COMPLETELY AGREE with drkaje! I have a green and was trying to move utilization from other cards STRICTLY to Amex (so that I could begin SD other cards and keeping balances low [to about 5%]). ALWAYS paid in full (not that I have a choice), and they FR'd me. Balance was less than $2K. Was VERY frustrated. The fact that ANYTHING could trigger it and that they could suspend the card at any time REALLY sent me over the edge. I thought your good credit was supposed to safeguard you from this sort of thing. So, now THEY have been sockdrawered. That's something I can't deal with. I'm glad I was home and check my accounts daily. I would have been HIGHLY upset had I been away out of the country and this happened to me. I may never use it again and am not really seeing the point in paying for a membership that creates paranoia and not provide the security it claims to. I will use the other cards for daily, simple things (gas, groceries, movie tickets), but that's about it. Not feeling too "exclusive" with their card in my wallet anymore and it certainly discouraged me from wanting to upgrade to ANYTHING ELSE with them.
Different lenders look for different types of customers.
American Express was traditionally meant for business travelers, heavy users of airlines, hotels, and restaurants. They have definitely branched out, especially with the Zync card, which IMO is meant to get young consumers into the fold and check them out. (Sort of a "get 'em early" approach.)
Nothing surprising about not being able to get in with them at age 20 and presumably not a whole lot of income yet. They'll be there when the time comes. In the meantime, if you have to have an AmEx for some reason, go with the Zync.
My partner just spoke with a co-worker who's daughter works for AMEX and she said that they basically see the charge card side of the house meant for big ticket purchases and high-volume travelers. The rewards system works really for those who charge quite a bit in LARGE AMOUNTS of money CONSERVATIVELY. In other words, if you charge large purchases once every two months, they won't bother you (with the exception of within the first 3-6 months of usage). The issue that I have with it is that if I DON'T use the card as much, when I DO decide to make a major purchase (maybe overseas), my charging priveleges could be suspended and I could be stuck (not that I would never carry a back-up card anyway), but it's just the point that my membership with them may leave me in a worse position than I was in originally if I rely on that card for travel. AMERICAN EXPRESS: Membership has its rewards...AND its consequences. LOL
I really can't quite figure AMEX out. Less than a year ago, with a sad credit score, I was excited to see a preapproval from them for the Gold charge card. Being in that giddy state, I applied.. Somehow, I was approved, but I have barely used the card, except for a few meals out and a subscription to Credit Secure.
So, I end up joining a Costco last week, and they asked if I'd like to apply for their cobranded American Express card. I figured, "What the heck, why not?" After nervously waiting, the representative says most people have to wait for a decision in the mail, but sometimes it can be instant. At this point, I'm fairly certain I'd be declined, considering I haven't seen anything in the preapproval box on their online account center, and considering the decline for another revolving card a year before. After a few minutes, the cashier hands me a temporary card and says it was approved. Not only that, they gave me a limit matching my previous high with Navy Federal, which is $4500 higher than Citi and $7500 higher than BoA had given.
This all comes after reading about how they watch spending, and my thinking I would be on the naughty list for using their card so sparingly.
So, there doesn't really seem to be any logic to the way AMEX thinks.
I liked the spending discipline required with the Gold versus a credit card, that's about it.
Making the time to worry about which vendors, spending habits, or other wild rumors like shrink offices setting off a FR isn't going to happen.
I will probably buy a house next year. The only reason I'd get an Amex is because the backdating would improve average age of accounts. Even then, it's cash I need not more credit.
I honestly get more value and use from the B&N membership at $30/Yr than I did from all but one occasion in the 7 years I was an Amex member. I booked a hotel through SPG and it wasn't correct, their rep didn't stop working until it was right. My vacation would have been ruined had the hotel been booked with any other card service because there was a huge convention in town and most of the rooms were gone. I only got one because the hotel was in their network. If a job, pay change, winning the lottery or something else happens that necessitates a travel service I'd definitely get an Amex... but I would not travel without a backup, LOL!