What's the advantage of an American Express card?

I carry Amex, Visa, MC & Disc. I use Amex for everything except a very few places that do not take it. I charge one small thnig to each of the others once a year to keep them open and making my credit History look good. I ALWAYS pay in full each month.

What everybody else said about why they are the best.

I just got an offer for an American Express card today. Normally I toss them in the garbage because some merchants won’t accept their card.

My question is, will opening an American Express account help my FICO score? My understanding is there is no credit limit and you pay in full each month. Is there more than one type of AX card account?

I would only open this account if it will increase my FICO score. A previous thread pointed out, correctly, that Capital One has no credit limit reported, and is pretty much useless helping my FICO score.

AmEx “blue” cards are regular credit cards and will report your limit and payments to the credit bureaus. Whether or not they help your FICO score depends on what you do with them.

The other AmEx cards (green, gold and platinum) are the charge cards - you pay them off in full each month and there isn’t any pre-set limit. (Though they will get “concerned” if your spending suddenly skyrockets beyond normal for you.) They don’t report a limit, but they do report your on-time or late payments, so they can help or hurt your FICO score that way.

I’ve had AmEx for years, but I typically charge just $100-200 month and I don’t travel or have use for any of the other benefits mentioned in this thread. Sounds like I’m wasting the $55 annual fee. I’m thinking about replacing it with a Visa, or maybe a second MasterCard, that I would pretend was an AmEx (in that I’d pay the full balance every month).

In terms of FICO scores, is there any difference between an AmEx account that I pay in full (on time) every month and a credit card account that I pay in full (on time) every month? Would the reported credit limit associated with a card – that isn’t from Capital One – be “helpful” at all?

Also not everyone carries a CC balance so interest is not an issue, this also saves on ATM fees (since one makes less trips to a ATM), and also nets you a small bit of interest since you have a 25-30 day grace period to pay it off.

Amex used to advertise the blue card by talking about the computer chip that was on the card. Do they still do that? Is the computer chip used in any way?

Also, does anyone know anybody with the Centurion Card? (This is the fabled black Amex card that’s available only to a select few, and for which you can’t apply; they decide who is qualified.)

A guy I was doing some contract work for has one. I saw it when he took me out for a fancy lunch. I was very impressed. :slight_smile: He’s a really weird guy though. Probably got it for the coolness factor more than anything. Apparently you have to spend at least $100,000 a year on your platinum to be “invited” to get the mysterious black card. It has an insane yearly fee and apparently the greatest perks in the universe.

AmEx is a very smart company. The “black card” used to be an urban legend. Then they decided to make it real because it was so legendary.

Inspired by this thread, I applied for a blue card and was rejected for not having enough yearly income. I’m a student, I don’t have any money! Maybe now they’ll stop sending me applications.

At least some of the Amex cards have changed to traditional credit cards in which you don’t have to pay off the whole balance.

Depending on the card you have you may have:

Additional free traveler insurance

Really good help with problem transactions such as internet magazine subscriptions that auto renew at a much higher price and won’t cancel when you call the number.

Extended warranty service: EG, an extra year beyond the manufacturer’s for free.

They have specialty cards with different programs.

Fpr those who travel a lot for business for example there is the Hilton Honors card, when you spend you get points that add up to free rooms at Hilton Hotels worldwide, but no good if you don’t travel. But if you do the points add up and that program I think also lets you get air miles at the same time.

There may be other programs as well.

The disadvantage is that for the reasons cited it is not accepted everywhere. In many cases that engine overhaul that would be worth mucho travel points even though you intend to pay it off at the end of the month can’t be put on the card because you mechanic only accepts visa or mastercard. But for online purchases it is more widely accepted and has great protection for large purchases and the extra warranty is a good thing.

Many amex card offers have no annual fee. May depend on your credit score though. I have heard generally about credit card companies, not Amex in particular, that if you pay off month to month every month, some will start charging an annual fee so that they at least can pay for mailing your statement each month and processing your transactions. But I do not know if that is true.

Hope this is helpful. More imporatant than the card brand is the interest rate offered. If you get a good low fixed rate that is worth gold. Try to avoid accepting rates that float with the apr if you can find them. Also, make sure you do your best to pay off balances as quicky as possible, paying minimums on all cards and putting the rest of max available on highest rate card.

Again, hope this is helpful. Oh, there may be better acceptance rate of Amex in more obscure foreign locations but I am not the one to ask.


I have an American Express credit card for a very simple reason. I get 1 Air Miles reward mile for every Cdn$20 I spend on my Amex card, and there’s no annual fee. I also have a no-annual-fee Mastercard that gives me 1 Air Miles reward mile for every Cdn$40 I spend. The Mastercard, naturally, only gets used at places that don’t take Amex. I always pay off all my credit card balances every month (I have no intention of paying ridiculous interest rates on a credit card instead of forfeiting a miniscule amount of interest by cashing in some savings on those very rare occasions when my chequing account balance can’t cover the entire credit card bill), so differences in interest rates and credit card vs. charge card is irrelevant to me.