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AmEx Platinum marketing: sexist, stupid, or something else?

AmEx Platinum marketing: sexist, stupid, or something else?

Old Jan 2, 17, 6:34 pm
  #1  
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AmEx Platinum marketing: sexist, stupid, or something else?

I've been interested in the Platinum card for a couple of years now. I travel for work, so I was initially interested in the lounges and travel credit. Recently the 5x points on airfare piqued my interest, given that I spend over $50k on airfare annually.

Over the past two years my husband has been offered the Platinum card three times with a 100k point bonus. During that same period I have only been offered a 50k bonus. I've told them I'm waiting to be offered the same bonus as my husband. Our credit ratings are the same, and most of our cards are joint accounts. My salary is also around twice that of my husband.

I've got no idea why AmEx is more interested in my husband's business than mine. His spending is quite limited. He does not travel for work. The benefits of the card are of no use to him, and his spending wouldn't make much money for AmEx. If he were to get the card he would almost certainly cancel it after a year.

I, on the other hand, spend well over $100k on travel each year. I travel frequently. I would be a valuable customer, and I would find the card useful enough to hold onto it after the initial year. The fact that I have (and heavily use) both the Chase United Club Card and the Sapphire Reserve, and that I have kept the Club Card for many years, should tell them that I am the kind of customer they are seeking. If I were to get the Platinum AmEx, there is a good chance I would cancel one of the two expensive Chase cards, assuming I found the benefits of the Platinum card worthwhile.

What could be driving this stupidity? Happily for me, I'm liking the CSR, so I'm not in a huge rush to get the AmEx, but you would think that they might want to compete for my business.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 7:11 pm
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Do you have any other Amex card you didn't mention? Does your husband? Amex is known to offer 100k Platinum offers to people with no current Amex cards.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 7:12 pm
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Sexist? Really?

Perhaps to AMEX you're travel is already high and you're not who they are targeting for these promos.

I'm sure there are more variables.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 7:16 pm
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Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
Do you have any other Amex card you didn't mention? Does your husband? Amex is known to offer 100k Platinum offers to people with no current Amex cards.
We both have the Delta cobranded card, and I am also an authorized user on my employer's account (it's a Business cashback card).

Thank you for the information. I guess that could be the difference. Their loss, really.

Last edited by lexdevil; Jan 2, 17 at 7:23 pm
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Old Jan 2, 17, 7:20 pm
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Originally Posted by KENNECTED View Post
Sexist? Really?

Perhaps to AMEX you're travel is already high and you're not who they are targeting for these promos.

I'm sure there are more variables.
Sexist was only one of many possibilities. Stupid is more likely. Even if the rationale is that I already have two AmEx cards, they end up losing the opportunity to sell me a more expensive product. Every time my husband receives that 100k mailing, it makes me less likely to get the Platinum card. Who knows, I may be passing up something great, but it's pretty unsurprising that I would feel slighted and develop negative feelings about the product. This is one reason that Chase is winning the cardholder acquisition war.

And you would think the fact that my travel (and concomitant travel spend) is high is exactly why they would want me to use their card. They get a cut of all purchases made. That means they want users who spend a lot.

Last edited by lexdevil; Jan 2, 17 at 7:35 pm
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:11 pm
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Interesting to contemplate. One thing I'll note is that you know you put a lot of travel spending on several Chase premium cards, but I don't think AMEX would know that. Does your spending on the Delta co-branded AMEX or on the company AMEX account authorized user card give AMEX a good sense that you're a large spender?
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:25 pm
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dude it's just algorithm. algorithm can be faulty. it is not know all see all thing. how you can label that as sexist is beyond me.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:30 pm
  #8  
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Ms mia receives much better offers from American Express than I, but some of them are for a card that she currently holds . I take this to mean that their marketing algorithms are flawed. I don't see evidence of gender bias.

You could easily obtain a 100,000 point for the Business Platinum card by looking for a referral offer in this thread:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...e-posting.html

The features of the business and personal cards have diverged a bit recently. The business version does not include 5X on airfare, but instead awards 1.5 points per dollar on individual transactions over $5,000 and has a more attractive Pay with Points redemption feature discussed here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...demptions.html

Last edited by mia; Jan 3, 17 at 6:49 am
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by runb4fun View Post
dude it's just algorithm. algorithm can be faulty. it is not know all see all thing. how you can label that as sexist is beyond me.
Originally Posted by mia View Post
Ms mia receives much better offers from American Express than I, but some of them are for a card that she currently holds . I take this mean that their marketing algorithms are flawed. I don't see evidence of gender bias.

