American Express Travel Rewards: Which Card Is Best?

American Express forum. Talk about AmEx credit cards like Blue, Gold, Platinum, Centurion, and more.
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tigerhunt2011
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American Express Travel Rewards: Which Card Is Best?

Postby tigerhunt2011 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:48 pm

So here's the deal. My eventual goal? An American Express Centurion Card. I love traveling, I travel a LOT and I will be fully prepared to pay the annual fee for Centurion to get all the rewards and benefits that come with it.

I'm 18...
(try not to laugh ;)

I have had a Checking account with Bank of America for two years, of which I have also had an Alaska Airlines Debit Card attached. I have not over-drafted but maybe once (over a year ago).

On my 18th birthday in January, I applied for AMEX Green and Zync and was declined for both. Basically I've applied for an American Express card every month, asked them to do a review of my file, etc. No luck.

My father is an American Express Business Platinum member, but refuses to make me an Authorized User > :( .

I decided to take things into my own hands and see what I can possibly get by myself at Bank of America, seeing as I already have a relationship with them. WELL, two weeks ago I was finally able to be accepted for a "Secured" Alaska Airlines card from Bank of America. I'm confused as to whether it's secured because it took a $99 deposit from my Checking, but my limit is $500.

Question: I have the income and ability to pay off the secured card in full, whenever. Should I pay it weekly to show my ability to pay and increase my potential for CLI? AND should I pay it weekly to have it post to my credit score?


My goal is to have a credit score good enough for AMEX Zync or Green, and I can earn my way up (in spending and payments) from there to a card with better travel rewards.

I have also finally convinced my parents to make me an authorized user on a NEW AMEX card so I may FICO piggyback off of their credit. I am wanting my mom to do so on an AMEX because I want a relation with them as well as the rewards.

I am wanting to fly to Italy for spring break next year. Let's assume the "Premium Rewards" cards are out of the question.

For air travel rewards (presumably on Delta), which is best?
(annual fee not an issue)

  • Delta Reserve
  • Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Delta Platinum?
Say my mother applies for the Delta Reserve (she has excellent credit, and makes me an authorized user. how long does it take for the FICO to affect my credit positively? And after mine is great, how long should I wait before applying for my own AMEX not tied to her?

Thanks for reading my novel :)

John B
AMEX Business Platinum AU-NPSL-07/11
AMEX PRG-NPSL-07/11
AMEX BCE-$2000-07/11
AMEX MB Platinum-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz Gold Rewards-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz DL SkyMiles Gold-04/13-->07/11
BofA Alaska Airlines Visa Classic-$2500-06/11
Barclays US Airways Platinum Mastercard-$1500-04/13
Chase Sapphire Preferred-$5,000-08/13
Citi AA Select AMEX-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Visa-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Platinum Select Visa Signature-$5000-08/13
Citi AA Platinum Select World Mastercard-$2500-04/13
Citi Business AA World Mastercard-$1000-08/13
Citi ThankYou Preferred-$2000-04/13
Express-$650-01/12
GECRB Paypal Mastercard-$3500-04/13


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Postby Money card » Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:20 pm

I enjoyed your novel John B.
First of all unless you work for the same company your Dad does he can't add you as an authorized user of his card because that's a company card. My dad back in the 80's had a green corporate card and a personal Gold. My mom had no american express till about 10 years ago. I shared his Gold and American express gave me a card but changed the last 4 numbers on the account.

back in 1987 somewhere around there, at the Mall at Macy's I picked up a green card application and I got denied so don't feel bad to be honest with you. I must have been turned down about 5 times for green, 2 times for golds and a gold optima. I just go approved oct 2010.

If your Mom has a gold rewards premiere she can add you, but she will get the bill for all of her charges and your charges. It's not a company card like your Dads.

Do you travel on business or are you looking for a card to bring to Italy?
You realize the reserve is a 450$ card correct?

My friend has a starwood preferred he uses his card all the time. I would pick the Delta platinum over the reserve it's about 300 dollars less that's just me. I believe the second time I applied for an American express card was a couple years later. why not wait a couple years, your only 18.
I was 21 when I first applied.

tigerhunt2011
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Postby tigerhunt2011 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:52 pm

Thank you for your response. As far as my father's card, he is the president and CEO of my now-deceased grandfather's LLC company, as my grandfather was an artist. I've consulted American Express and apparently he can add me as one in that situation (I'm an Authorized Account Manager because I book all of our travel on his card).

The Business Platinum is the only Credit Card my parents have, then they have the B of A debit cards (crazy, i know, but they both have excellent credit. I'm aware and ready to pay the $450 for the Reserve card for the Miles, Concierge, early events, etc. So basically my mom would be applying for the Delta Reserve just to make me an authorized user until I can get my own card.

And I travel for pleasure so not only do I want the travel rewards and luxuries (SkyClub access, MQM mileage, etc) but also the benefits (International Insurance Coverage, No Foreign Transaction Fees, etc)
AMEX Business Platinum AU-NPSL-07/11
AMEX PRG-NPSL-07/11
AMEX BCE-$2000-07/11
AMEX MB Platinum-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz Gold Rewards-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz DL SkyMiles Gold-04/13-->07/11
BofA Alaska Airlines Visa Classic-$2500-06/11
Barclays US Airways Platinum Mastercard-$1500-04/13
Chase Sapphire Preferred-$5,000-08/13
Citi AA Select AMEX-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Visa-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Platinum Select Visa Signature-$5000-08/13
Citi AA Platinum Select World Mastercard-$2500-04/13
Citi Business AA World Mastercard-$1000-08/13
Citi ThankYou Preferred-$2000-04/13
Express-$650-01/12
GECRB Paypal Mastercard-$3500-04/13

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Postby Money card » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:48 pm

so what are your plans? are you going to apply for the Delta reserve, are you going to try for the Zync? if your Mom gets a delta reserve are you going to ask her to add you as an authorized user? what are your plans?

