The Amex Trifecta: Maximize This Card Trio for Travel Upgrades and Savings

We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.   Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for some American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

We’ve long been fans of pairing rewards cards to get the most value on every purchase, and the Amex trifecta is one of the best ways to do just that.

With mounting prices on everyday items and a returning interest in travel, maximizing your spending with credit card rewards can be as impactful as ever. And for savvy credit card users, the right card combination can lead to discounted travel, premium benefits, and everyday savings.

Like the Chase trifecta, combining a trio of complementary American Express cards allows you to strategically take advantage of a range of rewards categories, credits, and benefits, while offsetting the sometimes costly fees these cards charge. When you combine the American Express Platinum Card®, American Express® Gold Card, and the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express you’ll have a card to earn rewards on almost everything. But the luxury cards come with hefty fees that may only be worth it if you’re a frequent traveler or rewards categories align with your spending.

Here’s how to use the Amex trifecta and how you can decide if this card strategy is right for you. 

What is the American Express Trifecta?

To complete the Amex trifecta, you should have the following three Amex cards in your card portfolio. Each of these cards earn Membership Rewards points and have complementary rewards. Here’s a glance at each card and the best way to use them to maximize points.

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Learn More externa link icon
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn 100,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $695
  • Regular APR:
    See Pay Over Time APR
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Valuable welcome offer
  • Tiered rewards structure
  • No foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees)
  • Travel perks including lounge access and airline fee credits
Cons
  • Very high annual fee
  • Relatively high APR
  • Not great for rewards outside travel categories
The Bottom Line
From high-earning travel rewards categories to cash credits that can offset the cost of your next vacation, the Platinum Card from American Express has a long list of benefits. Just make sure you can take advantage of them to make the high $695 annual fee worth your while.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $200 annual airline fee credit
  • Up to $240 in digital entertainment credits (up to $20 per month) on eligible purchases and subscriptions with: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required
  • Up to $155 annual Walmart+ membership credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership 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 Ups are excluded.
  • Up to $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card
  • $189 annual statement credit for a Clear® membership
  • Up to $200 in Uber Cash to use on rides or Uber Eats in the U.S. annually ($15 per month and a bonus $20 in December), plus Uber VIP access
  • $300 in annual statement credits (up to $25 per month) on eligible Equinox memberships or a digital subscriptions to Equinox+, an on-demand fitness app
  • Up to $100 in annual statement credits toward purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com (up to $50 every 6 months, per calendar year)
  • Access to American Express Global Lounge Collection including Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClubs (when flying same-day Delta Air Lines flights)
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts program, plus credits and benefits during your stay, including $100 credit towards eligible onsite activities
  • Hilton Honors Gold elite status enrollment
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status enrollment
  • Travel and purchase protections
  • American Express preferred seating and presale access

The Amex Platinum is one of NextAdvisor’s best travel credit cards. It’s one of the highest-priced cards on the market, with a $695 annual fee and plenty of premium perks. You’ll earn 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in spending per calendar year), 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. The Platinum card also comes with credits that can go a long way to offset the fee. 

American Express Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card
Learn More externa link icon
American Express® Gold Card
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
American Express® Gold Card
Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
  • Intro offer:
    60,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    $250
  • Regular APR:
    See Pay Over Time APR
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

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

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Tiered points system
  • Welcome bonus offer
  • Annual credits
Cons
  • Annual fee
  • Value of points dependent on how you redeem
The Bottom Line
The American Express Gold Card offers a great rewards structure that lets you rack up points when you make everyday purchases on groceries and dining out. You’ll get the most value from your American Express Gold if you use your points to save on travel — especially if you transfer your points to airline or hotel partners. The Amex Gold is one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards, and frequent travelers can get a lot of value from it, even in spite of its $250 annual fee.

Additional Card Details

  • Up to $120 annual dining credit
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides
  • Up to $100 credit on qualifying activities when booking through the American Express Hotel Collection
  • $250 annual fee
  • Amex Offers
  • Car rental insurance
  • Global travel assistance hotline
  • Baggage insurance
  • Extended warranty on covered purchases
  • Purchase protection
  • Dispute resolution

The Amex Gold is another NextAdvisor travel card top pick, and comes with a $250 annual fee. It’s best suited for rewards and annual credits toward everyday spending, plus some travel benefits. You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points on dining at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1X), 3X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel, and 1X points on everything else. 

Blue Business Plus Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Learn More externa link icon
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Intro offer:
    15,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    No annual fee
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% – 21.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
Rewards rate:

Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.

The Blue Business Plus from Amex offers 2X points on all of your business expenses (up to $50,000 per year and 1X points after that). You can maximize your rewards by using this card for purchases that don’t qualify for the Amex Platinum and Gold cards’ bonus categories.

Unlike the other cards, this is a card for small business owners, which means you must have a business to qualify. However, that doesn’t mean you must be a brick-and-mortar entrepreneur — many freelancers, self-employed, or side gig workers can qualify for business credit cards.

