Underwhelmed by AmEx

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TXviking
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Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby TXviking » Fri May 05, 2017 12:35 pm

I have an old AmEx BlueSky account that is at this point basically a sock drawer card. It goes back to 1997, so I don't want to cancel it, but I was looking to PC to something more useful – but not another AF card.

Looking through AmEx's web site, I literally see zero products that actually appeal to me. Perhaps a #1stworldproblem, but does anyone else feel like AmEx is falling behind in the no-AF category? (Or for that matter even in the AF category, where the Platinum with its prohibitive $550 fee compares unfavorably to, say, CSR.)


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kcm7
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby kcm7 » Fri May 05, 2017 3:31 pm

TXviking wrote:I have an old AmEx BlueSky account that is at this point basically a sock drawer card. It goes back to 1997, so I don't want to cancel it, but I was looking to PC to something more useful – but not another AF card.

Looking through AmEx's web site, I literally see zero products that actually appeal to me. Perhaps a #1stworldproblem, but does anyone else feel like AmEx is falling behind in the no-AF category? (Or for that matter even in the AF category, where the Platinum with its prohibitive $550 fee compares unfavorably to, say, CSR.)


I don't think I'm underwhelmed, per se, as much as none of AmEx's products really fit into my current strategy and spending. I actually like the ED and BCE cards for a no-AF card, but I already have a card for groceries. I'd even consider the BCP if I had a much higher grocery spend.
Cards:

-Capital One Quicksilver
-Barclaycard Arrival (no AF)
- US Bank (no rewards)
-IHG

Tubpbs
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby Tubpbs » Fri May 05, 2017 5:36 pm

kcm7 wrote:
TXviking wrote:I have an old AmEx BlueSky account that is at this point basically a sock drawer card. It goes back to 1997, so I don't want to cancel it, but I was looking to PC to something more useful – but not another AF card.

Looking through AmEx's web site, I literally see zero products that actually appeal to me. Perhaps a #1stworldproblem, but does anyone else feel like AmEx is falling behind in the no-AF category? (Or for that matter even in the AF category, where the Platinum with its prohibitive $550 fee compares unfavorably to, say, CSR.)


I don't think I'm underwhelmed, per se, as much as none of AmEx's products really fit into my current strategy and spending. I actually like the ED and BCE cards for a no-AF card, but I already have a card for groceries. I'd even consider the BCP if I had a much higher grocery spend.


I agree with both of you.

I consistently look for another Amex revolver, but can't ever find one that's anywhere near worth it for me. But that's mostly because the categories overlap so much with what I already have and the added earn, if any, wouldn't matter to me.
Amex - BCP, Platinum, Business Gold
BoA - BankAmericard Cash Rewards
Chase - Freedom, CSP, RC, Ink Plus
Citi - DC, Prestige
Discover - It

mountaindewvoltage
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby mountaindewvoltage » Sat May 06, 2017 11:27 pm

TXviking wrote:I have an old AmEx BlueSky account that is at this point basically a sock drawer card. It goes back to 1997, so I don't want to cancel it, but I was looking to PC to something more useful – but not another AF card.

Looking through AmEx's web site, I literally see zero products that actually appeal to me. Perhaps a #1stworldproblem, but does anyone else feel like AmEx is falling behind in the no-AF category? (Or for that matter even in the AF category, where the Platinum with its prohibitive $550 fee compares unfavorably to, say, CSR.)


AMEX's company roots are in the business of cards with annual fees.

If you're getting an AMEX and trying to avoid an annual fee, you'll always be treated as a secondary customer, and that includes the rewards programs that come with your cards. AMEX doesn't make their no AF cards rewarding because they want you to pay an annual fee. Their $95/year cards are better than everyone else's mid-range cards out there.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun May 07, 2017 5:04 am

mountaindewvoltage wrote:
TXviking wrote:I have an old AmEx BlueSky account that is at this point basically a sock drawer card. It goes back to 1997, so I don't want to cancel it, but I was looking to PC to something more useful – but not another AF card.

