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How to Get Pre-Approved for an Amex Credit Card

Many credit card issuers offer consumers the chance to “pre-qualify” or get “pre-approved” for a credit card offer. However, the fact these terms are often used interchangeably doesn’t necessarily mean they’re one and the same.

American Express handles both pre-qualification and pre-approval a little differently than other credit card companies. It can be of great help to know how both strategies work ahead of time if you are interested in getting an Amex card.

Here are some of the top cards people want Amex pre-approval for:

Advertiser Disclosure

Blue Cash Preferred? Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred? Card from American Express
LEARN MORE Rates & Fees / Terms Apply on Bankrate's secure site
Key Information
Earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back), 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% back on other eligible purchases. $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
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American Express? Gold Card

American Express? Gold Card
LEARN MORE Rates & Fees / Terms Apply on Bankrate's secure site
Key Information
Earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X points on other eligible purchases. $250 annual fee.
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Blue Cash Everyday? Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday? Card from American Express
LEARN MORE Rates & Fees / Terms Apply on Bankrate's secure site
Key Information
Earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000/year spent at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), 3% back on up to $6,000/year at U.S. gas stations (then 1%), 3% back on up to $6,000/year on online retail purchases (then 1%), and 1% back on all other eligible purchases. $0 annual fee.
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Credit card preapproval vs pre-qualification

What is credit card preapproval?

Generally speaking, credit card pre-approval takes place when a lender or credit card company does a soft pull on your credit report in order to see if you meet their minimum approval requirements.

Companies typically request a list of consumers who may qualify for their products from the three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. A soft pull typically looks at metrics such as minimum credit score requirements, income requirements, and overall credit history which they use to evaluate you for pre-approval.

Lenders who request lists of consumers from the credit bureaus agree to send you a firm offer for credit per the rules listed in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). That said, your approval for a card is still contingent on the information found by the issuer if you move forward with an application.

In other words, pre-approval shows a good chance you can qualify for a card, but it stops short of guaranteeing it.

What is credit card pre-qualification?

Where credit card pre-approval is initiated by a credit card issuer, credit card pre-qualification is something you can request as a consumer.

For example, many credit cards and loan products let consumers get pre-qualified or “check their rate” with no impact on their credit scores. This step checks whether they are likely to meet minimum requirements for a credit card or loan product, and it only results in a soft pull.

Like credit card pre-approval, getting pre-qualified does not guarantee approval for a credit card product. It’s more of a preliminary step to see if approval is likely based on information like someone’s credit score range, credit history, and income.

The difference between American Express pre-qualification and preapproval

Here is a visual to help you make sense of the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval:

Topic Initiated By Type of Inquiry Chances for Approval
American Express Pre-Qualification Consumers Soft pull Good
American Express Pre-Approval American Express Soft pull Better

Overall, it’s helpful to remember this:

It’s helpful to keep these words straight to avoid confusion.

How American Express is different

American Express does things a little differently when it comes to pre-qualification for their credit cards.

Where most credit card companies will allow you to apply directly upon pre-qualification and offer access to a whole host of card sign-up benefits, American Express reserves these perks for their pre-approved customers. Therefore, getting pre-qualified for an Amex card does not mean you will be eligible for all the rewards and perks it offers.

Their pre-qualification page lists the following:

“Note: These offers may not have a Welcome Bonus Offer or an Introductory APR.”

Instead, American Express has a separate system for pre-screening to decide if you are eligible for a welcome bonus. If you are not eligible for the welcome bonus, you can decide not to continue with your application. This is available because with Amex you can typically only receive the welcome bonus once in your life.

Apart from this detail, Amex is also different in that they offer a full page on their website dedicated to facilitating the pre-qualification process.

Compare American Express credit cards Find your perfect card today Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor Compare Cards

How to pre-qualify for an Amex credit card

To pre-qualify for an Amex credit card, you need to visit their pre-qualification page and enter information such as:

This will result in a soft pull on your credit report, which does not impact your score.

Based on the information you submitted, you’ll be shown a list of American Express credit cards you could potentially qualify for. If you are interested in one of the American Express cards, you can apply on the spot, but there is no obligation to continue if you decide you are not interested.

To boost your chances of getting pre-qualified with Amex, you’ll want to maintain a positive credit history and keep revolving debt below 30% of your available credit. A high income can also help you qualify for Amex credit cards, particularly ones that earn Amex Membership Rewards points like the Amex Gold Card and the Amex Platinum Card.

Outside of the Amex website, there is also a tool called CardMatch (you can try it out below!) where you can see if you qualify for all of the best credit card offers, including those from other issuers. For example, you can use CardMatch to see if you’re eligible for a Marriott Bonvoy credit card from Chase, or if you could get a travel credit card from Capital One or Citi. You may even be able to score a higher welcome offer! Learn more in our comprehensive guide on how to use CardMatch.

Note: using CardMatch will NOT affect your credit score.

Other ways to pre-qualify for an Amex credit card

If you’re already an Amex customer, you may also find pre-qualified offers when you log into your Amex account online. These may appear in a pop-up when you log into your account, or they might appear under the “Amex Offers” tab.

