Why does anyone use American Express?

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Wading Ashore
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Wading Ashore » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:13 pm

FedGuy wrote:Are you using the Blue Cash Everyday card, or the old Blue Cash card?
I'm not using either one because I do so much better elsewhere.
Jack shall have Jill, nought shall go ill, the man shall have his mare again, and all will be well.

FedGuy
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by FedGuy » Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:56 pm

Wading Ashore wrote:
FedGuy wrote:Are you using the Blue Cash Everyday card, or the old Blue Cash card?
I'm not using either one because I do so much better elsewhere.
You said, "I just checked my account (Blue Cash, no-fee), and representative said cashback was .5%." What kind of Blue Cash do you have?

NERD777
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by NERD777 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:21 pm

To the people that have said their card was declined and it caused them shame or humiliation in public you really need to suck up your pride. I've had cards declined because of what was deemed as unusual activity and all it took was a phone call to clear it up. I actually found this a relief that they would cut off my card in case of identity theft or someone stealing my cc #. It's simply good business from their perspective and may save you in the long run. Have a backup card or two or however many and get on with it.

wellmoneyed
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by wellmoneyed » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:46 pm

1. No card comes close to the centurion - status on airlines and upgrades at time of booking
2. SPG card is one of the best cards if you travel

Check out www.flyertalk.com if you want to learn more. AMEX is generally thought of as the best network for points.

Roughly 90% of my charging is done on AMEX.

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Wading Ashore
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Wading Ashore » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:45 pm

FedGuy wrote:
Cosmo wrote: The Blue Cash Everyday card gets rid of all that, and gets you 3% cash back on groceries starting with the first dollar.
Thanks for the information. However, 5% cashback for Q2 on groceries is about to start with Chase Freedom, a no-fee card. (Q1 has had 5% on gas and Amazon.)
Jack shall have Jill, nought shall go ill, the man shall have his mare again, and all will be well.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:32 pm

Wading Ashore wrote:
FedGuy wrote:
Cosmo wrote: The Blue Cash Everyday card gets rid of all that, and gets you 3% cash back on groceries starting with the first dollar.
Thanks for the information. However, 5% cashback for Q2 on groceries is about to start with Chase Freedom, a no-fee card. (Q1 has had 5% on gas and Amazon.)
And when the Chase Freedom bonus quarter ends, people with the Blue Cash Everyday cards (no annual fee for this one) can go back to 3% cash back for groceries, instead of just 1% cash back with the Chase Freedom....

There is no one ideal card, or even combination of cards. But tricks like this are just the sort of thing people should look out for when they don't spend a ton on a certain category (e.g. not enough to pay for an annual fee card), but they do want to maximize rewards with no annual fee cards.

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Wading Ashore
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Wading Ashore » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:59 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:And when the Chase Freedom bonus quarter ends, people with the Blue Cash Everyday cards (no annual fee for this one) can go back to 3% cash back for groceries, instead of just 1% cash back with the Chase Freedom....
Very good tips, Mudpuppy and FedGuy. Bogleheads are quite a group!
Jack shall have Jill, nought shall go ill, the man shall have his mare again, and all will be well.

gerntz
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by gerntz » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:03 am

etarini wrote:
dbltrbl wrote:Would you be kind enough to let us know which Amex card gives you free baggage check and a free companion ticket every year?
I had to call the Delta SkyMiles Platinum desk, and hunt around a bit on the Delta website, but I found the confirmations.

The "first bag free" for up to 9 people in the cardholder's party on the same reservation is listed on the Delta Platinum benefits page.

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum desk said that the companion ticket certificate is provided upon annual renewal, i.e., at the end of the first year of membership, not when you sign up (though there is currently a 20,000 mile bonus for new cardmembers), and I later found the link:

Companion Certificates

It varies for Gold, Platinum, and Delta Reserve, but here's what it says for the Platinum card ($150 annual fee) that I have:

"With the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, the rewards keep coming. In fact, just for renewing your Card each year, you'll receive an exclusive, money-saving SkyMiles Companion Certificate—good for one eligible round-trip flight. It's our way of saying thanks for being a Cardmember—and making it easier than ever to share your travel experience with someone special. And, you can now redeem online.

