For 50 years, the “green card” of American Express has accompanied its users where they wanted to go.
Created in 1969, it gave travelers a sense of importance that exceeded that of traveler’s checks and was surrounded by a special aura. In recent times, however, it went to the background, displaced by the Gold and Platinum cards of American Express.
Now, the green card is being renewed to catch up, with a new look, more benefits for travelers and, of course, a higher annual rate.
The most radical change is that from now on you will not have to pay the entire balance at the end of the month and it will work more like a credit card, which gives the option to make monthly payments at the user’s discretion, although with a minimum amount. This is the coup de grace to a model that defined the image of American Express for years.
Analysts say it was time for this measure to be taken. While American Express does not say how many customers it has with the green card, analysts say it was losing popularity. The portals that evaluate the cards generally do not recommend the green card in its current form, because it has an annual fee and few benefits.
American Express Card turns 50
“The green card is something iconic. It was often the first card that our customers took with us and had a certain cachet. Now we want to modernize it, ”said Rachel Stocks, executive vice president of premium products and benefits, during an interview.
American Express estimates that its typical user is a relatively well-off person, who likes to travel, eat outside and go to shows. A green card user, however, will incur these activities less frequently than a Platinum one.
American Express would never describe the new green card as its basic and cheapest card, but it is what it is.
Initially, it was called the “ticket card” because its design resembled that of a dollar bill. But it has long been known as “the American Express,” launched a year before Boeing began selling its 747 models, at a time when the number of people traveling by plane increased significantly. Over time, the main business of American Express was that of traveler’s checks.
The image spread that the green card was something exclusive, aimed at entrepreneurs who traveled a lot. Emphasis was placed on the fact that not everyone was accepted. And it had an annual fee of six dollars, equivalent to about 40 today.
“Our card gives prestige and is mostly used for travel and for fun. Not to go shopping, ”American Express chief executive Howard Clark told shareholders in 1969.
That model was a success and the green card became a symbol that identified senior executives and people traveling the world.
“Those who had the card felt special,” said Kit Yarrow, a marketing and advertising professor at Golden Gate State University.
The green card will have a lot of history, but the Gold Card and the Platinum became the spoiled girls of American Express over the years.
This is because American Express faced more and more competition and has focused on offering more benefits to the most expensive cards, the Gold and the Platinum.
Green has been forgotten and has not offered new benefits since 2002.
The new card will have the number on the back and will work more like a credit card that allows payments to be deferred.
“Charge cards are somewhat obsolete,” said Matt Schulz, an analyst at CreditCards.com.
The annual rate of the new card will increase from 95 to 150 dollars.
Another 100 dollars will facilitate the passage through the airports. And $ 100 more will give access to the American Express lounge at the airports twice.
Report two days of failures in American Express system
From Friday afternoon and Saturday, American Express users report failures in the use of their cards, as well as in their purchases in dollars.
According to reports on Twitter, when making purchases in dollars and when converting to pesos, the American Express system has an error that drastically increases the amount of the operation.
“Are they charging me 1,772,462.39 pesos for a charge of 38.23 usd? I call and they don’t answer, finally in another number you tell me that it is a system error and they block my card. I demand a prompt response and clarification of what happened,” says one of the Complaints from American Express users on Twitter.
By contacting the firm’s customer service, operators recognize the fault and there is currently no estimate for it to be restored.