American Express ranks highest in customer satisfaction in this year’s J.D. Power study

Aug 19, 2021

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J.D. Power’s 2021 Credit Card Satisfaction Study reveals this year’s improvements and pain points across the credit card industry, as another year of the pandemic, presents ongoing challenges for issuers and consumers alike. Although the national average has declined since 2020, American Express comes out on top for overall consumer satisfaction among big-name issuers for the second year in a row.

Amex ‘s member services may be unbeatable. (Photo by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images For American Express)

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The survey takes six factors into account, including communication, benefits and services, rewards, credit card terms, key moments, and interaction. The scores are tallied up and places each issuer on a 1,000-point scale. This year, the national average was 805 (down a few points from 811 in J.D. Power’s 2020 survey).

However, American Express remains relentless — scoring an 838 (again), well above the national average.

Related: How card issuers measured up in J.D. Power’s 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction survey

Let’s take a quick dive into the survey results and see who the winners and losers of this year were.

In This Post

American Express reigns supreme again

American Express has received the number one ranking for 11 of the 15 years since this survey was first introduced.

It’s no surprise to us that American Express is (once again) the top national issuer in this year’s survey. At TPG, we’ve written about various instances of how Amex has stepped up to meet consumer’s ever-changing demands.

There are always useful Amex Offers to choose from — as travel has picked back up again, the issuer continues to add useful hotel, shopping and lifestyle discounts to help consumers save. Earlier in 2021, Amex also added temporary monthly dining statement credits on select cobranded cards to help consumers justify the annual fee.

With that in mind, these are a few of the themes we’ve seen from Amex as we reflect on the past year:

  • Cardholder events: While many issuers have cut back on their cardholder events, American Express never stopped. This year, the issuer announced the full integration of Resy into the all-new Global Dining Access program. Looking forward, cardholders of the American Express® Gold Card can attend pop-up diners in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York. There’s even a floating restaurant on New York’s East River in mid-September, exclusive for cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express. These in-person activations are just a few of the examples of when American Express continues to innovate and excite.
  • Mobile application improvements: The Amex app is one of the best (if not the best) mobile apps offered by any issuer. Thanks to its user-friendly design, American Express continued to improve customer experience this year by adding Dark Mode, digital receipts, Send & Split, and much more.
  • Small business campaign: Out of all the players in the pandemic, small businesses felt some of the greatest economic pressures. In response, American Express launched a global “Shop Small” campaign in 2020 and into 2021. Additionally, new cardholders of the Amex Platinum can earn a whopping 10 points per dollar by shopping at small businesses (also at restaurants) in the first six months of card membership (up to $25,000 in combined purchases), on top of its already generous welcome bonus.
Pop-up dining experiences for Amex Gold cardholders coming in September 2021. (Photo courtesy of Resy)

These benefits and experiences have elevated the lineup of American Express cards as the best lifestyle and travel cards on the market.

Where the other issuers stand

Discover took a close second (837) place among the national issuers and Capital One took third place (815). American Express, Discover and Capital One are the only issuers who took home scores above the national rankings.

(Photo courtesy of J.D. Power)

Overall decreases in scores can largely be attributed to issuers reducing credit limits and consumer-unfriendly changes in rewards programs related to devaluations.

Interestingly, this year’s survey is that overall satisfaction in mid-size issuers has declined greatly — with one exception. Goldman Sachs, the issuer of the Apple Card, ranked highest among midsize issuers, receiving a terrific score of 864. Meanwhile, other mid-size issuers struggled to keep up with changing consumer demands, with scores declining by 17 from last year’s survey.

(Photo by J.D. Power)

Bottom line

American Express is the winner among national credit card issuers, scoring 29 points above the national average of 807 points in this year’s J.D. Power survey.

“On behalf of all our colleagues, we are honored to earn the top spot among national issuers in the J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study for the second year in a row,” said Stephen J. Squeri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express. “This recognition reflects the tremendous work of our colleagues and their commitment to delivering the highest levels of customer satisfaction. We have the best customers in the world, and we thank them for placing their trust in us every day and for recognizing what makes being with American Express so special.”

Featured photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto for Getty Images.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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