Each year, you will receive your Platinum Companion Certificate which allows you to bring a friend with your only cost the government taxes and fees ranging from $10.80-$27.60 (depending upon the itinerary), and entitles you to Economy seating."

Note that the fine print restricts the fare classes to L, U, and T, though they now have a certificate redemption page that will only display flights with available seats in those fare classes. I just booked my companion ticket online last week for Friday-Monday travel Boston-Detroit the last weekend in June and availability wasn't a problem. Usually we try to travel Tue, Wed, or Sat, the lowest travel volume days, when we're trying to get award tickets. All Delta purchases with the card are 2x miles, including the flight you purchase to use the companion certificate.

The other benefit we like is that if you charge $25,000 to the card in one year, you get an additional 10,000 miles. We put everything we can on our credit cards, then pay them off each month. So, using the 1% guideline for air miles, that's another $100.

I keep monitoring the various cash-back cards, but their policies and categories seem to change often, and they exclude the big-box and warehouse clubs, which is a big negative for us, and I haven't found any that were compelling enough to switch.

Eric
The Platinum at $150/yr is what we have.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:22 am

I have the Delta Amex. I like it because it gives us Zone 2 boarding on Delta flights, as well as free checked luggage. There is an annual fee but it is off-set by a $99 companion cert we get. I also find that amex has nice promotions. For example, there is the annual "Small Business Saturday", where you get a $25 statement credit. Also, they have a promotion if you link your Amex card to your FourSquare account. I just got a $5 credit at one of my favorite restaurants.

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N1CKV
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by N1CKV » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:32 am

I have never had an American Express card and probably never will.

I have never paid a penny in annual fees or interest on any of my cards. I won't pay a fee, I see no point.

I carry a couple different cards, my favorites are VISA Signature (two of them). VISA Signature fixes the problem some complain about with a "no stated credit limit but it secretly exists" - the card has a stated limit, however there is no over the limit charge. At the time of the transaction when you would go "over limit" you can be instantly granted more credit. In addition you have access to liability wavers for rental cars, purchase protection for accidental damage and warranty extension. I like to get my rewards by way of cash back.

I don't travel by air (have no need or desire) so I have no need for these "miles" cards with access to airport lounges and baggage checks.

sscritic
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by sscritic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:57 am

N1CKV wrote:I have never had an American Express card and probably never will.

I have never paid a penny in annual fees or interest on any of my cards. I won't pay a fee, I see no point.

I carry a couple different cards, my favorites are VISA Signature (two of them). VISA Signature fixes the problem some complain about with a "no stated credit limit but it secretly exists" - the card has a stated limit, however there is no over the limit charge.
A charge card is not a credit card and a credit card is not a charge card. A typical charge card has a fee and no limit and the bill is due and payable at the end of every cycle. A charge card allows you to charge purchases. A credit card offers revolving credit. Many but not all have no fee; American Express offers a no fee credit card. All credit cards allow you not to pay your balance in full. Instead, they charge interest on the money you have borrowed from them.

American Express offers both a charge card and a credit card.
wikipedia wrote:A charge card is a card that provides an alternative payment to cash when making purchases in which the issuer and the cardholder enter into an agreement that the debt incurred on the charge account will be paid in full and by a due date (usually every thirty days) or be subject to severe late fees and restrictions on card use.

Though the terms charge card and credit card are sometimes used interchangeably, they are distinct protocols of financial transactions: a credit card is a revolving credit instrument that does not need to be paid in full; no late fee is charged so long as the minimum payment is made at specified intervals (usually every thirty days) which carries the balance forward as a loan charging interest. Charge cards are typically issued without spending limits (although one may be punished after a late payment), whereas credit cards always have a specified line of credit that the user may not exceed for purchases.
P.S. Don't feel bad. Almost everyone else posting in this thread isn't worrying about comparing apples to oranges.

