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American Express is unique among card issuers in that it offers two fundamentally different types of cards: credit cards and charge cards. Credit cards are similar to what we are all used to: Card members have a credit limit and will incur interest if the balance isn’t paid in full at the end of each monthly cycle. Meanwhile, charge cards don’t have a pre-set spending limit, but card members are required to pay the balance in full every month.
Amex’s problem with charge cards is that the issuer can’t earn interest on unpaid balances. So, in order to make charge cards act a little more like credit cards, Amex allows card members to elect to “Pay Over Time.” Upon enrolling, charge card members will be able to carry a balance — but will have to pay significant interest in order to do so.
To get card members to enroll in this program, Amex is offering targeted card members 10,000 bonus Membership Rewards points for enrolling. At current TPG valuations, 10,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $200 — making this a lucrative sign-on offer.
When you enroll, you’ll get a confirmation email with your Pay Over Time limit and interest rate. For my enrolled accounts, the Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”) is determined by adding the Prime Rate plus 14.99%. That’d make the rate 20.49% based on today’s prime rate.
It’s important to note that you don’t actually have to use the program in order to get the bonus. Remember, the first and most important of TPG‘s Ten Commandments for Travel Rewards Credit Cards is “thou shalt pay thy balance in full.” Any points that you’re going to get on these cards are never worth the interest you’d have to pay to get it.
If you want to see if you’re targeted for this promotion, here are some ways to check:
- Check your email for emails from American Express with subjects like “Congratulations, [name]! You’ve Been Selected to Enroll in a Flexible Payment Option;” “You Qualify for a Flexible Payment Option” or “Congratulations, Card Member. You’ve Been Selected to Enroll in a Flexible Payment Option on Your Card”
- Check your physical mail for a mailer from American Express
- Check one or more of these links compiled and shared by Doctor of Credit: Link 1; Link 2; Link 3; Link 4; Link 5; Link 6
If you’re not targeted, you’ll get a message that no cards are eligible to enroll at this time:
Or, if you’ve already enrolled that card, you’ll get the following message:
Again, as TPG recommends never carrying a balance — particularly on a travel rewards card that has a high interest rate — it’s not worth enrolling in Pay Over Time unless you’re getting a bonus for doing so.
Some examples of Amex charge cards that might be eligible to enroll in Pay Over Time are:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card and the prior Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
- Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
- Business Gold Rewards Card (legacy product, no longer open to new applications)
An American Express spokesperson confirmed that the American Express® Business Gold Card isn’t eligible for the Pay Over Time bonus as Pay Over Time is an embedded benefit on the card. Also, the spokesperson confirmed that The Plum Card® from American Express isn’t being targeted at this time.
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WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees