American Express has lot of cards with no annual fee. Couple of popular no annual fee cards are Amex Everyday card and Amex Blue Cash Card which earns Membership rewards points and cashback respectively. American Express also has annual fee option available for these same cards and they usually differ in the earning's in categories.
For e.g. the Blue Cash Card earns 3% cashback at U.S. Supermarkets whereas the Blue Cash Preferred would earn 6% cash back (On up to $6,000 in purchases per year). So, although the annual fee for the preferred version is $95 you do get 3% additional earning and so if you reach the max spend cap for the year, you would earn additional $180 which would easily cover the $95 fees.
Interestingly American Express is known to provide upgrade offers usually in 2nd year of card membership. Depending on the type of card (Cash back or Membership rewards) you would either earn certain amount of points (for e.g. 10,000) or cashback (for e.g. $100) when you upgrade and spend certain amount on the upgraded card with 3 months or so. The good part is that these offers would show up on your American Express account and these is no hard credit pull or inquiry. Also since this is an upgrade offer they usually do not come with "once a lifetime bonus restriction".
For e.g. one of our account has an offer of earning $150 by upgrading to Blue Cash Preferred and spending $1,000 with new card within first 3 months after the upgrade.
Similarly if you have other partner cards such as no fee Hilton Honors card or Marriott card it might be worth checking if there are any targeted upgrade offer available. So, login to your American Express accounts and check for your targeted offer. Do note that if you never had the "premium" version of the card before you might be excluded to get the bonus again in future if you decide to apply for that premium card directly.
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