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Optimistic
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Optimistic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:52 am

betterinvestor2012 wrote:I have a confession, I have been an Amex user for over 20 years. I switch back and forth on the cards to avoid annual fees, but somehow I just feel this card is really not worth it.

I do travel but only go overseas once year or two. Is this card helpful when overseas?

One of the things I have learned from being a Boglehead is to take the emotion out of finance and try to be more logical in the use of my money. When it comes to credit cards, I run the numbers and almost all "rewards" cards seem like a waste. When it comes to Amex, for some reason I just cant throw it out. What is wrong with me? Is there a justification for having this card? Apparently I just "can't leave home without it" :confused
What's not to like about the American Express Prepaid Card? I'm positive that's what this post is referring to! :happy

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CokeSlurpee711
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by CokeSlurpee711 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:55 am

Try the FatWallet Forums... I use the 2% Fidelity AMEX whenever I can't get 5% or more cash back as others ITT do as well. Pretty simple really.

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schnoodlemom
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by schnoodlemom » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:06 am

We use both Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Delta Skymiles Platinum. For our family, both cards have far exceeded their annual fees in terms of cash back and the value of the companion certificate/free checked baggage. We also have a Capitol One No Hassle Rewards MasterCard (cash back with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees) for places that don't take Amex.

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N1CKV
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by N1CKV » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:11 am

sscritic wrote:
N1CKV wrote:I have never had an American Express card and probably never will.

I have never paid a penny in annual fees or interest on any of my cards. I won't pay a fee, I see no point.

I carry a couple different cards, my favorites are VISA Signature (two of them). VISA Signature fixes the problem some complain about with a "no stated credit limit but it secretly exists" - the card has a stated limit, however there is no over the limit charge.
A charge card is not a credit card and a credit card is not a charge card. A typical charge card has a fee and no limit and the bill is due and payable at the end of every cycle. A charge card allows you to charge purchases. A credit card offers revolving credit. Many but not all have no fee; American Express offers a no fee credit card. All credit cards allow you not to pay your balance in full. Instead, they charge interest on the money you have borrowed from them.

American Express offers both a charge card and a credit card.
wikipedia wrote:A charge card is a card that provides an alternative payment to cash when making purchases in which the issuer and the cardholder enter into an agreement that the debt incurred on the charge account will be paid in full and by a due date (usually every thirty days) or be subject to severe late fees and restrictions on card use.

Though the terms charge card and credit card are sometimes used interchangeably, they are distinct protocols of financial transactions: a credit card is a revolving credit instrument that does not need to be paid in full; no late fee is charged so long as the minimum payment is made at specified intervals (usually every thirty days) which carries the balance forward as a loan charging interest. Charge cards are typically issued without spending limits (although one may be punished after a late payment), whereas credit cards always have a specified line of credit that the user may not exceed for purchases.
P.S. Don't feel bad. Almost everyone else posting in this thread isn't worrying about comparing apples to oranges.
I completely understand the difference between a Charge card and a Credit card. I guess my point is I see no logic for using a Charge card with an annual fee when a Credit Card can do everything the Charge Card can do with no annual fee. Regardless of the terms of Credit Cards I have always treated mine the same as the terms a Charge Card would force you to abide by, I pay the balance in full at the end of the month. Only real difference is I don't pay an annual fee to make myself feel better...

sscritic
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by sscritic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:25 am

N1CKV wrote:
N1CKV wrote:I have never had an American Express card and probably never will.

I have never paid a penny in annual fees or interest on any of my cards. I won't pay a fee, I see no point.
I completely understand the difference between a Charge card and a Credit card. I guess my point is I see no logic for using a Charge card with an annual fee when a Credit Card can do everything the Charge Card can do with no annual fee.
If I misunderstood you, I apologize. But tell me what your first two sentences have to do with each other. You say you don't use American Express; you then say you don't pay annual fees (Charge card). You repeat yourself and say you only use a Credit card. But what is the connection to American Express? It sure looked to me as if you were making a connection between American Express and annual fees.

