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American Express Cash Magnet Card Review

Dayana Yochim

Written by Dayana Yochim
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Andrea Coombes

March 12, 2024

Why trust us? has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.

A flat, category-agnostic, unlimited 1.5% reward rate? Although less rewarding than other flat-rate cash-back cards, Amex Cash Magnet offers preapproval (handy if your credit score is on the fence) and installment payment plans for purchases you can't pay off in full right away.

The American Express Cash Magnet’s unlimited 1.5% cash-back rate on everything is serviceable for rewards newbies. (Kinda meh, in other words.) What makes this Amex card different than your traditional must-pay-in-full charge card is the ability to set up an installment payment plan for purchases of $100 or more. (See more about the "Pay It" plan below.) Another selling point: Amex lets you see if you're approved for the card without impacting your credit score, which means you can test the rewards card waters without putting anything on the line.

Also worth considering: The Blue Cash Everyday Card from Amex pays double the rewards rate (3%) on groceries, gas and online retail purchases and 1% on everything else,

The basics: The American Express Cash Magnet card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases. Welcome offer: 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from the date of account opening. Earn $200 back after you spend $2,000 or more on purchases within the first six months of card membership.

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Best for Low-Hassle Rewards

American Express Cash Magnet

American Express Cash Magnet Logo
Cashback Per Year
Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

American Express Cash Magnet pros and cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • 1.5% unlimited cashback rate on purchases
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Preapproval with no impact to your credit
  • 0% intro APR on purchases/balance transfers for 15 months
  • Offers installment payment plans
  • Comes with Amex network perks

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Lower-than-average flat cash back rate
  • Flat 1.5% rewards rate less generous than other Amex cards
  • American Express not as widely accepted abroad as Visa and Mastercard
  • Le yuck 2.7% foreign transaction fee

American Express Cash Magnet cashback rewards spending categories

The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.

Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (aka the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g., $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”

Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.50% - - -
Travel 1.50% - - -
Dining 1.50% - - -
Entertainment 1.50% - - -
Pharmacy 1.50% - - -
Groceries 1.50% - - -
Other Purchases 1.50% - - -

What we like

Unlimited (!) 1.5% cash back on purchases. We like unlimited.

Card monogamists will appreciate the super simple rewards tracking: You know what you’re getting back with every swipe.

The first six months of membership are the best: Spend at least $2K (just $333 a month) on your American Express Cash Magnet card and you’ll earn a $200 statement credit.

The 15-month 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers provides breathing room to pay off debts. (Note: a 3% — $5 minimum — balance-transfer fee applies.)

Offers preapproval, so you can see if you're likely to be approved for the Cash Magnet Card without triggering a hard credit pull, which impacts your credit score. If Amex likes what it sees, then you can decide if you want to proceed with a formal application.

Comes with Pay It and Plan It features (through the Amex app). Pay It lets you pay off small purchases (less than $100) right away, earning rewards and avoiding interest. Plan It allows you to create a payment plan on qualifying purchases of $100 or more in installments for a monthly fee that’s less than your APR. Eligibility is based on your creditworthiness and credit limit. (See Amex’s FAQ for more details.)

No reward redemption minimums. Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits or eligible items at checkout.

Attn: travelers: If you’re 100 miles or more from home you can access Global Assist Hotline if you need a lawyer, help with lost luggage or a translator to get you through your Turkish rhinoplasty (which really is a thing).

Includes American Express card network perks, like car rental loss/damage insurance and purchase protection.

What we don't like

You don't have to settle for just 1.5% cash back in a world where 2% cards have become the norm. Check out our picks for the best flat-rate, no-hassle cash back cards.

That 2.7% foreign transaction fee is slightly better than the standard 3% foreign transaction fee many cards charge. Thanks?

High spending requirement for welcome bonus. Don't get us wrong: We love a welcome bonus! It's just that Amex has set the required spending bar pretty high to earn it.

The bottom line

Is the American Express Cash Magnet the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.

American Express Cash Magnet fine print

For some light reading, here’s the American Express Cash Magnet cardmember agreement.

Does the American Express Cash Magnet charge an annual fee?

No, there is no annual fee for the American Express Cash Magnet.

tips_and_updates Trivia time!

How common are annual fees? Roughly 17% of the consumer cash back cards we review charge an annual fee. They range from $39 to $99, with an average annual fee of $67.

Does the American Express Cash Magnet offer a welcome bonus?

Yes, the American Express Cash Magnet has a welcome bonus of $200.

tips_and_updates Fun fact

More than half (55%) of the consumer cash back credit cards we track in the database offer a welcome bonus, ranging from $30 up to $300. The average sign-up bonus for new cardholders is $197, with the median being $200.

How much cashback can I earn with the American Express Cash Magnet?

The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $180.00 in cash back per year using the American Express Cash Magnet. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.

These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the American Express Cash Magnet depends entirely on your unique spending habits.

Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the American Express Cash Magnet by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.

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The results of the Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)

About the Editorial Team

Dayana Yochim
Dayana Yochim

Dayana Yochim has been writing (articles, books, podcasts, stirring speeches) about personal finance and investing for more than two decades, focusing on bringing clarity and the occasional comedic aside to what is often a murky, humorless topic. She’s written for NerdWallet, The Motley Fool,, Woman’s Day, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and been a guest expert on "Today," "Good Morning America," CNN, NPR and wherever they’ll hand her a mic.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is Managing Editor for Reink Media Group and the lead editor for content on Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Andrea Coombes
Andrea Coombes

Andrea Coombes has 20+ years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. Her personal finance articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MarketWatch, Forbes, and other publications, and she's shared her expertise on CBS, NPR, "Marketplace," and more. She's been a financial coach and certified consumer credit counselor, and is working on becoming a Certified Financial Planner. She knows that owning pets isn't necessarily the best financial decision; her dog and two cats would argue this point.