There aren’t a ton of credit card companies out there that I genuinely enjoy supporting, but Amex is definitely one of them. Their customer service is the best among credit card compines and they have always provided great benefits to their cardholders. I know they charge hefty merchant fees and higher annual fees than most other companies but there’s a reason why.
A few months ago, I contested a $30 charge with my Southwest Chase card and I got a phone call from a pushy CS rep who wanted me to go on a 3 way call with the merchant. WTF? I told them to figure it out and hung up. To their credit, they did figure it out and eventually credited my account but it was a huge hassle.
Conversely, I’ve challenged a couple transactions on my AMEX Gold card and they have immediately refunded the money. They don’t wait to see if you were right or not, they instantly refund your money and worry about investigating the transaction later. This is just one example of the countless experiences I’ve had with AMEX’s awesome CS staff.
AMEX Personal Gold Card
I signed up for my AMEX Gold Personal Card two years ago when they had a 75,000 point sign up bonus and no annual fee for 2 years(those were the days!). I had always planned on canceling the card but over the past year, certain events made me re-think my plan.
In the past year, AMEX has really cranked up their promotions and deals for card members. I was getting a ton of great deals and cash back offers from Social Media promotions and of course the free $25 on Small Business Saturday every year. Not to mention the fact, that I added my fiancee as an authorized user to build her credit. So now I was able to sign up both cards for all of AMEX’s great promotions and double dip.
Still though, the $175 annual fee was looming so I decided to call in and see if they had any retention promotions. If you’ve never done this before, the key is to call in looking for an offer to keep your card. Generally, the first CS rep will not have any power so you’ll want to get transferred to the cancelation department or retention department.
Once you’ve been transferred, you should lament about how high the annual fee is, mention that the fee is lower with their competitor’s cards, etc. I usually Google something like “AMEX Personal Gold Retention Offers” to see what others have been getting recently. FlyerTalk is a great resource for things like this. That way, if you don’t get the offer you’re looking for, just hang up and call back and try again. Some reps may not know about every promotion or they might just be lazy and not want to find an offer to keep you around.
After employing all of these tactics, the rep offered me 7,500 MR points instantly to keep the card and another 5,000 points after I made $500 in purchases. Since I can cash out these points for gift cards at a rate of 100 points to $1 or for travel at about 50 points to $1, this was a no brainer for me. The points would be worth at least $125 plus 2 cards on Small Business Saturday($25 each card) equaled the $175 annual fee. I was sold, I’m keeping the card for at least one more year.
AMEX Business Gold Card
When applying for business credit cards, you generally don’t need to own a thriving and prosperous business. If you own a blog like me, just be honest and say that. I signed up for the AMEX Gold Business Card under this premise a year ago when they were offering a 75,000 point bonus for spending $10k in 4 months.
It’s been almost one year since my sign-up so I called in today and they offered me a $100 statement credit or 10,000 points to keep the card. I took the points, but as soon as they post I’m probably going to cancel the card anyways. I don’t really need this card for my business and I really just signed up for it for the points.
This is a good strategy to use on cards that offer point bonuses on your anniversary too. I recently hit my 1 year anniversary with my SW Plus Business card and received 3,000 points and a month later was hit with the annual fee. I called in to cancel the card and got to keep the points.
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Readers, have you ever tried calling in to get your AF reduced and if so, what type of offers have you received? Did they convince you to stay or did you end up canceling anyways?
Betsy / CollegeMom says
I’m with you on this one. I have always liked Amex and their customer service is superb. I called to let them know we were traveling outside the country back in May and I mentioned to the rep on the phone that I was concerned a lot of small merchants wouldn’t take the card and he reminded me that if that is the case we could purchase travelers cheques in Euros after we arrived and sent me a list of the banks where we could take care of this.
He also reminded me to write down the toll free international number from the back of the card and keep it in a separate place in case we lose our card. While I typically do things like this, it was nice for him to go that extra step.
Harry Campbell says
Yea I think AMEX treats their employees really well because they in turn treat us pretty well. I feel like when AMEX CS rep asks me how I’m doing, they actually care and aren’t just reading off a script. It definitely helps that they are good at what they do too.
[email protected] says
I just have to tell you, I love the photo! 🙂
Harry Campbell says
Rich Kids of Instagram Tumblr 🙂
I too love Amex. I have their Delta Skymiles card and an old Amex Blue card (that I don’t use but keep open because it’s my oldest card).
I have TWICE accidentally paid the wrong card off in full via online bill pay because I had different billing addresses for both cards in my old Chase account. User error, of course. It was my fault but I called American Express and reached an agent who was immediately able to transfer the money over from the $0 balance card to the card with the balance. I was freaking out and realized it was no big deal afterwards.
Also, since I’ve had my Amex Blue card since August of 2007, in my August 2012 statement for the Delta card they put a cute notice about thanking me for being a member for five years. The little things, I tell ya.
Harry Campbell says
Wow that’s awesome, I’ll probably sign up for the Delta Skymiles card next time they have a decent sign up bonus. That’s funny that you mention your bill paying story since I did the exact same thing, only with Citi and it was a huge PITA to get my money back. I think I had to fill out some forms, fax it in, wait 4-6 weeks then finally I received a check in the mail haha. I’m glad to hear other people have such positive experiences with AMEX!
@Harry — What are your thoughts on balancing the opening of multiple CC accounts for the points and the (potential) impact on your credit score?
Harry Campbell says
Hey Blake, I could go on for hours about this topic so if you’d like more info feel free to e-mail me. But as far as your question, I am a huge fan of opening CC’s for the points as long as you do it in moderation. A $400+ bonus per sign up is worth the small hit my credit score will take but I also don’t plan on buying anything on credit anytime soon(already have 1 house).
As long as you space out your apps and don’t go too crazy you can rack up thousands of dollars in cash/travel/etc per year(double that if you have a spouse!) all tax-free. I started churning cards a few years ago, I’m at 17 cards right now, never been denied for a card, credit score is 750+, so it’s definitely doable.