AMEX hierarchy

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Mike, Apr 17, 2001.

  1. Mike

    Mike Well-Known Member

    Based on what I read on this board and from the AMEX website I came up with this hierarchy of popular AMEX cards:

    1.Centurion Card (Black Card, not in my lifetime)

    2.AMEX Platinum (100k income, may get this eventually)

    3.AMEX Gold, Blue, Optima Platinum, Platinum cash rebate (20k income, higher requirements)

    4.AMEX Optima Card (20k income)

    5.AMEX Green (15k income)

    Any comments?
  2. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

    1) Centurion Card

    - There are no income requirements for this card, but there are certain spending requirements. You must spend such, and such an amount, on specific sectors (i.e., travel, airfare, hotel, etc.)...

    - Willingness to pay $1,000/year memebership fee

    - The average Centurion account spends at $2,862/month, vs. Green at $100/month, and Platinum at $621/month.

    - The top 4,000 Platinum Card accounts have 2.8 times higher average spending than the average spending of the Centurion base.

    - So in other words, unless you are a heavy traveller, you will not benefit from the use of this card..

    2) AMEX Platinum

    - No income requirements that I know about..

    - I had my Gold card for 7 months, and asked for a Platinum, and recieved it?


    3) Amex Gold

    - Another great card!!


    4) Amex Green

    - When you obtain employment, try to obtain this card, and work your way up, until you find the one you want..


    5) Amex Optima Platinum

    - 8.9% APR for the life of a balance transfer.. This beats any debt consolidation loan you will obtain. The trick is to transfer your balance, and not use the card..

    These are my "opinions"...
  3. Mike

    Mike Well-Known Member

    Chris, you're right that there are no income requirements for the Platinum, but this only applies if you already have another AMEX account. There are minimum income requirements for most of their cards.
  4. Jason-AMEX

    Jason-AMEX Guest

    Chris and Mike,

    Not sure where you got the idea that there are no income requirements for the Platinum and the Centurion cards. If the Personal (15K) and the Gold (20K) have income requirements, then why not the Centurion and the Platinum as well?

    Also, the numbers on average spending for Centurion, Personal, and Platinum cardmembesr is way off!!! Where did you get that info?
  5. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

    Here you are, straight from Al Kelly from the American Express web site:

    "As you move up the charge card product hierarchy, the average spend increases, as illustrated by this chart. I have indexed the average spend for a personal card account to 100. Comparatively, the average Gold Card account spends 169, the average Gold Rewards Plus account spends 383, and the average Platinum Card account spends 621."


    "Looking at same index I showed a few minutes ago, you see that the average Centurion account spends at 2,862, vs. Personal at 100, and Platinum at 621."
  6. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member


    I had the Gold Charge for less than 7 months, and called to apply for a Platinum. I was told since I was already an Amex customer, and had an account, in good standing for more than 6 months, the $100k income/asset verification would be waived..

    I was approved over the phone!?
  7. Jason-AMEX

    Jason-AMEX Guest

    So, did you get the platinum? How long ago was this? The platinum no longer requires 100K income--that was only when it was by invitation only.

    Chris, thanks for the data. I would like to point out that the data was "indexed" to make the presentation easier--these are not absolute fixed ratios, but rather subjective--notice that he NEVER says DOLLARS, but the astrik show that it is indexed. Thus, the personal at 100 shows that gold spends, on average 69% more than personal, and so forth. Let me provide some info to help clarify this. I work in consumer retention, and the CM spend profiles that I review show that the average personal CM spends around $7,000 a year. Thus, that would make the average gold card spend around $11,830 a year, RPG at $19,810, and platinum at $36,470, and Centurion at $193,340.

    This would make more sense because I reivew the average spend and dollar revenue that each card profile makes for AMEX, and if the interpretation of 100 was absolute, my numbers would be way off!! Sorry, but I cannot share that data over the new, but let me say that platinum card members would have to spend well over $621 a year to generate the revenue that I see that they truly generate. It is quite funny to actually believe that the average Centurion CM would spend less than 3K a year. I quote from Al: "These Centurion Cardmembers, on average, spend much more than Platinum Cardmembers, who are heavy spenders themselves." We cannot really believe that a "heavy spender" spends around $2,862 a year! Thus, we must understand the 2862 in reference to 631 on platinum to be a ratio for simplification-not dollar amount. If the average spending on AMEX cards really was this low, AMEX would be out of business. Notice how when he compares the top 4,000 platinum spend to centurion, the centurion is indexed at 100--this a subjective ratio, not absolute. This goes to show that the previous index on the different card products is not absolute.
  8. the other

    the other Well-Known Member

    I thought Chris's numbers were per month?
  9. dogman

    dogman Well-Known Member

    Really Fascinating Info

    Guys - really interesting information - I enjoyed and received both explanations with interest.

    What amuses me is how they integrate the new Green CM
    who spends and pays perfectly at Gold to Platinum level.
    (Or for that matter, the new PLat CM who spends at Centurion
    levels the first year.) It would be interesting to be an AMEX Product Manager.

    Thanks for your typical help in helping people understand
    AMEX, Jason.