How to get pre-approved for an Amex credit card

While you may not be able to initiate pre-approved offers, having an existing Amex credit card can increase your chances of pre-approval for other products.

As we already mentioned, pre-approval from Amex takes place when Amex has opted to receive a listing of consumers who meet basic criteria for their credit cards. If you land on this list, it’s safe to assume Amex believes you are creditworthy enough to qualify for their products, based on your income, credit score, and credit history.

You are likelier to be on this list if you already have other cards or accounts with American Express.

How to boost your chances of being pre-approved for an Amex credit card

Beyond having a credit card or savings account with Amex already, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of scoring pre-approved offers.

Consider the following moves if you want to get pre-approved for an Amex card:

How to check for pre-approval offers with American Express

Amex does not have a pre-approval tool on their website (only pre-qualification), thus you cannot check for pre-approved offers at all.

Instead, keep an eye out for pre-approval notifications arriving directly to you elsewhere. The majority of the time, potential applicants for an Amex card will receive this type of correspondence via mail or email instead. You may also see personalized pre-approval notifications in the form of ads online.

Existing cardholders can also find pre-approved offers when logging into their Amex account. They typically show up as a pop-up upon login, but they can also show up in the “Amex Offers” section of the platform.

What to consider on pre-approved offers

As you look over pre-approved offers from Amex, remember that a card issuer saying they approve you does not mean you’ll be eligible for all the cardholder benefits and perks. In fact, Amex says explicitly that their pre-approval offers do not imply that you can earn a welcome bonus for meeting a minimum spending requirement after account approval. Pre-approval may also mean you’re ineligible to earn bonus points offered on a promotional basis.

Also, keep in mind that American Express has a “once per lifetime” rule that says each consumer can only earn the welcome bonus on each of their card products once. This means that earning a bonus in the past could preclude you from earning it again, even if Amex itself issues you a pre-approved offer.

Are you a good candidate for an American Express credit card?

One interesting detail about American Express is the fact they don’t offer any credit cards for fair credit or poor credit.

In fact, all their credit cards are geared toward consumers with a “good” credit score or better, or any FICO score of 670 and above. If you have a low credit score, you may want to consider getting a credit card specifically for bad credit.

With that in mind, you may be a good candidate for one of their cards if:

Choosing the right card

If you’ve already pre-qualified or received pre-approval for Amex cards, you’ll need to pick which card is right for you before signing up. Some American Express cards are better for travel benefits, while others come out on top for everyday spending. When choosing between cards like the Amex Gold vs. Platinum Cards, you’ll want to compare the benefits and perks side-by-side. See our take on the best American Express cards below.

Some of our top picks for American Express credit cards

Advertiser Disclosure

Best for Cash Back

Blue Cash Preferred? Card from American Express

LEARN MORE
Up to 6% Reward Rate

Earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back), 6% back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% back on other eligible purchases.

Show More Show Less
Annual Fee
$0 the first year, then $95
Welcome Offer
$250
Regular APR
19.24% to 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The Blue Cash Preferred? Card from American Express is an excellent card for grocery spending considering you earn 6% in dollar-for-dollar rewards on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back). It also offers excellent rewards on select streaming services, purchases at U.S. gas stations, and transit spending.
Show More Show Less
Card Details

More Card Info

  • 0% Intro APR for purchases and balance transfers during the first 12 months (then 19.24% to 29.99% variable)
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get up to $120 in statement credits annually when you pay for an auto-renewing subscription to Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com with your Blue Cash Preferred? Card. That’s $10 in statement credits each month. Enrollment required.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Preferred? Card. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.
Pros
  • Excellent rewards on spending at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, transit and more
  • 0% APR on purchases for a limited time
  • Don’t need to activate categories
Cons
  • Rewards can only be redeemed for a statement credit or at Amazon.com
  • Charges foreign transaction fees
  • Has an annual fee
Bottom Line

Although this card has an annual fee, most families will be able to easily get enough value out of the everyday categories to make it worth it.

Best for Dining & Restaurants

American Express? Gold Card

LEARN MORE
Up to 4X Reward Rate

Earn 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X) and restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X points on other eligible purchases.

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Annual Fee
$250
Welcome Offer
60,000 points
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The American Express? Gold Card is a fantastic card for travelers who spend a lot of time (and money) at restaurants. It boasts an upgraded rewards rate for eligible purchases, a hefty welcome offer, and an annual fee that can easily “pay for itself” if you strategically utilize the benefits this card offers.
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Card Details

More Card Info

  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express? Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Terms Apply.
Pros
  • Generous welcome offer
  • High rewards potential
  • Many transfer partners available
Cons
  • High annual fee
  • Complicated statement credits
  • Good or excellent credit recommended
Bottom Line

If you like to dine out frequently, the $200+ worth of dining-related annual statement credits can easily help justify the yearly fee.

