There are always three aspects I look out for, in a credit card before I pull out my chequebook to sign up for it. While the ability to earn rewards goes on top of that list, there are also aspects such as customer service I look out for. The third important aspect is the purchasing power, of course.
For the fact that American Express checks these boxes, I end up siding with them more often than not. I’ve been dealing with them for many years, held many of their cards, and here are some key reasons I think, this is the right time to go for an American Express card if you don’t have one already.
Unlimited Purchasing Power
Amex has been known for their charge cards for the longest time. While these were corporate payment tools initially, over the past many years, they have been available to individuals as well. With the American Express Cards, such as the Amex Gold Charge Card and the Amex Platinum Charge Card, you get no pre-set spending limit, and this can be a lifesaver in many cases. Think about picking the tab for a whole party of 20 corporate executives gone for an after party in a foreign country; I’ve done that with my Amex of course. It was a huge tab, and I minted lots of Membership Rewards points!
American Express has perhaps one of the best Fraud Protection teams out there. They keep analysing your transactions, and anything out of whack gets red-flagged. The whole process is, of course, analytics-driven. I remember a casual Sunday evening many years ago when I was sipping on tea, watching the sunset over the Arabian Sea from my home in Mumbai.
But my card was being charged by some unscrupulous folks in different parts of the world, including Vegas and Europe, all at the same time. The tickets were not small either. A couple of those transactions went through, and then Amex called me to check if I was making these transactions. I told them no.
The Amex team was very professional and advised me that my card should be blocked and a new one issued. I concurred, and within 48 hours a new card was in my wallet. As for the existing transactions, these were temporarily reversed within 24 hours and dropped off my card for good within a few days. Another Indian bank would have me on the hook, even before having me contest the charges.
Which brings me to the part about Customer Service. If you’ve studied the legend about American Express, over their storied past of over 160 years, they’ve had tons of great stories for their card members. These range from random acts of kindness, to those about going above and beyond for the customers.
While I’ve been fortunate enough to have my queries limited to the small ones, such as bill copies, sometimes a random charge here or there, there are many people I know who’ve gotten the great Amex service time and again. The folks at Amex mean it when they talk about the “powerful backing” of American Express – they go all out to assist their Cardmembers. I’ve heard of someone losing their Tiffany engagement ring at Mumbai Airport Lounge and calling Amex to help locate it – and they did! Another customer was on a business trip in Zurich without any business cards – he called Amex, and they got the cards designed, printed and delivered locally in less than 24 hours.
Round the World Presence
American Express is a global brand. Period. Everything they can do for you – they will be able to provide and deliver around the world. It could be small things such as sending flowers to your near and dear ones in a different country via their Concierge service, or it could be you moving bag and baggage to a different country, where, as an existing American Express customer, they will pass you along to the new country and help you get your Amex set up with minimal paperwork.
As a global brand, American Express has global partnerships. And that helps us customers get in on some exclusive deals only available on Amex. Think Hilton Honors and Marriott Rewards, two of the most prominent hospitality loyalty programs in the world, who only work with American Express.
Not just that, the brand catalogue, which gets refreshed every year, has tons to choose from. Like how about using your Membership Rewards to part pay the cost of your next BMW? Or use them towards an around-the-world cruise?
Amex is perhaps the only global credit card issuing company to have their own network of lounges. American Express Platinum Card members have access to 1100+ airport lounges in more than 500 cities across 120 countries. In India, they have a lounge at Terminal 3, Delhi Airport, and they provide access to 30+ lounges in airports around India. The global network includes 9 Centurion Lounges – 8 in the US and 1 in Hong Kong, 9 International American Express Lounges and complimentary membership of the Priority Pass network of more than 1,000 Priority Pass lounges in over 120 countries around the world
In short, this is the time to pick up an Amex if you don’t already have one. After all, that is what Amex says to you now, “don’t leave home without one.”