Amex Gets Aggressive With New Card Deals
By: Staff

By Brian O’Connell
Ask around and you’ll generally find that any conversation concerning credit card rewards or deals hasn’t really included American Express (Stock Quote: AXP).

Until now, that is.

Recognizing the everyday consumer’s needs in the so-called “Great Recession”, American Express (Amex) is rolling out several new customer-friendly features to its card rewards program.

For example, take the announcement from Amex last month that its Membership Rewards card members can earn double points on gasoline and grocery purchases, up to $1,000 in spending on such items each month.

In a sign of the times, Amex is offering a nod toward struggling consumers who the card giant figures could use a break on family budget needs like gas and groceries. When times were flush, Amex focused its rewards program more on plush consumer spending items like big-ticket video games or dinners at high-end restaurants.

Amex is also make a big splash in a new alliance with retail warehouse giant Costco (Stock Quote: COST). The two companies have rolled out a TrueEarnings Card that is two cards in one: an Amex credit card and a Costco membership.

When card members use the card at Costco stores, they can get 1% to 3% cash back on store purchases (usually at a cash back rate of 1%) and up-to 3% cash back on items like gasoline and dining at restaurants. By and large, rewards are kicked back to customers in the form of coupons for Costco goods or cash paid out directly to customers.

The TrueEarnings Card is offered to both individual and corporate customers, with the latter getting added cash back deals when they use the card for things like FedEx (Stock Quote: FDX) shipments or from staying at a Hyatt Hotel.

There are no annual fees
for the Amex/Costco card, as long as your Costco membership is paid in full. Cardholders will see an 0.0% APR for the first 90 days, then 13.99% going forward.

A few potential red flags include the possibility for higher monthly rates for a full year if your credit score suffers. There’s also the fact that rebates and rewards have an expiration and must be used by the date listed on the card, otherwise the cardholder forfeits anything that is earned.

With Amex coming out swinging this spring, look for more card reward deals to follow suit.

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