How to Maximize Benefits With the Amex Trifecta

Before you apply for the Amex trifecta, first consider whether your spending and travel habits align with the cards’ rewards and if you’ll get enough value to offset the annual fees. 

Together, these cards charge $945 annually. If you don’t travel often, or don’t already spend on the purchases that will earn you the annual credits that come with this card, you may want to consider other card combinations that better fit your spending and budget.

But if you do think you’ll get the most value from the Amex trifecta, start maximizing from the start by considering when to apply. First, think about the potential effect on your credit score. Too many applications within a short time can — at least temporarily — have a negative impact on your score. And since each of these cards require great credit, you’ll want to keep a close eye on any fluctuations in your score. 

Also consider your upcoming spending. If you have any upcoming travel to book, that can help you work toward the bonuses and earn points at the same time. For instance, if you’re booking summer vacations now, you may apply for the Platinum card first to earn 5X points on your flights and hotels. Then, once you’ve met the spending threshold in a few months and your trip is approaching, you may apply for the Amex Gold to earn 4X points on dining while on vacation. 

Over time, these cards’ added benefits will really go a long way in offsetting their high cost. Annual credits toward Uber and Uber Eats, Clear membership, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry, airline fees, Walmart+ membership, select dining, digital subscriptions, and more can help you upgrade your comfort and convenience while traveling and save money on frequent spending at home. 

Finally, maximize your cards by strategizing which one to use for the highest value on each purchase. Here’s a few examples of purchases and the cards we recommend using to make the most of the Amex trifecta:

  • Book flights and hotels with your Platinum card to earn 5X points
  • Set up automatic payments for select digital subscriptions (Audible, The New York Times, SiriusXM and Peacock) to your Platinum card to automatically get the points  
  • Use the Gold card for your weekly grocery trips and any restaurant spending to earn 4X points
  • Make your Gold card your preferred payment option on Uber so you don’t miss out on the monthly credit
  • For all other purchases, use the Blue Business Card to get 2x points — like gas stations, your phone bill, or other expenses

Just remember, while points are valuable, it’s important to practice good credit habits to avoid accruing interest and debt. The Amex trifecta only adds value to your wallet if you can avoid the high interest payments that you’ll take on if you don’t pay your balances off each month. Pay your balance in full each month and only charge what you can afford to pay off.  

How to Redeem Your AmEx Trifecta Rewards 

You can redeem your points for gift cards and statement credits, but you’ll get the most from your Amex rewards when redeeming them for travel.

Amex Membership Rewards points values vary depending on how you use them. According to Amex’s rewards calculator, points are worth 0.6 cents when you use them to cover charges on your statement, but worth 1 cent per point when you use points to book flights, certain hotels, and make flight upgrades through Amex Travel.

The other most lucrative redemption option is point transfers to Amex travel partners. The exact redemption value will depend on the partner program and your itenerary, but points generally transfer at a 1:1 point ratio. Here’s the list of all of Amex’s travel partners: 

Airline and Hotel Partners  

  • Asia Miles 
  • British Airways Executive Club 
  • Delta Skymiles® 
  • Emirates Skywards 
  • Etihad Guest 
  • Finnar Plus 
  • Flying Blue 
  • Hilton Honors 
  • Iberia Plus 
  • Marriott Bonvoy™
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer 
  • Radisson Rewards™ 
  • SAS EuroBonus 
  • Singapore KrisFlyer 
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Learn More externa link icon
The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Editor’s Score: (4.5/5)
Learn More externa link icon
American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Editor’s Score: (4.3/5)
Learn More externa link icon
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Editor’s Score: (N/A)
  • Intro offer:
    15,000 points
  • Annual fee:
    No annual fee
  • Regular APR:
    13.99% – 21.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.

Is the Amex Trifecta Right For You?

The Amex trifecta can be a great way for frequent travelers to maximize rewards and savings while enjoying some premium travel benefits. But it may not be the best choice for every traveler.

For one thing, the annual cost of all three cards comes in at $945 annually. If you don’t already spend money on the expenses included in these cards’ annual credits, or you only plan to take one or two vacations a year, the fees may not be worthwhile compared to other cash back cards with travel rewards.  

Also keep in mind that the Blue Business Plus is a business credit card. To take full advantage of the Amex trifecta, you’ll need to own a business, freelance, or have side gig to qualify for the Blue Business Plus. This card rounds out the trifecta with 2X points on your expenses — like gas, business supplies, and software subscriptions. 

If you have an upcoming summer vacation, for example, you can earn points on grocery trips and restaurants to earn the Amex Gold Card’s welcome bonus, then book your flights and hotels with the Platinum Card and continue making purchases outside of bonus categories with the Blue Business Plus. And in the meantime, you can earn the cards’ welcome bonuses to use towards other trips, and take advantage of the annual credits to maximize savings.