I have an American Express credit card. I pay no fees. Mine is offered through BofA, but you can get an American Express credit card with no fees directly from American Express. Maybe if you hadn't followed your "no American Express" with your "no annual fees" I wouldn't have thought you were making a connection that I don't think exists.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Easy Rhino » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:49 pm

Langkawi wrote:One strong benefit of using Amex overseas is that unlike Visa and Mastercard, Amex does not allow merchants to use Dynamic Currency Conversion.
Is that where the merchant guesses charges the card in dollars directly, presumably at a usurious exchange rate?

I recently completed my first (and only) international trip to Japan and the Philippines with my Visa, and this was never an issue. A couple of merchants would ask if I should be charged in yen/pesos or dollars, and I'd just stick with the local currency.
NERD777 wrote:To the people that have said their card was declined and it caused them shame or humiliation in public you really need to suck up your pride.
I am tempted to agree.

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Hat
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Hat » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:04 pm

I use AMEX cards issued directly through American Express for their superior dispute resolution and extended warranty protection.

I had an extended warranty claim for $160 sunglasses which developed a hinge problem through normal use. AMEX reimbursed the entire purchase price by crediting my account within a few days. I didn't have to fax a receipt or copy of the warranty.

They also have a track record of siding with the customer in disputes unless the merchant can prove otherwise.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by TRC » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:14 pm

wjwhitney wrote:
camper wrote:
DiMAn0684 wrote:I use Fidelity AMEX card because it gives me 2% cashback on all purchases.
Me too.
Me too.

I have been keeping records and have to date I have earned $7670.00 in credit card cash rewards.
Ditto. Just added $300 in rewards to my kids 529. I use my card exclusively for work travel expenses, which is about 7-10k per months. Free money....can't beat it.

fx24
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by fx24 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:17 pm

Companies I avoid: AMEX, Merrill Lynch, BofA, Comcast, General Motors.

With all of these companies, I have personally experienced fee gouging or terrible customer service. The thing is... we all get to vote with our dollars. I deliberately avoid contact with these firms because of my own experience. I recall once, when I was in my 20s, adding up annual AMEX fees of over a hundred dollars. Back then, that was an outrageous fee amount, and I still hold it against them.

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beyou
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by beyou » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:30 pm

expat wrote:Because they have excellent customer service, great cash back and other benefits.
+1

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beyou
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by beyou » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:35 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sidney wrote:That isn't an AMEX thing, that is a fraud filter that is fairly tight (maybe too tight, who knows). I usually tell my CC companies if I am going to be traveling somewhere unusual or if I expect to have large, out-of-pattern charges. I've never had any problems from any card company.
Well, maybe they all do it, but American Express is the company that did it to me. They embarrassed me in public. I don't think that's a small thing. At the time, American Express was supposed to be for travel, and I don't know why it should have surprised them that someone might be using their American Express card while traveling. If they had a rule that lower-income cardholders were supposed to clear their travel plans in advance with American Express, I don't know why it had to be a secret rule.

Yes, I am angry about it still. Yes, after all these years.
Well I inquired about getting a Visa debit/ATM card for my son going to Europe on vacation today,
and the first thing my bank said was "let us know when he's going" so the transactions are not rejected.

Don't blame the banks. If we expect them to absorb all fraudulent charges, they have to find ways
to protect themselves. Doesn't seem so inconvenient telling most banks, they will even accept an email,
which takes as much time as a post on BH.org

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watchnerd
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by watchnerd » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:55 am

I travel a lot overseas for business.

I also have a fee-free Bank of America / Merril Lynch 'Accolades' American Express card.

The Amex charges a 1% fee on foreign transactions, while Visa and Mastercard charge 3%

When you're talking about a week of hotels and business dinners in a city like Tokyo or London, that can be a fair bit of savings.
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cheesepep
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by cheesepep » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:15 am

Never will use AMEX - it is just not a universal card. I like to use one card for everything.

