acceptance. Our solution? Pair it with either a Visa or Mastercard, and you'll earn great credit card rewards everywhere you go.

American Express also issues a handful of charge cards in addition to regular credit cards. You can't carry a balance on a charge card, though – they have to be paid in full every month. If you tend to carry a balance then these cards won't be of any use to you (but they'd help break that habit).

If you can look past the acceptance, you've got great options for every part of your life. There's a great mix of cash back, travel, airline, and hotel cards to choose from. And most of their travel cards have no foreign exchange fees, saving you money when traveling abroad or making purchases in foreign currency.

Plus, all American Express cards carry standard perks such as ShopRunner and exclusive access to ticket presales, so you'll be getting some unique perks no matter what card you go for.

Travel cards

Looking for a travel card? Our favorite is the .

Why? For starters, there are so many ways to redeem your points for travel. Choose from transferring to 18 airline partners (most at a 1:1 ratio) and 3 hotel partners, or redeem for any type of travel purchased through American Express travel.

And if that's not enough, you can also get statement credits, redeem for merchandise and gift cards, and use your points to pay for Ticketmaster purchases.

So how do you accumulate points to earn? Start with a great welcome bonus. Earn 50,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, get 20% back as a statement credit on US restaurants (up to $100 in rewards back).

Then, keep on earning with these great rates:

  • 4 points per dollar spent at US supermarkets and restaurants (supermarkets capped at $25,000 per year),
  • 3 points per dollar spent on any airline and at amextravel.com, and
  • 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else.

For a $250 annual fee, this card offers a lot.

Airline cards

If an airline card is more your preference, American Express issues cards for Delta Air Lines. Our preferred card is the .

While it has an annual fee of $195, this is more than offset by the annual companion voucher you get. Simply pay the taxes and fees for someone else to come with you anywhere in the continental US and save yourself the base airfare.

Then keep up the savings with Delta perks, like getting a free checked bag and 20% in statement credits on in-flight purchases.

Plus, earn 35,000 SkyMiles after spending $1,000 in 3 months, and get a $100 statement credit when you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months.

Get one SkyMile for every dollar spent, and an extra mile per dollar spent on purchases made at delta.com.

If you fly Delta at least once per year, this could be the card for you.

Hotel cards

Prefer a hotel rewards program? You can't go wrong with the .

To start, get 50,000 points for making $1,500 in purchases within the first 3 months.

Keep earning even more points with these rates:

  • 5 points per dollar spent at Marriott properties, and
  • 2 points per dollar spent everywhere else.

The best part of this card? Every year on your card anniversary, get rewarded for your loyalty with a free night at a hotel in categories 1 to 5 (worth up to 35,000 points). This alone pays for the annual fee of $95 – and more.

Plus, get complimentary Silver Elite Status as long as you hold the card. This is automatically upgraded to Gold Elite status every year you spend at least $30,000.

Best cash back card

Prefer earning cash back? American Express has you covered.

While it's one of the few cash back cards that has an annual fee ($95), the also has some of the best earn rates you will find:

  • 6% on groceries, up to $6,000 per year (1% after that),
  • 3% on gas, and
  • 1% on all other purchases.

Earning 6% on groceries is one of the highest earn rates for that category. Period. Spend $6,000 in groceries in one year and that alone gets you $360 in cash back rewards.

Plus, if you sign up now, you'll get a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.

And with earn rates on all other purchases, you'll be racking up that cash back fast.

Compare American Express Credit Cards

The creditcardGenius algorithm calculates an estimated dollar value for all rewards and bonuses by using a typical point value a person can realistically achieve by redeeming their rewards in a reasonably optimized way. The "Welcome Bonus" is the dollar value obtained by combining all one-time bonuses available to new cardholders within the first year. To qualify for the full bonus you may need to make purchases, meet minimum spending requirements, or complete special actions. Terms and conditions apply.

* Conditions apply.