Today we are going to compare American Express’s three Charge Cards the Green Card, Gold Card and a Platinum Card. So first of all what is a Charge Card?
Well, basically it is a Card that you can make purchases with like a Credit Card. But you have to pay off the balance in full each month. Because you pay the balance in full there’s no interest rate. If you do pay late you risk getting your account shut down although Amex does have some flexibility if you call up and talk to them directly.
What is Charge Card?
Well, I just want to let you know that when you go out and you get credit Cards is a big difference between a Credit Card and a Charge Card. A Credit Card is the American Express, Visa and Master Card that has a set spending limit. So you have a thousand dollar limit on the Credit Card. A charge Card allows you to use the Credit Card. It typically doesn’t report a credit limit! Even though they’re cut you off if you get too high. At the end of the month, you typically have to pay off the entire balance.
The reason why this distinction is important is that Charge Cards show up on your credit report. Without a set spending limit. Thus to the credit report, you always look like you’re maxed out on the Card. Because whatever balance you have is the spending limit that you have.
Whereas a Credit Card, you have a set spending limit and you’re using a percentage of that spending limit as reported to the credit bureaus. If you’re maxed out on your Cards or close to it and the credit report sees that. Then your score is going to decrease.
So if you have a choice you want to make sure you go and get a Credit Card rather than Charge Cards. Typically a Charge Card is the store Credit Cards Sears Macy’s Bloomingdales some type of American Express Card.
Whereas a Credit Card will be Discover Card, Visa, Master Card. It’s an important distinction not so much for your daily lives in your bill payment schedule. But more so because your credit report sees them differently. I hope this tip makes a difference in your quest for good credit you.
How to Choose the Right American Express Charge Card?
Now the feature of a Charge Card is that there is no preset spending limit. You are allowed to spend whatever you can reasonably pay off. This doesn’t mean you can go crazy they will still block your Card if you spend too much. I have heard that the spending limit is around three times your highest balance over a six month period. Although it is not explained this clearly on a nexus website.
But some people have found this aspect of Charge Cards frustrating since there is sometimes uncertainty over How much they can Charge the Card. However, you can call Amex ahead of time to tell them you will be making some big purchases or going through a period of heavy spending like a vacation.
If you wanted to buy a large item…
For example: Spend twenty thousand dollars on the new car. Then you may need to provide proof that you have the funds to pay it off such as a savings account statement.
But that might make sense for you if you want to earn a lot of American Express Membership Rewards points.
Anyway, let’s compare the three Cards so just as we start it’s probably obvious but I’ll say it anyway.
Amex Charge Card
The Green Card is the most basic the Gold is in the middle and the Platinum is the most prestigious. There is, of course, the Centurion above Platinum. But that’s invitation only and we won’t be comparing that today. Now all these Cards have annual fees since Amex won’t be making money off interest payments. They make their money on the annual fees and the merchant fees.
The small percentage they charge the seller when you buy things with your Card.
The Annual Fee for the Amex Charge Card
The annual fee for the Amex Green Charge Card is ninety-five dollars.
The Amex Gold Charge Card is 160 or 195 for the premiere rewards version. Both these are waived for the first year the annual fee.
For the Platinum is 450 and it’s not waived for the first year.
Travel benefits of Amex Charge Card
All three Cards give you car rental insurance roadside assistance baggage insurance access to Amex is global assist helpline.
The Gold Card throws in access to Amex’s hotel collection and their personalized travel service. Which is basically a phone number you can call a concierge. Who will help you make travel arrangements book hotels etc anywhere in the world?
To be honest though with the development of the internet for booking hotels and flights. Especially with smartphones and transport apps like Uber… That has global coverage this perk isn’t nearly as valuable as it would have been ten years ago.
Amex Gold Charge Card
The Gold Card also has no foreign transaction fees and the premiere rewards version gives you a one hundred dollar Airline fee credit.
Amex Platinum Charge Card
Now let’s look at the Platinum. This Card is really packed with travel perks.
Access to over 1,000 airport lounges including Amex is signature Centurion lounges.
Hilton and SPG Hotel gold status.
A $200 credit for airline fees such as checked bags etc.
A credit for Global Entry or TSA pre valued at $100.
Car Rental upgrades competitive rates at Amex is fine hotels and resorts collection.
A special Platinum Travel hotline and access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots.
Shopping benefits of Amex Charge Card
All three Cards include accident protection for items within the first 90 days after purchase with the cart.
This is limited to $1,000 per item and 50,000 dollars per year.
Return protection when a merchant won’t take an item back.
The Green Card limits this to US purchases only.
All three also give you access to Amex offers that you can store on your Card and use the discounts etc. But the Platinum Card again provides a lot more you get access to the Platinum concierge.
Who can help you book tickets for Broadway shows buy gifts even help you get reservations at restaurants that are already fully booked? Also good seats at sports games that may already be sold out.
They are basically there to help you with any request 24 hours a day. As a Platinum Cardholder, you also get access to special invitation-only events. Amex just signed Pharrell Williams on as an art director for the Platinum Card. This is one aspect of the Card service that he will most likely be working on.
Point Earning on Amex Charge Card
All these Cards and Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to multiple hotel and airline partners or use to book through Amex Travel.
The Green Charge Card earns one point per dollar on regular purchases and two points when booking travel through Amex.
The Gold Charge Card earns one point on everything. Two points on flights booked with Airlines and at US restaurants.
The premier rewards Gold earns slightly better three points on airfare purchased directly from Airlines. Two points at US gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets.
The Platinum Charge Card earns one point on everything. Five points per dollar when booking flights directly with Airlines or through Amex travel.
Signup bonuses for Amex Charge Card
The Green Charge Card offers no signup bonus. In fact, on the website, it just says start your journey with Green.
The Gold Charge Card only offers a public signup bonus for the premiere rewards version. The current public off twenty-five thousand points. But there have been targeted offers that are a lot higher.
The Platinum’s public signup bonus is forty thousand points at the moment.
I think about these three Cards well personally the only one I would be interested in is the Platinum Card. Both other Cards have competitors that offer arguably better value.
For example, it is debatable how much more tangible benefits the Green Card offers then even Amex is own everyday Credit Card. Especially considering the everyday Credit Card doesn’t have an annual fee.
The Gold Card has stiff competition from chases Sapphire Preferred. Which also offers great earning opportunities for transferable points at a ninety-five dollar annual fee quite a bit cheaper than the gold Card.
Only the Platinum Card offers a bundle of perks that aren’t really offered together by any other Card. I am of course talking about the Platinum’s travel benefits.
So that’s my recommendation stick with Credit Cards that are comparable to the Green and Gold. But when you do reach that higher level Platinum is worth considering. However for some people who don’t trust themselves with a Credit Card and want to be forced to pay each month. A Charge Card could be a good option.