Since I travel a lot, I use my CapitolOne Visa card. No foreign transaction fees! Gives me 2% back in the form of travel expenses for everything I buy (food, clothes, gas, anything). Since I do a lot of traveling, the 2% travel thing is as good as cash to me.

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wander
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by wander » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:03 pm

betterinvestor2012 wrote:I switch back and forth on the cards to avoid annual fees, but somehow I just feel this card is really not worth it.
You are right. If you pay annual fee, it is really not worth it. But, I do not pay fee.

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verbose
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by verbose » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:45 am

I cancelled AMEX a few years ago. We were getting ready to close on a new house, so there was a lot of money moving between our accounts. I attempted to pay the AMEX bill from a money market savings using ACH, rather than wait for the transfer to checking to clear (different banks). The money market had checks, so ACH, right? Well, no, it doesn't work that way. I paid it the day I got the statement. I was starting to get concerned that the bank didn't show the transaction when the AMEX stopped working.

I had another card, and I had the money (needed to transfer it). It's just that when I'm trying to buy a house full of appliances, and get the closing funds in order, this was a hassle I really didn't need.

I called them, and they told me that the payment didn't go through. It was still about a week before the due date. They insisted that I pay the entire outstanding balance before the card would be useful again. The rep was very rude and clearly believed that I'd entered invalid payment information on purpose. I asked to speak to his supervisor--even ruder. Not only did they scold me thoroughly, they were gleeful about it.

That's enough for me. No more AMEX. They join a bunch of auto repair chains and a few restaurants on my NEVER EVER AGAIN list.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Sidney » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:40 am

blevine wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
Sidney wrote:That isn't an AMEX thing, that is a fraud filter that is fairly tight (maybe too tight, who knows). I usually tell my CC companies if I am going to be traveling somewhere unusual or if I expect to have large, out-of-pattern charges. I've never had any problems from any card company.
Well, maybe they all do it, but American Express is the company that did it to me. They embarrassed me in public. I don't think that's a small thing. At the time, American Express was supposed to be for travel, and I don't know why it should have surprised them that someone might be using their American Express card while traveling. If they had a rule that lower-income cardholders were supposed to clear their travel plans in advance with American Express, I don't know why it had to be a secret rule.

Yes, I am angry about it still. Yes, after all these years.
Well I inquired about getting a Visa debit/ATM card for my son going to Europe on vacation today,
and the first thing my bank said was "let us know when he's going" so the transactions are not rejected.

Don't blame the banks. If we expect them to absorb all fraudulent charges, they have to find ways
to protect themselves. Doesn't seem so inconvenient telling most banks, they will even accept an email,
which takes as much time as a post on BH.org
Yes, it is quite easy to do -- even on the fly. And I can assure you that fraud holds have nothing to do with the income of the cardholder.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by jimmyrules712 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:49 pm

wjwhitney wrote:
nomdeplume wrote: What are the practial differences or advantages, disadvantages between an Amex serviced product and a FIA serviced product?


WJwhitney later in tis thread said re the Fidelity Amex "So it is AMEX in name only. Kind of a hybrid card, like a Visa with an AMEX wrapper." Are there reasons to get or to not get a hybrid?

Do these hybrid cards have the same perks as a non hybrid, like the travel accident, purchase protection, availablility of the car rental insurance, etc?

Thank you.
From the Fidelity AMEX website http://personal.fidelity.com/products/c ... card.shtml...

Additional Card Benefits

No limits on rewards
No annual fee
24-hour customer service
Zero liability fraud protection and identity theft recovery service
Retail purchase protection for merchandise
Travel and emergency assistance, including car rental loss and damage insurance


Not 100% sure that is the same as the "real" AMEX card but basically I think the answer is yes.
The FIA serviced cards are provided benefits and customer service by FIA Card Services (owned by Bank of America) instead of by American Express. They get none of their perks from American Express. Yes they advertise mostly the same perks and services, but it's actually more like the same perks and services that any BOA visa might have. I doubt the purchase protection is as good as AMEX is.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by jimmyrules712 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:52 pm

In response to the OP, I only see AMEX useful for 3 situations.

