Q: What is the minimum credit score required to be approved for an American Express card?
A: We all know American Express (who by way is disclosure is a CreditCardForum.com advertising partner) is famous for catering to the upper 1% crowd, but in reality quite a large segment of the American adult population can qualify for an AmEx credit card or charge card. The minimum credit score needed for an American Express largely depends on which card for which you choose to apply.
Below I will talk about my estimates for the credit score requirements on some of their most popular cards. But before I proceed, please understand the following…
- These are estimates only, based on various customer credit card reviews and feedback gathered on this site and elsewhere, which is illustrative but hardly scientific in terms of either polling or iron-clad accuracy.
- Even though Credit Card Forum advertises some American Express cards, they unfortunately do NOT disclose their risk policies or any proprietary information like credit score requirements.
- The credit score needed for not just an American Express card, but any credit card, constantly changes depending on economic conditions. The estimates below are for the current economic environment (as of the second quarter of 2016).
I do not recommend the Green because its rewards are disappointing and the annual fee isn’t much less than the Gold Card. Also, based on customer feedback, it sounds like it’s not necessarily easier to get approved for Green versus Gold.
This card has been out for over 50 years (since 1958!) and of course there are now several charge cards above the AmEx Green card. My guess would be that the only reason they keep this one alive is for legacy purposes (it boosts the prestige of the Gold and Platinum, since they’re higher levels). Given that this one costs $95 per year and only gives 1 point per dollar on eligible purchases with no bonus categories, there is really little reason to apply.
It’s a charge card, which means your balance must be paid in full each month. For this reason, it’s a lower lending risk than a regular credit card since the customer can’t use it to carry long-term debt. Because of this charge cards seem to have loose credit score requirements. Not to mention, you’re paying an annual fee for them which probably helps, too.
If you have a low score simply due to a limited credit history (and not credit mistakes) you probably have a good chance at getting approved. We have heard credit scores in the mid to high 600’s getting approved for the Green Card.
AmEx Gold Card & Premier Rewards Gold Card
Of course, these are a step up from Green, but surprisingly, the requirements for approval seem to be comparable… so if you’re debating between Green vs Gold, go for the Gold. It is also a charge card and therefore the same things mentioned above also apply to it.
The minimum credit score needed for the basic AmEx Gold I would estimate to be in the high 600’s (comparable to Green). Meanwhile for the premium version with bonus reward categories, the Premier Rewards Gold Card, you will likely need a FICO a bit higher, probably north of 730 at a minimum.
The Platinum Card
Ah… the elusive Platinum card. Something everyone wants but no one can afford! Its $450 fee is steep, but can be worth considering if you travel frequently, want airport lounge access and tend to go first-class all the way. It’s also a charge card.
There are two sides to consider. Yes, it is their most premium card (not counting the Centurion) and for that reason alone, a high credit score is to be expected. However on the flip side, you are agreeing to pay a $450 annual fee (which is NOT waived the first year) and that probably helps your case, since it means you become a profitable customer from day one!
For these reasons it can be argued that the credit score needed for the American Express Platinum card is not outrageously high. My estimate would be you need a credit score range similar to the Premier Rewards Gold Card. Check out this review of the Platinum American Express to learn more.
Blue Cash (two versions available)Unlike Green/Gold/Platinum listed above, this one is a credit card and for that reason it does have tougher approval requirements.
During the peak of the credit crunch in early 2009, one of our members called up customer service on their Blue account to ask for a credit limit increase and was denied. The rep told him “I am seeing people with 830’s that are only getting a $2,000 limit right now on this card.”
Obviously, the economy has substantially recovered since then and I’m sure that’s not the case today. Based on some informal research, it is estimated the AmEx Blue card’s minimum credit score requirement to be around 720, give or take a few points. Check out this American Express Blue Cash review to find out more about the two versions: the Everyday and Preferred.
What credit score does American Express require? It all depends on the type of card you are applying for. As a rule of thumb, I would guess you would have the best luck at getting approved for the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card. Even if you don’t fly very often, it can be a solid choice to get your foot in the door since right now it comes with a 50,000 mile signup bonus offer after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months and the annual fee is waived for the first year.
Last updated March 2017