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Please Teach me what I need to know about Amex.

Frequent Contributor

Re: Please Teach me what I need to know about Amex.

I've never had an American Express.

Valued Member

Re: Please Teach me what I need to know about Amex.

Just got my BCE on the mail yesterday and still unopened, my first Amex and wanna learn more before I activate the card. (I am dying to open it tho) but I will use this and my discover as much as I can. So after 60 days I can request a CLI 3x. Thank you all.
Frequent Contributor

Re: Please Teach me what I need to know about Amex.

Just like any other cards, use it and pay it. Don't ever be late and you'll get a CLI down the road.
Ymmv ~ Cheers!

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Moderator

Re: Please Teach me what I need to know about Amex.


Kriz1 wrote:
Just got my BCE on the mail yesterday and still unopened, my first Amex and wanna learn more before I activate the card. (I am dying to open it tho) but I will use this and my discover as much as I can. So after 60 days I can request a CLI 3x. Thank you all.

Absolutely no reason not to activate it.  Your time period to meet the spend requirement started when you were approved.  Activation means very little and it is already considered an open and active card by American Express.  In all honesty the time to learn about the card was before you applied for it not afterwards but now that you have the card, activate it and start using the card.

Super Contributor

Re: Please Teach me what I need to know about Amex.

Here's my take on Amex.

 

1.  Still my favorite Issuer.  No logic here, just like them better than others period.  Chase is a close second, like them tons too.  Everyone else is tied for third.

 

2.  For cash rewards, they aren't the best.  If you don't travel or find travel benefits and their partner transfers of value, you can find better value elsewhere.

 

3.  Prestige doesn't matter these days, but for some (such as myself) Amex has cards that are easily best in class and irreplaceable.  Won't go into all the reasons why, since they've been rehased so many times, but for a business person, the best in class NPSL itself is worth it.  Sometimes, you just need to charge $100K+ and don't have time to deal with static limits and its inherent limitations.  I won't even go into the efficacy of MR and SPG rewards value.  Suffice it to say, if you value travel rewards, Amex and Chase are without peer.  Cash, just go with 2% Visa/MC/whatever and 5% rotating and call it a day.  See Themanwhocan's spreadsheet.

 

4.  In my view, Amex is the best lender when you use thier products "as intended."  No FRs, no declines, no over the limit fees, and high CLs and immense spending power with uncapped rewards.  For larger spenders, Amex is ideal given their spend-centric business model.

 

5.  With their higher end cards, no foreign reps period.

 

6.  Best when dealing with Merchant chargebacks, warranty claims and accidental protection.  Only exception is that Visa (say, JPM Ritz) is better on car rental claims (won't go into specifics here).

 

7.  Amex offers are easily good for about $150 - $200 per year.

 

Generally, those who prefer cashback will find Amex underwhelming, especially on their fee cards.  Conversely, those who spend a higher amount, need purchasing power beyond static limits, value travel benefits and travel rewards transfers will find Amex best in class.

 

 

Super Contributor

Re: Please Teach me what I need to know about Amex.


Iwantafabulousfico wrote:

I am wondering if you fine folks are willing to give an American Express newbie some overall tips about joining the family. This is a very exciting and important relationship to me. Just wanting to learn what I can.

Main things I'm looking for are--

What is a normal/average SL for BCP? $1,000 or $2,000 if it's your first AMEX. Once you have a card with them for a few months, the next cards can have much better SL. But because of the 3X CLI, it doesn't matter what the starting AMEX CL is. In time, you can grow it like no other CC.

 

What might cause adverse action? It's unlikely. AA with AMEX is through a Financial Review, where they want more details to get comfortable you can pay your bill.

 

Are they good with balance transfers meaning it wouldn't scare them i.e. Barclay? They should be, but I could not figure out how to get it to work, and I've done dozens of BT with all the other banks, so good luck.

 

Do they like to see a lot of spend monthly and big chunks knocked off or do they like small transactions & multiple payments? Yes. They like you to pay your bill, carry a balance, pay in full, whatever floats your boat. Just don't ever miss that minimum payment on time. All banks get snippy when you do that.

 

If I paid my rent would that scare them being a new customer seeing a transaction that's over $1,000? Good luck finding a method to pay your rent or mortgage using an AMEX. MC/VISA usually no problem. If you can use the AMEX, should not be an issue. Suggest strongly that the $1,000+ be paid in full after the statement cuts, before that payment due date.

I know there's a huge thread about the 3x credit line increase but it's a couple of years old. I have read a lot of it but the main question is should I try right away, or should I wait 61 days? Obviously I know it's different for everybody but what is more likely to get the increase, and not scare them? It depends on your profile. Denial means waiting 91 days, so why not wait the 61 to improve your initial chances?

I read somewhere that you can only get an increase every 180 days, is that correct? After one AMEX Revolver gets a requested CLI, all your AMEX Revolvers wait 180 days. The first CLI request does not have to wait 180 days from card opening.

Is carrying a balance not a big deal? I have carried balances on two AMEX revolvers, starting to carry a small balance on SPG. Minimum Payment only would begin to get their attention. Otherwise, big payments to put it on a 12-month pace? no big deal.

Are increases done online, or should I call? Also can you get CLI via chat? Specific "Request A CLI" link in your online account. Use that when the time is right.

Do they randomly shut people down often, or is that highly unlikely? Regular people doing legitimate spend? No. Situations where they think your credit use is raising questions? Yes. Financial Review is possible.

How long for card to usually come in the mail, and do you know if I can see my credit line before it arrives? When you app on line, they can give you a portion of your CL and a temporary account number to use for online purchases. Instapprovals do see the starting limit online.

Thank you all so much! This is a great start. :-)


 

High Bal Jan 2009 $116k on $146k limits 80% Util.
Oct 2014 $46k on $127k 36% util EQ 722 TU 727 EX 727 FICO Simulator 2014: $20k balances = 812 FICO.
March 2017 $20k on $300k 6% util EQ 824 TU 824 EX 815

5 / 24 counting down to 1 Nov 2017... wait I guess it's 18 Dec 2017 to get 4/24