You could easily obtain a 100,000 point for the the Business Platinum card by looking for a referral offer in this thread:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...e-posting.html

The features of the business and personal cards have diverged a bit recently. The business version does not include 5X on airfare, but instead awards 1.5 points per dollar on individual transactions over $5,000 and has a more attractive Pay with Points redemption feature discussed here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...demptions.html
100% agree.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:41 pm
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Originally Posted by runb4fun View Post
dude it's just algorithm. algorithm can be faulty. it is not know all see all thing. how you can label that as sexist is beyond me.
Not a dude, but yes, algorithms can be sexist (and racist). Sometimes by accident, sometimes because of faulty assumptions made by their creators.

Check out Weapons of Math Destruction.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
Ms mia receives much better offers from American Express than I, but some of them are for a card that she currently holds . I take this mean that their marketing algorithms are flawed. I don't see evidence of gender bias.

You could easily obtain a 100,000 point for the Business Platinum card by looking for a referral offer in this thread:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...e-posting.html

The features of the business and personal cards have diverged a bit recently. The business version does not include 5X on airfare, but instead awards 1.5 points per dollar on individual transactions over $5,000 and has a more attractive Pay with Points redemption feature discussed here:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/ameri...demptions.html
The business card is, at first blush, of less interest to me than the personal card. With $50k+ in airfare spend each year, there's not a lot that can compete with the 5x points.

I am, however, glad to hear that the algorithm favors some women, even if I'm still pretty sure it's stupid.
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Old Jan 2, 17, 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by pshuang View Post
Interesting to contemplate. One thing I'll note is that you know you put a lot of travel spending on several Chase premium cards, but I don't think AMEX would know that. Does your spending on the Delta co-branded AMEX or on the company AMEX account authorized user card give AMEX a good sense that you're a large spender?
I don't use the Delta for much beyond getting free bags when I fly Delta. The work card gets a lot more action, but significantly less than it did before I moved most of my travel spend to Chase. I used to consistently spend over $100k on that card each year.

You would think that AmEx might wonder why they have lost that spend. Heck, it wouldn't be a terrible idea for them to flag accounts that have seen a significant drop in use and query the cardholders about the reason. Airlines and hotel chains definitely reach out to customers they think they are losing to ask them what they can do to win them back.

Last edited by lexdevil; Jan 3, 17 at 1:02 am
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Old Jan 3, 17, 3:32 am
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It sounds like you don't know how credit really works.

Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
Our credit ratings are the same, and most of our cards are joint accounts.
No credit rating is the same, even everything you have is jointly owned. At the minimum, AAoA and/or age of the oldest account vary (unless you are married with your husband before you establish credit).

Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
My salary is also around twice that of my husband.
Your salary may be a factor for credit applications. But it is not a factor for a prescreened offer.

Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
I've got no idea why AmEx is more interested in my husband's business than mine. His spending is quite limited. He does not travel for work. The benefits of the card are of no use to him, and his spending wouldn't make much money for AmEx. If he were to get the card he would almost certainly cancel it after a year.
You misunderstand an important concept - the person who uses a card the most does not mean he/she generates much revenue. Instead, issuers profit from those who generate fees and interests.

Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
I, on the other hand, spend well over $100k on travel each year. I travel frequently. I would be a valuable customer, and I would find the card useful enough to hold onto it after the initial year.
How does AMEX know in this case?

Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
The fact that I have (and heavily use) both the Chase United Club Card and the Sapphire Reserve, and that I have kept the Club Card for many years, should tell them that I am the kind of customer they are seeking.
A recipient of your credit file does not know what kind of accounts you have.

Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
If I were to get the Platinum AmEx, there is a good chance I would cancel one of the two expensive Chase cards, assuming I found the benefits of the Platinum card worthwhile.
How does AMEX know?

Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
What could be driving this stupidity? Happily for me, I'm liking the CSR, so I'm not in a huge rush to get the AmEx, but you would think that they might want to compete for my business.
Sorry to say, but I would have to say you are the one, as you have overthought the situation.

It is costly to lurk customers for new cards, which even Chase admitted that publicly. That's why AMEX is holding off the 100K offer to those who have the most potential.

Your thought, in summary, is basically criticizing AMEX not to extend the 100K offer to you. But you seem ignoring the purpose of a prescreened offer - lurking potential customers - those who don't use credit often - to have the card. And your heavy usage with Chase in fact contradicts such purpose. In fact, even in the case of existing customers, issuers tend to have better promotional offers (i.e. bonus points, BT, rate reduction, etc.) to those who don't use the card often rather than those who regularly use the card.