1. You travel a lot and would benefit from the lounges etc.
2. You buy certain types of things (i.e. electronics) for the purchase/price protection (which I think is better than what most non-AMEX cards provide)
3. You use the AMEX Blue Cash (everyday or preferred) for groceries for 3% or 6% cashback.

If you don't believe in paying a fee for a CC then go with one of the free AMEX crds (Blue cash everyday is probably the best). But if you spend more than $200 per month on groceries the Blue Cash Preferred with a $75 annual fee is better for you since it gives 6% CB on groceries.

I do have the Fidelity AMEX for 2% cashback on all purchases (with no annual fee) but as other's have said that's not a real AMEX card.

chaz
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by chaz » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:46 pm

Just for Costco, otherwise I use Chase.
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BruceM
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by BruceM » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:58 pm

chaz wrote:Just for Costco, otherwise I use Chase.
Last year we switched from the standard Costco AMEX to the AMEX "True Earnings" cash-back credit card, with no annual fee for Costco members. Between July and Dec of 2011, our cash back was almost enough to pay the annual Costco dues...and this was stuff we normally buy anyway. This card provides a 3% cashback on Costco gasoline purchases (up to a max of $3,000/yr or $90), 2% at restaurants and 1% on anything else we charge on the card anywhere else, including Costco. I believe the 'cash-back' must be used at Costco....but this is fine with us, as we spend a pile there anyway on things we normally use.

BruceM

stoptothink
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:45 pm

BruceM wrote:I believe the 'cash-back' must be used at Costco....but this is fine with us, as we spend a pile there anyway on things we normally use.

BruceM
It does not have to be, but the refund must be cashed at Costco. Just cashed my $212 refund a few weeks ago.

Tabulator
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How nice are airline clubs?

Post by Tabulator » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:19 pm

V572625694 wrote:An AMEX "Platinum" card grants you access to most airline clubs, which has been worth it to me.
I am curious to know how significant of a perk this really is. Do you spend a lot of time in airports? I am afraid I would find the airline clubs more isolated and boring than the regular flight waiting areas. And if you're travelling with a friend, does that person get in also?

firewynd
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by firewynd » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:56 pm

I got the 2% cash back Fidelity AMEX card via FIA Card Services.

Love it. Wayyy better than the Mastercard/VISA cards I had. Even though the other cards have 5% cash back in certain categories, the way they count charges towards that was so lame, I hadly made any money. Since switching, we've seen a huge increase in the amount back.

As far as traveling... Was in Austrailia for a while and everywhere but 1 or 2 places took my AMEX. I was pleasantly surprised. No idea how it is in other less civilized places :-D

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Renaissance Man » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:03 pm

Do the companion tickets roll-over if they are not used each year? Basically, can I stock up on $99 companion tickets?

Tabulator
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Tabulator » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:23 pm

firewynd wrote:I got the 2% cash back Fidelity AMEX card via FIA Card Services.

Love it. Wayyy better than the Mastercard/VISA cards I had.
Nice to know you have had a good experience. I considered it and dismissed it because of my prejudice against Fidelity and Bank of America. Maybe I will have to open a Fidelity account and give it a try.

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BHCadet
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by BHCadet » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:07 am

If it wasn't Costco, I wouldn't have my American Express card.

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sperry8
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by sperry8 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:44 am

kontango wrote:I love our Starwoods AMEX card. We've built up a ton of points for hotels and traveling.
I love the Starwood American Express and use it as my primary card in the US. When redeeming properly, it is one of the best cards out there (you will get 3-4% effective cash back). That is better than all the other current cash back cards (assuming you do travel and are willing to redeem at Starwood hotel properties). I do not use this card abroad as it charges a 2.7% transaction fee. I have a variety of no fee visa/mc cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees and use those when traveling. Plus, I spend over $30,000 a year on the card and as such I also attain Starwood Gold status (provides free internet and late 4pm checkouts). Well worth the $65 annual fee.