Looking through AmEx's web site, I literally see zero products that actually appeal to me. Perhaps a #1stworldproblem, but does anyone else feel like AmEx is falling behind in the no-AF category? (Or for that matter even in the AF category, where the Platinum with its prohibitive $550 fee compares unfavorably to, say, CSR.)


AMEX's company roots are in the business of cards with annual fees.

If you're getting an AMEX and trying to avoid an annual fee, you'll always be treated as a secondary customer, and that includes the rewards programs that come with your cards. AMEX doesn't make their no AF cards rewarding because they want you to pay an annual fee. Their $95/year cards are better than everyone else's mid-range cards out there.

The $95 Amex cards are popular but quite varied. Which competing "mid-range" cards are you comparing them to?

The no-AF options are definitely a lesser consideration than AF cards, but I'd say that with AF and no-AF cards, rewards are usually a lesser focus than perks. The exceptions would be PRG/EDP/BCP and Platinum for very big airfare spenders.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card

mountaindewvoltage
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby mountaindewvoltage » Sun May 07, 2017 4:59 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:
mountaindewvoltage wrote:
TXviking wrote:I have an old AmEx BlueSky account that is at this point basically a sock drawer card. It goes back to 1997, so I don't want to cancel it, but I was looking to PC to something more useful – but not another AF card.

Looking through AmEx's web site, I literally see zero products that actually appeal to me. Perhaps a #1stworldproblem, but does anyone else feel like AmEx is falling behind in the no-AF category? (Or for that matter even in the AF category, where the Platinum with its prohibitive $550 fee compares unfavorably to, say, CSR.)


AMEX's company roots are in the business of cards with annual fees.

If you're getting an AMEX and trying to avoid an annual fee, you'll always be treated as a secondary customer, and that includes the rewards programs that come with your cards. AMEX doesn't make their no AF cards rewarding because they want you to pay an annual fee. Their $95/year cards are better than everyone else's mid-range cards out there.

The $95 Amex cards are popular but quite varied. Which competing "mid-range" cards are you comparing them to?

The no-AF options are definitely a lesser consideration than AF cards, but I'd say that with AF and no-AF cards, rewards are usually a lesser focus than perks. The exceptions would be PRG/EDP/BCP and Platinum for very big airfare spenders.


If you compare the Everyday Preferred to the Sapphire Preferred, I think the EDP is better for the $95 annual fee.

I just think the rewards system is weak on the CSP. Only 2x on dining, and 1 point on everything else. If you use it for travel of course, 2.50x and 1.25x.

Sure it's secondary rental car coverage, and it has a foreign transaction fee, but there are other benefits that are more beneficial on the Everyday Preferred than what the CSP offers. For starters 4.5 points on grocery store purchases, 3 points on gas stations purchases, and 1.5 points on all other purchases -- there's also a better transfer program because it has more partners. Chase doesn't have Hilton, Jet Blue, or Delta. I guess a Chase UR card is good if you fly foreign with British Airways, Air France (which the average person doesn't do, ever), or wants to stay at a top of the line hotel.

The Starwood Preferred Guest card has a $95 annual fee and its points can be transferred to partners like Amtrak and numerous airline partners if you don't want to use the points with them. I was reading how 1 SPG point = 2.9 cents when transferred to Amtrak, and of course everyone knows how valuable each SPG point is when used at Starwood or other partners... Definitely better than the CSP.

There also isn't a Chase card that offers 6% back on groceries and 3% on gas on one card (Blue Cash Preferred).

I think AMEX beats the snot out of Chase with $95 cards, while Chase beats the snot out of AMEX with their premium cards and no annual fee cards.

I would say the Citi ThankYou Premier is a better card than what Chase offers to compete against them.