Bottom line - simply because you believe you deserve the 100K offer does not mean AMEX has to agree with you.
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Old Jan 3, 17, 4:20 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
It sounds like you don't know how credit really works.
Oh dear, where to begin...

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
No credit rating is the same, even everything you have is jointly owned. At the minimum, AAoA and/or age of the oldest account vary (unless you are married with your husband before you establish credit).
What I meant by this is that when I check our credit ratings, they are always within a few points of each other. This makes sense, given that we have been married for 32 years, own most things jointly, and share most of our credit accounts. I think our joint checking account predates our marriage by two years, but, yes pretty much all of our credit was established together after we married. Our average age of account and age of oldest account really are the same.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Your salary may be a factor for credit applications. But it is not a factor for a prescreened offer.
I merely offer this information as one more data point to explain why I should be a more desirable customer than my husband.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
You misunderstand an important concept - the person who uses a card the most does not mean he/she generates much revenue. Instead, issuers profit from those who generate fees and interests.
I guess that you are unaware that card issuers also generate profit from merchant fees, which are based on consumer spend. In fact AmEx is notorious among store and restaurant owners for charging some of the highest processing fees around. That's the reason why many businesses choose not to take AmEx. Its fees are about 50% higher than what Visa and MasterCard collect.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
How does AMEX know in this case?
A recipient of your credit file does not know what kind of accounts you have.
How does AMEX know?
Clearly they don't know. And their algorithm is serving them poorly.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Sorry to say, but I would have to say you are the one, as you have overthought the situation.
I am the one what? I think you just tried to call me stupid, but sort of missed. As an FYI, while it may be considered a bit sassy to call marketing or an algorithm stupid, it is usually considered rude to call a person stupid.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
It is costly to lurk customers for new cards, which even Chase admitted that publicly. That's why AMEX is holding off the 100K offer to those who have the most potential.
It is costly to LURE customers. This is why it would serve AmEx to LURE me, rather than my husband. I will use the card, and AmEx will take 3.5% in merchant fees on most transactions. My husband would pocket the bonus, throw the card in a drawer for a year, and then cancel it.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Your thought, in summary, is basically criticizing AMEX not to extend the 100K offer to you. But you seem ignoring the purpose of a prescreened offer - lurking potential customers - those who don't use credit often - to have the card. And your heavy usage with Chase in fact contradicts such purpose. In fact, even in the case of existing customers, issuers tend to have better promotional offers (i.e. bonus points, BT, rate reduction, etc.) to those who don't use the card often rather than those who regularly use the card.
A person who does not use credit often will not be profitable for the card issuer. They will generate no merchant fees, interest, or penalties. They are not worth lurking (sic).

Also, your argument that AmEx cannot know how much I spend on other cards should apply equally here. If you are correct that his low spending makes my husband attractive to AmEx, how can they know how little my husband spends (if, as you say, they can't know how much I spend)? It's the same principle.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Bottom line - simply because you believe you deserve the 100K offer does not mean AMEX has to agree with you.
There, finally, we agree. Clearly they don't have to offer me the 100k bonus. And I don't have to get their card. It may be my loss, but I expect it's theirs. My credit is good, I spend a lot, I tend to keep my cards for a long time (unlike a lot of churners on this and other boards).

Last edited by lexdevil; Jan 3, 17 at 4:46 am
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Old Jan 3, 17, 7:10 am
  #15  
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Originally Posted by lexdevil View Post
... AmEx will take 3.5% in merchant fees on most transactions.
This is obsolete. American Express discloses their average discount rate, and it's below 2.5%. It's difficult to compare American Express to MasterCard and VISA because the bank cards charge a fixed fee per transaction, in addition to a percentage.

The average discount rate was 2.47 percent and 2.45 percent for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, respectively, and 2.46 percent and 2.48 percent for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015, respectively. The increase for the three-month period reflects the absence of Costco merchant volumes in the current year, which were at a lower discount rate than the average. The decrease for the nine-month period was driven primarily by a prior-year benefit related to certain merchant rebate accruals, growth of the OptBlue program and merchant negotiations, including those resulting from the recent European regulatory changes, partially offset by the benefit to the discount rate from the decline in Costco merchant volumes in the current period. We expect the average discount rate will likely decline over time due to further expansion of OptBlue, overall changes in the mix of spending by location and industry, merchant incentives and concessions, volume related pricing discounts, strategic investments, certain pricing initiatives, competition, pricing regulation (including regulation of competitors’ interchange rates) and other factors.
http://www.snl.com/Cache/c36385998.html

Last edited by mia; Jan 3, 17 at 8:27 am
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