I also have the American Express Gold card. In major cities (such as NYC and LA), they offer pre-access and exclusive seats to concerts. I have been able to get seats before they go on sale to the general public and once in NYC even got access to a private show to see Alanis Morissette (the show never went on sale to the gp - was an amex only show). I hate paying this annual fee - but love the access, so I think it's worth it.

I do not pay extra for the membership rewards program - since I don't charge enough on the Amex Gold card to make it worthwhile.

Cheers
Shane
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Remy Winchester
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Remy Winchester » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:14 am

The benefits.

I use the Blue Cash Everyday. No annual fee. It's a 3-2-1% back card.

AMEX has been great to me. In 6 months of use, I've accumlated $125 in cash back. I haven't used the rewards yet, but it's nice to know I can use it for statement credit, or xmas gift cards.

Also, by staying in-tune with AMEX on social networking (Facebook) I've been able to participate in Small Business Saturday. This gave me a $25 statement credit in December for spending $25 at a "small business" when I went xmas shopping. I made the purchase (that I would have made anyways), and before I left the store I received an email stating my $25 credit was received.

Lastly, AMEX extended warranty on electronics extends the manufacturer's 1 year warranty to 2 years.

I use the Chase Freedom for smaller purchases under $10, and 5% categories, and where AMEX isn't accepted (I've only encountered one or two places that it isn't - a bar and a car dealership for service)

Penfed 5% card on gasoline purchases.

That is how I use my AMEX and credit cards.

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interplanetjanet
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by interplanetjanet » Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:43 am

Oh, what the heck.

I use my Blue Cash Preferred because 6% back on a major spending category for me (groceries) is huge. Even after the annual fee, I should net something close to $500/yr.
I like Amex for their credit backdating practices (I first got a corporate card years before I got a personal Amex).

As far as non-Centurion Bank Amex-network cards go, the Fidelity 2% card is a great general-purpose cash back card. My Penfed "Travel Rewards" Amex gives an effective 8% back on airplane tickets when redeemed for travel on any carrier, which is a nice help.

If you want one card for everything, especially if you travel outside of North America, Amex-network cards are probably not the way to go. As a complement to other credit cards, I think that some of their offerings definitely have a place.

I've always had very good experiences with Amex's customer service. I know this is not universal.

I carry a few other cards for other purposes - one of my favorite obscure ones is a Juniper/Barclays MasterCard that gives 2.5% back on "utilities", which includes some things (like my power bill) that can't be paid at all with an Amex.

-janet

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by gerntz » Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:03 pm

Renaissance Man wrote:Do the companion tickets roll-over if they are not used each year? Basically, can I stock up on $99 companion tickets?
No. They expire after a year. BUT, you do not have to travel on these yourself. So if you know someone with another card, you can trade & say get two companion tickets in one year. Our friends needed one quickly & were out, so we let them use ours & we'll use theirs later this year.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:00 pm

My second credit card was an American Express. My first was an Access card but they don't report to Experian or Equifax. :wink:
After I got my first job I could not even get a secured credit card from my bank, something about the ink on my Social Security card still being wet, but I applied for and got an AmEx. So much for exclusivity.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by lazyfabs » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:10 pm

Amex was my first card in college, will be dating myself here, but member since '89. Have had all the colors and variations at some point or another. I have sent the president of the company a cut up card once in a certified envelope around 94 for being put thru the ringer over a mistake on their behalf, was contacted promptly by a vp of something apologizing, got coddled a bit, I came back.

Since 89 I have also had visa cards of all sizes and colors, but have to say that in all those years Amex has always been by far a better experience in the customer service arena.

As with anything I am a stong believer that you get what you pay for. With Amex you pay a premium for better service, protection, amenities, perks, access, etc. most people will never use most of the services or perks one gets with Amex, but for those that do you rarely here a strong complaint.

every year when we have to pay the fee we grumble, deliberate (over a few gin an tonics) with the better half (wine for her) and we always moan and groan as the check is being written, but it never fails that every year we are in a situation we are glad we did pay the fee and didnt cancel the card.

