It was back in 2011 when I decided that I needed an "elite" credit card with awesome perks and a high credit limit. My highest CL credit card at the time was a Capital One at $9k. After speaking to some friends in the world of banking and finance and reading a myriad of online reviews, my choices were narroed down to the AMEX Blue Csh Everyday, the Discover it (Discover sent me stuff in the mail weekly...), and the Chase Sapphire. My requirements were simple: no annual fee, rewards whether it be through points of airline miles, and a high credit limit. A little background info about myself in 2011: 28 years old, $76k income, no debt (car paid off, no house yet), 786 FICO, 7 years AAoA, no derogs or negative marks on credit report, 100% payment history, and 5 accounts.
I finally decided on the AMEX card because I already had a Chase Freedom, so I did not need another Chase card cannibalizing each other's points and AMEX was renown for customer service. I applied online and was instantly approved for $8k. Decent start, but I'm okay with it since everyone said you can request an increase 90 days later. My other terms were 14.99% APR (didn't care since I always pay in full at the end of every month) and $100 bonus after spending $1k within 3 months (easily completed). Cool, right?
Three weeks later, I receive a pre-approved offer from AMEX via snail mail for the same card, but with $150 bonus and 12.99% APR. I was hoping to call up AMEX to see if they can honor these terms since I had just applied for their card and was approved three weeks prior. Kind of a nice welcome gesture. Fifty bucks to them would be nothing compared to the merchant fees they would make from me charging all my purchases on the AMEX. Plus, this was around December, so you can imagine the charges I would rack up with Christmas shopping (I spent $4k that holiday season on gifts). I call them up. Denied... I wait a few more days... denied. I thought about cancelling the card at that point and going with Chase Sapphire, but a business trip and a death in the family distracted me, and I let it slide. Strike one for AMEX.
So, the previous incident happened around December. January 2012 rolls around, and I receive an email from AMEX offering me a year of Amazon Prime for free. Dude, who would not take that offer? I did not have Amazon Prime at the time, so I signed up. The terms were that I sign up, pay for Amazon Prime up front using my AMEX card, then AMEX would reimburse me in the form of credit to my statement. Done deal. Or so I thought... Four months roll by, and I check my credit statement. Nothing. I call up AMEX and state my issue. The rep pulled up my account and said that I did not have that offer on my account... I told her I applied for it through the email offer by clicking the link. She said if I did, then it would have flagged it in their system, but she did see that I paid for Amazon Prime using my AMEX. Mind you, I'm no idiot when it comes to computers as I work in software engineering. Luckily, I save most of my emails, so I offered to forward her both the offer email AND the confirmation from AMEX that I had redeemed the offer through their link. Nope, she wouldn't have it. She said she would have another department review it, then contact me with the results in 2 weeks. Fine. Three weeks roll by, nothing. I contact them back to inquire about the status of this review. They said there was no reivew or investigation and it was news to them... So, either the previous lied to me to get me off the phone, or AMEX folk are idiots. So, I restated my issue and offered to forward them the offer email and confirmation email. Nope... They said they would launch another investigation, but for reals this time... Wait three weeks... Nothing... I call them up. Guess what. They have no record of any investigation. I gave up. My time and sanity is worth more than the $90 they would have reimbursed me.
If you lasted this long through my review, then thank you, and I hope you take my experiences into consideration when/if applying for this card or any AMEX card. From what I have been reading in the news with the layoffs at AMEX, I am somewhat not surprised. AMEX won the JD Powers award for best customer service, but I have yet to see any of this famed customer service. To date, it really has been like every other credit card I have except for those random offers they have on their website (e.g. spend $50 at Lucille's and get $10 credit). Nothing AMEX has done has set them apart from Chase or Capital One in my experience. It is August 2015. Chase just sent me my new Freedom card with the chip n pin. Nothing from AMEX yet. They are waiting until the last minute I guess.
Maybe AMEX is scaling back since not a lot of merchants accept them, or because Costco dropped them. Whatever it is, I have not been feeling the love from AMEX. Maybe the rumors have just been hyped up?