Remember when American Express positively ruled the high end of the credit card market, with its green, platinum, and black cards signifying the prosperity and importance of its Card Members (as Amex insists on calling its customers)? No more. And that’s a good thing for consumers.
With the introduction of benefits-rich rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and top-tier cards from major airlines, Amex is in the fight of its life to maintain a semblance of exclusivity, even of relevance. Gone is the let-’em-eat-cake arrogance that all too often characterized the company’s relationship to both consumers and business partners. In its place is a refreshing emphasis on adding value to its products and services.
One of the first such moves by Amex came on October 6, when the company upped the earning rate for airfare spend on its Platinum card to five Membership Rewards points per $1. Nice, and a hopeful sign that there were further enhancements in the pipeline.
This week, Amex announced a new promotional offer: double points for charges to more than 50 of its cards at small businesses, through December 31. The bonus is limited to the first eligible $100,000 spent with personal cards, and $250,000 for business cards. Registration is required.
Double points is not only a nice bonus, it’s also smart marketing. There’s more for consumers, plus it drives more business to smaller companies, a merchant category where Amex has vowed to increase its partnerships. Two birds with one stone.
In addition to the above, Amex has been offering particularly generous sign-up bonuses lately, including a 100,000-point bonus for the Business Platinum card.
It’s too soon to tell whether these initiatives are just a temporary blip or a fundamental change in direction for Amex. Card Members can only hope.
Reader Reality Check
How has your perception of Amex changed over the years?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.
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