    Whats SO Fascinating is that AMEX has indeed created the ULTIMATE BLAck Card mystique - without ever advertising it.

    Diners Club/Carte Blanche is only $300 annual fee so
    its a cheap throw at AMEX Platinum.

    c ya Dog
  10. Jason-AMEX

    Jason-AMEX Guest

    Re: Really Fascinating Info

    Even if it is by month, that still does not add up. It is illogical to think that the average Centurion CM spends around 34K a year (2862 X 12). Also, this interpetation would put the average personal spend at $1,200, not the $7,000 that I get on my reports.

    Remember, in Al's talk, he never mentioned a dollar amount or by month, this is an annual report, and all other charts (card attirtion, acquisition, fess, etc.) that he uses use "indexes" for simplification. What I am trying to say is that in my department we segment CMs by their spending, and I can tell you that such an interpretation is wholley inadequate. Al has no such implication. Al' talk can be confusing if the context is not fully understood.

    Dogman, you are right about the Centurion card and the popularity of it without and ad (although someone on this board claims to have seen an ad for it, but I find that hard to believe since they have never advertised the platinum card or the gold card--only the personal on tv
  11. cable666

    cable666 Well-Known Member

    Re: Really Fascinating Info

    About every 6 months or so Amex sends me an invitation to upgrade my Gold to Platunum. The offer has no questions about income. I just sign and go.

    However, I have not upgraded because I fail to see the benefit to me for the extra cost. When I compare the benefits I receive with my Corp. Gold versus Platinum, the Platinum only offers two extra things, neither of which I need.

    (1) Rescue insurance. Supposedly they will send a chopper up to pluck you off the South Pole or K2 if you get stuck. I guess they *really* don't want you dying on them :)

    (2) Reserve tickets to high-brow events that I would never attend in cities I never go to (part of their conceriege service). The biggest "social event" I've ever done with a client is meet them at Chili's for lunch once.

    In summary, unless you live in NYC or Boston and wheel and deal with the upper crust, then paying the extra fee for Platinum is not worth it.
  12. Mike

    Mike Well-Known Member

    Re: Really Fascinating Info

    Is it harder to get the Rewards Plus Gold than the regular Gold card or do they have similar requirements?
  13. Jason-AMEX

    Jason-AMEX Guest

    Re: Really Fascinating Info

    They are the sa me.

    Cable666...sounds like you are talking about the gold card with gold card events and rescure insurance--the things you list are not unique to platinum--they are on gold as well. what about the free companion ticket, cruise upgrade, car rental upgrades, fine hotels and dining? I live in utah and the card is of value to me (and nothing BIG happens out here!)
  14. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    Re: Jason AMEX


    I'm sure that Al used the indexes not only for simplification, but primarily to avoid revealing proprietary information. If the indexes were intended to simplify the information, then why did they create so much confusion on this board?
  15. RichGuy

    RichGuy Guest

    Re: Dogman AMEX


    Is the Diners Club Carte Blanche a cheap throw at AmEx Platinum, or at the AmEx Centurion card? If Carte Blanche has a $300 annual fee, then that makes it identical in price to AmEx Platinum.
  16. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

    Re: Dogman AMEX


    You are a guru!! You are right, there is no mention of a dollar amount... Al is quite "hush hush" about it...

    So why does Al say:

    "In fact, the top 4,000 Platinum Card accounts have 2.8 times higher average spend than the average spend of the Centurion base."

    Wouldn't it make sense for these plat customers to be upgraded?

    Yeah, I have the plat.. When I had applied for it a year ago I remember the the rep asked me to fax income verification to her (i.e., tax return, w-2, etc.).. This was quite interesting..
  17. Jason-AMEX

    Jason-AMEX Guest

    Re: Dogman AMEX


    That is cool that you got the platinum. I just got it last month. What do you think so far?

    Yes, it might make sense for the top 4,000 platinum spenders to upgrade to Centurion, but maybe they either like their platinum card (some people are very loyal to actual plastic), see no need to pay $1,000 for the annual fee, see no need for the extra benefits, or are just satisfied with what they have. Some people are just like that.

    Hey, I would upgrade though if I made that kind of money. See ya around

    RICHGUY: Although the Diners Club card has the same annual fee as the AMEX platinum, it does not even come close to being its equal. Check out and compare it with even close!!!!!! Not only are the benefits lacking, but acceptance as well. So, you are actually paying for less.
  18. dogman

    dogman Well-Known Member

    RICH Guy - AMEX Super BLACK

    I think its a cheap attempt at Platinum.
    There is nothing out there that offers BLACK Status.

    Everyone knows it costs $1000 annual fee - and everyone knows that if they opened their mailbox (at the fabulous palacial estate in Aspen) with an invitiation, they would call AMEX or send it instantly.

    I wonder in 5 years what the BLACK Card will offer in a deluxe Super Card with a $2500 annual fee.

    However, there is no bother with interest rates, and of course, no pre set spending limit. :)
  19. GEORGE

    GEORGE Well-Known Member

    Re: RICH Guy - AMEX Super BLAC


    $100,000 minimum credit line.

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