Best for No Annual Fee

Blue Cash Everyday? Card from American Express

LEARN MORE
Up to 3% Reward Rate

Earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000/year spent at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), 3% back on up to $6,000/year at U.S. gas stations (then 1%), 3% back on up to $6,000/year on online retail purchases (then 1%), and 1% back on all other eligible purchases.

Show More Show Less
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
$200
Regular APR
19.24% to 29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
If you’re looking for a credit card that lets you earn cash back on everyday purchases with no annual fee required, the Blue Cash Everyday? Card from American Express should be on your list. This American Express card offers generous rewards in categories many families spend the most in like U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and online retailers.
Show More Show Less
Card Details

More Card Info

  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after account opening, then 19.24% to 29.99% variable APR.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Everyday? Card. Enrollment required.
  • Enjoy up to $15 back per month when you purchase a Home Chef meal kit subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your enrolled Blue Cash Everyday? Card.
  • Terms Apply.
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR on eligible purchases for 15 months
  • Generous rewards at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations & online shopping
Cons
  • Rewards cap on spending at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and online retail purchases
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Low rewards rate outside of bonus categories
Bottom Line

For a no-annual-fee option, the reward rate on this card is pretty solid, but for heavy spenders, other cards may offer more value.

Best for International Travel

The Platinum Card? from American Express

LEARN MORE
Up to 5X Reward Rate

Earn 5X Membership Rewards? points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and 1X points on other eligible purchases.

Show More Show Less
Annual Fee
$695
Welcome Offer
80,000 points
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Recommended Credit
Good/Excellent (670 - 850)
Why we like it
The American Express Platinum card, while expensive with its $695 annual fee, offers a variety of high-end travel benefits. If you’re someone who enjoys luxury travel and knows how to maximize credit card rewards, this card can be incredibly valuable.
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Card Details

More Card Info

  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts? or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card?. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card? on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card?. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card?.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card?. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR? Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card?. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck? (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card?. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card?. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card?. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card? to your Resy profile.
  • Terms Apply.
Pros
  • Excellent rewards rate for travel purchases
  • Qualify for $1,500+ in statement credits
  • Very generous welcome offer
Cons
  • High annual fee of $695
  • Many statement credit offers are too specific and hard to use
  • Non-travel-perks aren’t spectacular
Bottom Line

This is quite a spectacular card with incredibly valuable benefits, but the annual fee is objectively very high.

Find the right credit card for you. Answer a few questions to get matched with your perfect credit card in 60 seconds or less, with no impact on your credit score. Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor GET STARTED
Credit Cards with Mouse Cursor Get matched with your perfect credit card in 60 seconds or less, no impact on your credit score. GET STARTED

Amex pre-approval FAQ

Should you get a pre-approved card from Amex?

If you get a pre-approved offer from this card issuer, you should look it over to see if you’re truly interested in the card product. If you like what you see in terms of rewards earned in bonus categories and other purchases, cardholder perks, and the annual fee, it can make sense to apply.If you don’t end up qualifying for an Amex card but still want a card with great rewards or cash back, there are other options from different issuers that you can also look into.

Should you apply if you're not pre-approved?

You can still apply for an American Express card if you’re not approved. As long as you meet their minimum eligibility requirements, you have a good chance of getting the card.

Does American Express do pre approvals?

American Express frequently communicates pre-approval through regular mail, email, and their website once users are logged in.

Does Amex offer instant approval?

If you decide to apply for a card with this issuer, you may receive a notice of approval or denial in a matter of minutes. You might also receive communication that they need more time to process your application.

What credit score do you need for an Amex credit card?

American Express credit cards require good or excellent credit, which means a minimum FICO score of at least 670.

Is applying for Amex a hard pull?

Getting prequalified or pre-approved only requires a soft pull, yet actually applying for an Amex card will result in a hard inquiry on your credit report.

What is the minimum score for an American Express card?

Most people need a minimum credit score of at least 670 to qualify for American Express card products.

Which Amex card is the easiest to get?

The easiest Amex cards to get are ones with a lower minimum spending requirement for rewards, as well as a low annual fee or no annual fee. Examples include the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express and the American Express Cash Magnet Card.

How hard is it to get approved by Amex?

Since American Express doesn’t offer any cards for fair credit or bad credit, they’re tougher to qualify for than cards from other issuers like Capital One, Citi, and Discover. Each of these issuers offer secured credit cards for bad credit, credit cards for fair credit, or both.

About the Author

Holly D. Johnson
Holly D. Johnson Finance Expert

Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who covers topics like insurance, investing, credit and family finance. As a leading voice in the travel and loyalty space, Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries over the last decade.

The author has also written extensively on the power of household budgeting, and she even co-authored a book on the topic. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love was originally published in 2017, and it teaches families how to use zero-sum budgeting to reach their financial goals. She is also the co-owner and founder of the family finance and travel website, ClubThrifty.com.

Johnson’s 10+ years of writing have focused on helping families make important financial decisions at each stage of their lives. The author also applies the financial principles she teaches to her own life, and she is currently on track to retire in her late 40’s with her partner. She currently lives in Central Indiana with her husband and children, and she is a regular contributor for Bankrate, CNN, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report Travel and many other notable publications.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

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