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Pete838
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Postby Pete838 » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:33 am

If I'm not mistaken the Delta Reserve will cost you the $450 (for Mom's card) PLUS $175 for your additional cardholder fee. And I wouldn't count on the 'piggybacking' thing. If you are just an authorized user on her account you have no tributary financial responsibility.

Are you looking for a credit card, or a charge card? Just starting out you should probably be looking toward the Zync charge card to start your relationship with AMEX. It is a charge product targeted toward younger people. After 13 months (federal law) you can look to upgrade to a card with higher 'status' or open an additional account.

I'm 30 years old, have a household income around $75k, and after a few denials from AMEX on the Gold and Green cards, and improving my FICO, I was approved for a Zync. I average $2k a month in spend. After 6 months I applied for and was approved for a Gold Delta Amex ($2k limit), then 13 months after opening for my Zync account I applied for and was approved for a Platinum Amex and closed the Zync (no need to have 2 charge accounts). Recently my Gold Delta account was increased to $5k with a promise of another review in 6 months.

Amex is kind of tough to get your foot in the door, but once you do they will upgrade you if you pay your bills. But if you screw up they have a long memory.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Ronald Reagan

Meltdownblitz
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Postby Meltdownblitz » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:43 am

Pete838 wrote:If I'm not mistaken the Delta Reserve will cost you the $450 (for Mom's card) PLUS $175 for your additional cardholder fee. And I wouldn't count on the 'piggybacking' thing. If you are just an authorized user on her account you have no tributary financial responsibility.

Are you looking for a credit card, or a charge card? Just starting out you should probably be looking toward the Zync charge card to start your relationship with AMEX. It is a charge product targeted toward younger people. After 13 months (federal law) you can look to upgrade to a card with higher 'status' or open an additional account.

I'm 30 years old, have a household income around $75k, and after a few denials from AMEX on the Gold and Green cards, and improving my FICO, I was approved for a Zync. I average $2k a month in spend. After 6 months I applied for and was approved for a Gold Delta Amex ($2k limit), then 13 months after opening for my Zync account I applied for and was approved for a Platinum Amex and closed the Zync (no need to have 2 charge accounts). Recently my Gold Delta account was increased to $5k with a promise of another review in 6 months.

Amex is kind of tough to get your foot in the door, but once you do they will upgrade you if you pay your bills. But if you screw up they have a long memory.


Wow nice history with Amex, I'm hoping to follow the same if not similar foot steps of you in the upcoming months/years.

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:35 pm

If it is solely rewards you are after, the best American Express card will probably be the Starwood and this Starwood AmEx review explains why.
However if it's perks and red carpet treatment you are after, than the Gold/Platinum charge may be what you want. Here is CreditCardForum's current sponsored promo for the Premier Rewards Gold which as of today gives you more bonus points than the offer available right now directly through AmEx.

Either way, keep in mind you can convert points to miles on Delta with all of the aforementioned cards. If you are after Delta for the first bag free benefits and MQMs, here is a comparison of their cards: Delta SkyMiles credit card review and comparison
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

tigerhunt2011
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Postby tigerhunt2011 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:46 pm

thank you so so much for your information everyone.
I just got a 3-bureau report through Experian.com (paid $30) and I found out my credit score...after having a $500 limit Alaska Airlines Visa for one month and paying it off in full is...712!! Is it possible that is actually my credit score?

That being said, I'm ultimately looking for the red carpet treatment and rewards rewards rewards. Should I try applying for Gold with a score of 712 on all 3?
AMEX Business Platinum AU-NPSL-07/11
AMEX PRG-NPSL-07/11
AMEX BCE-$2000-07/11
AMEX MB Platinum-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz Gold Rewards-NPSL-08/13-->07/11
AMEX Biz DL SkyMiles Gold-04/13-->07/11
BofA Alaska Airlines Visa Classic-$2500-06/11
Barclays US Airways Platinum Mastercard-$1500-04/13
Chase Sapphire Preferred-$5,000-08/13
Citi AA Select AMEX-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Visa-$2000-01/13
Citi AA Platinum Select Visa Signature-$5000-08/13
Citi AA Platinum Select World Mastercard-$2500-04/13
Citi Business AA World Mastercard-$1000-08/13
Citi ThankYou Preferred-$2000-04/13
Express-$650-01/12
GECRB Paypal Mastercard-$3500-04/13

Meltdownblitz
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Postby Meltdownblitz » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:20 am

Hmm that a pretty good score... But It's Hard to say. Score is not the only thing considered in an approval process. Your history is a huge part of it as well, which doesn't seem like you have much of. For a gold Amex I'd say the least of history you'd need is 2 years with somewhere around 730 credit score should get you one. My brother got approved for one with those status and he's 20, but it does depend on a few other things as well such as payment history and UTL. So it's sort of a toss up for you, if you do apply don't be disappointed if you get denied, chances are you will.

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Pete838
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Postby Pete838 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:12 am

Meltdownblitz wrote:Hmm that a pretty good score... But It's Hard to say. Score is not the only thing considered in an approval process. Your history is a huge part of it as well, which doesn't seem like you have much of. For a gold Amex I'd say the least of history you'd need is 2 years with somewhere around 730 credit score should get you one. My brother got approved for one with those status and he's 20, but it does depend on a few other things as well such as payment history and UTL. So it's sort of a toss up for you, if you do apply don't be disappointed if you get denied, chances are you will.

Agreed. They are looking at credit history, account ages, income, and a lot of other things in your profile. Just having a good beacon score might not be enough.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Ronald Reagan



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