Next years when the fee is due again I will find myself pouring the better half a glass of wine and make myself a stiff gin and tonic and go through the motions once again.
"I think the best way to find happiness is to stop looking so hard." - Kermit the Frog

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kenyan
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by kenyan » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:13 pm

lazyfabs wrote: As with anything I am a stong believer that you get what you pay for.
Come now, on this forum the belief is that you get what you DON'T pay for (at least when it comes to investments).
Retirement investing is a marathon.

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KarlJ
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by KarlJ » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:37 am

Another vote for customer service, which on one occasion saved me from being stuck with a $3000+ fraudulent charge from a company entering bankruptcy proceedings. I have been using various forms of AMEX cards for decades and currently have the Costco card.

TXGymGuy
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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by TXGymGuy » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:18 pm

kontango wrote:I love our Starwoods AMEX card. We've built up a ton of points for hotels and traveling.
Agreed, this is my primary card. The 1point:1.25 AA frequent flier miles conversion ratio is a nice bonus as well.

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Re: How nice are airline clubs?

Post by gerntz » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:45 am

multivoiced wrote:
V572625694 wrote:An AMEX "Platinum" card grants you access to most airline clubs, which has been worth it to me.
I am curious to know how significant of a perk this really is. Do you spend a lot of time in airports? I am afraid I would find the airline clubs more isolated and boring than the regular flight waiting areas. And if you're travelling with a friend, does that person get in also?
The Amex $450/yr card gets at least one other guest in, maybe more - not sure. Of course the clubs are more isolated. That's the point - more comfortable seating/working space, quieter, good wifi, free snacks & drinks. But it's not like they're empty. But recently Delta has been pushing premium liquor drink & want to sell them to you. If I'm going to be expected to pay for drinks, then just what is the clubs' point? Me, I'm not in them enough to make them worth $450.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by jamc » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:41 am

I used to use american express until I realized I wasn't getting what I needed to out of the card given the annual fee. I switched to discover card which pays cash back 2-5% on all items. I like the flexibility of their rewards program -- i.e. I can see exactly how much I have in cash back and then I can redeem the amount either with a direct credit to my monthly bill or through a third party vendor. Easiest and most transparent card I've ever used without any annual fees. FYI I pay off my credit card bill in full every month the interest rate differences do not affect me.

Crunch the numbers and see if your annual fee is worth it and if not, consider a card with no fee and similar rewards.

cheers

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by jasonp99 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:01 am

Remy Winchester wrote:The benefits.

I use the Blue Cash Everyday. No annual fee. It's a 3-2-1% back card.


Lastly, AMEX extended warranty on electronics extends the manufacturer's 1 year warranty to 2 years.
The extended warranty protection is also offered on Visa Signature cards (common). Though I will say I have used this benefit twice and it was far easier to get the refund back from Amex than from Visa. Caveat: Visa did not require that I had an active Visa card but Amex did.

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Re: Why does anyone use American Express?

Post by jasonp99 » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:18 am

My current reward card strategy:

Amex Blue Cash (old version) : groceries/gas/drugstores 5% *, rental cars 1% **
Chase Freedom : rotating category 5% (use even if same as Amex because linked Chase checking account gets bonus points)
REI Visa : any REI purchase (gets max dividend)
Priceline Rewards Visa : everything else 2% (not as simple reward redemption though)

* Amex gets 5% after $6500 threshold met
** I'm enrolled in their rental car insurance plan, $20 per rental for full insurance. Much cheaper than the insurance from the rental car company and give me peace of mind.

None of these cars have a fee. The addition of the Priceline card (just got this) makes things a bit more complex. Have to give up $65 (minimum) in rewards from the Priceline card to hit the $6500 limit on the Amex. But that would result in a yearly gain of at least $160 due to the higher reward (based on just groceries/gas spending).

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