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American Express card colors

Independent tips for the professional at Leisure

November 2008

 

When the first "gold cards" came out, it heralded a new era of "prestige" credit, sort of a color-coding for your wealth.

But today the gold card is passé, and we see credit card companies like Amex coming out with new prestige colors like Black, Plum and platinum.  I just saw a TV commercial that said that a Amex platinum card will get you into the airlines club rooms at airports, a respite from the scum that inhabit airports these days.

As I recall, the mass-market original cards of the 1960's were Bank Americard and Master Charge (not counting the 1950's Diners Club card).  Back then, credit cards appears unsolicited in the mail, ready to use.  But not everybody got one, and any credit card was prestigious.  Back in 1970, only 16 percent of households held a credit card.

As more boomer became qualified for a credit card, ownership wasn't so special anymore, and the 1960's brought us the Amex "gold card", reserved for those with a 6-figure income (That would be over $300k in 2008 dollars).

By the year 200, two-thirds of American's had a credit card of some kind.

But American Express cards were always special.  With no limit, you could spend whatever you wanted, and because you were required to [pay the next month, there was no temptation to go into debt.

Back in the olden days, the Amex black card was reserved for zillionaires and you could spend millions of dollars with ease.  Today, Amex says that "Plum is the new black", and the plum card, which is reserved for business owners with multi-million dollar a year revenues, is the hot credit card color du jour.

  • Amex black - This is the card to have for the super-wealthy, offered by invitation only.  The black (Centurion card) has a $5,000 initiation fee and $2,500 in annual fees, but you can spend millions, no limit.
     

  • Amex blue card - No fee, cash back - You need to spend $6,500.01 or more to get the 5% back on everyday purchases such as gas and groceries. All other purchases would be at the 1.5% level. If you have not spent over that amount then you would get 1.0% on everyday purchases from $0-$6,500 and 0.5% on everything else.  Another benefit for businesses is that the Amex blue card has a spending limit, so you employees cannot go crazy on business trips.
     

  • Amex Platinum card - Has a $395 yearly fee and no spending limit, and has airline lounge access (but only for Northwest, Delta, and Continental), free companion tickets, consumer protection, and some hotel upgrade benefits.
     

  • Amex plumb card - This card is for business owners with multi-million dollar a year revenues.  Some say that the Plum card is slightly a step above the Green Business card from American Express, but not as prestigious as the Amex Gold card, which relies exclusively on income, not earnings.
     

  • Amex business gold card - These bonus points include: 5,000 welcoming points received when the first purchase is made; 5,000 points when you’ve made $20,000 in purchases using your card; 20,000 points for spending $50,000; and 10,000 points when you renew your card after one year.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Note: The opinions expressed on these pages are the sole opinion of Donald K. Burleson and do not reflect the opinions of Burleson Enterprises Inc. or any of its subsidiaries.

Suggestions?  We are always seeking new tips for the professional at leisure, and any suggestions would be most welcome.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback. 

Copyright © 1996 -  2010 by Donald K Burleson. All rights reserved.