History of American Express Cards
Since 1882, American Express has been doing business in the financial services market. They started off with money orders, then grew to travelers checks and later evolved to credit cards. Before going into the business of full-fledged credit, the company previously offered a gold and platinum card product that needed to be paid off in full each month. Today, American Express has over $149 billion dollars in assets and over 67, 000 employees in 130 countries worldwide.
Focus on Business Customers
While American Express credit cards are widely available to individuals, the company has a special focus on providing services to business customers. American Express business customers enjoy a wide variety of benefits, including discounts on office merchandise and business travel. The company offers a business platinum and gold card for businesses who have demonstrated their spending power and payment history. They have Business SkyMiles programs that give businesses more options for travel. American Express also recognizes the fact that many small and large businesses will need cards for employees, so they will gladly issue additional American Express cards in the names of authorized employees.
American Express has an extensive rewards program that has helped fuel its business. The rewards program is a points system that accumulates based on the cardholder's usage of the American Express card. When the user reaches a certain level, he or she is privy to a number of free privileges and gifts, such as travel, clothing and sports equipment. American Express reward points are determined based on both the spending and payment history of the cardholder. If the customer is seriously late with a scheduled payment, he will forfeit his American Express membership rewards.
American Express Black Cards
One of the most well-known products from American Express is the Black Card, also called the Centurion card. This card is designed for very wealthy customers; it is meant to give them the feeling that they are a member of a very exclusive club. American Express introduced this new card when it realized that many people already believed that there was an ultra-exclusive American Express card in existence for rich customers that no one except the rich knew about.
Sign of Prestige
Despite some issues within the company due to the 2008 financial crisis, American Express cards are still considered to be a sign of prestige. Both individual and business customers look to American Express for special incentives, privileges, and treatment that they are unable to find with certain other credit cards.