TXviking
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby TXviking » Sun May 07, 2017 11:32 pm

The EP may be a better deal for you, but it's not a better deal for me. No FTF and primary CDW actually matter to me. Being able to use the card abroad also matters to me, and AmEx is far from universally accepted abroad, or even domestically. I get 4% on fuel through my Costco Citibank card (even at non-Costco gas stations,) so 3% on gas station purchases doesn't look all that hot anymore. Grocery store purchases is appealing, but not enough to justify *another* AF.

I won't be replacing my CSP (or my CSR) with an AmEx anytime soon. I may combine the two. But I already have an AmEx without an AF, and because it has no AF it's fine to keep it as a sock drawer card.

I fully get that benefits and perks will be less for a no-AF card, but I still wish AmEx would throw me a bone here. If they don't, the alternative isn't to cave and get an AF card that mostly duplicates benefits I already get elsewhere. Nor is it to cancel the card. It'll just wind up sitting in the sock drawer, just like it has been.

mountaindewvoltage
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby mountaindewvoltage » Mon May 08, 2017 12:01 am

TXviking wrote:The EP may be a better deal for you, but it's not a better deal for me. No FTF and primary CDW actually matter to me. Being able to use the card abroad also matters to me, and AmEx is far from universally accepted abroad, or even domestically. I get 4% on fuel through my Costco Citibank card (even at non-Costco gas stations,) so 3% on gas station purchases doesn't look all that hot anymore. Grocery store purchases is appealing, but not enough to justify *another* AF.

I won't be replacing my CSP (or my CSR) with an AmEx anytime soon. I may combine the two. But I already have an AmEx without an AF, and because it has no AF it's fine to keep it as a sock drawer card.

I fully get that benefits and perks will be less for a no-AF card, but I still wish AmEx would throw me a bone here. If they don't, the alternative isn't to cave and get an AF card that mostly duplicates benefits I already get elsewhere. Nor is it to cancel the card. It'll just wind up sitting in the sock drawer, just like it has been.


If foreign transactions matter to you, you shouldn't be carrying an AMEX anyways because of obvious acceptance issues, indeed.

Points to transfer to airline partners > cash back because most of the time the points are worth more than $0.01 each. I don't seem to have much of an issue with AMEX acceptance unless you're talking about small businesses, which about 50% of that business population takes AMEX while the rest don't. My local Subway doesn't take AMEX, but if I feel like buying a sub with that card, Wegmans has better subs anyways and accepts it.

TXviking
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby TXviking » Mon May 08, 2017 12:17 am

mountaindewvoltage wrote:If foreign transactions matter to you, you shouldn't be carrying an AMEX anyways because of obvious acceptance issues, indeed.

Points to transfer to airline partners > cash back because most of the time the points are worth more than $0.01 each. I don't seem to have much of an issue with AMEX acceptance unless you're talking about small businesses, which about 50% of that business population takes AMEX while the rest don't. My local Subway doesn't take AMEX, but if I feel like buying a sub with that card, Wegmans has better subs anyways and accepts it.


...and that is exactly why the CSR/CSP combination works better for me. Not to mention their UR points also transfer to airline partners, plus that 1.5% boost when booking travel through their portal. Not sure where "cash back" entered into this discussion.

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Underwhelmed by AmEx

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon May 08, 2017 3:40 am

Keep in mind transfer ratios and point values. MR has a lot of foreign airlines with unattractive award charts (or at least ones that get little praise). I suspect many Amex customers would happily lose several of them as partners if they could get 1:1 Hyatt transfers like Chase has.

EDP and CSP are very different and aren't going to appeal to the same people. Soccer moms and traveling consultants don't have the same needs.
Warranties and sketchy merchants: Schwab Platinum
Price rewind: Costco
Travel insurance: Prestige, CSP
Perks: IHG, Hyatt
Rewards/Offers: Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE
Taxes/Misc: SPG

Limited value, might close: Arrival

Might add: First Tech, proper business card



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