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AMEX Cards -- How widely accepted are they now?

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  • AMEX Cards -- How widely accepted are they now?

    Hey All,

    4th year medical student about to graduate this May and head off to residency. I have been listed on the account for my parents CC since I was ~20 (For emergency use), in an attempt to build up some credit through them, but have never had my own credit card. In hind-sight, I should have gotten one through medical school and put a lot of my purchases on that, since I knew I would have the student loan funds to pay for me (Books, food, gas, etc...), but that's in in past now.

    I am looking at signing up for my first credit card at the start of residency, and I've been looking at various CC deals. While my GF and I like to travel, I'm hesitant to sign up for a points/miles reward card given that I'm going into Orthopedics, and likely will not have a ton of time over the next 6 years for extravagant international travel -- I'd rather get cash back rewards. The two cards I'm between right now is the Citi Double Cash card, or the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred. I am leaning towards the AMEX, given that most of my expenses are groceries and gas, and the AMEX rewards you more for those. I also do a lot of my shopping through Amazon and believe that I could buy Amazon gift cards at grocery stores for the 6% return, and then use the gift cards for Amazon purchases. The only reason I am not pulling the trigger is because I have heard that AMEX is not as widely accepted as other CC's because they charge a higher % fee to retailers for their use. I am curious if anyone here has an AMEX and can comment on how often they find themselves having to use another CC, or debit card, because a place would not take their AMEX?

    Thanks for the advice!

  • #2


    I am curious if anyone here has an AMEX and can comment on how often they find themselves having to use another CC, or debit card, because a place would not take their AMEX?
    Click to expand...


    Not uncommon for us, for the reason you stated. Amex is too expensive, especially for small and/or cost-conscious businesses. I didn't check with the FO, but I don't believe we take it at our offices, either.

    Just watch the spending. When you are using a credit card to get the rewards, it is easy to buy things you don't need. And the internet makes it easy to find things you wouldn't have considered buying, too. I speak from personal experience.  ..but I never have to pay for Southwest tickets, either, and they are great for helping family out. I get free companion passes each year and anyone flying with me flies free. Can change to up to 3 ppl each year. Something to consider even if you won't be traveling much.
    Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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    • #3
      American Express is good for the user for the rebates you described.  It is definitely accepted at less places than Visa/MC.

      I find it amazing that you have gone through medical school and are just finding this out.

      Makes me feel really old.

      (And please don't think you will not be able to travel for the next six years.  That is wrong.)

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      • #4
        I got my first AMEX card last year for 2 reasons.

        One was the miles.  I was able to buy my wife's round trip ticket to a meeting in San Francisco with the miles, and the CME fund pays for mine.

        The 2nd reason is Costco.  Until April, they only take American Express.  After that, they will take Visa, which is what I usually use.  I will probably cancel the AMEX before renewal and annual fee before the 1 year mark.

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        • #5
          I also got the Amex for Costco.  Some places will not take it.  My dermatologist will not.  I accept it in my office.  I recently got a capital one cash back card.

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          • #6
            I'm not a miles guy or a frequent traveler

            I keep it simple :

            Amex fidelity card for 2% cash back on everything personal

            Citi double cash card for 2% cash back on everything business related (easier accounting come tax season)

            Amazon prime store card for 5% cash back on everything you buy via amazon (so you don't need to play the gift card game from supermarkets)

            Best of all, annual fee for all 3 is $0

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            • #7




              I’m not a miles guy or a frequent traveler

              I keep it simple :

              Amex fidelity card for 2% cash back on everything personal

              Citi double cash card for 2% cash back on everything business related (easier accounting come tax season)

              Amazon prime store card for 5% cash back on everything you buy via amazon (so you don’t need to play the gift card game from supermarkets)

              Best of all, annual fee for all 3 is $0
              Click to expand...


              Do you find that most places you shop take your AMEX? I'm debating if I should wait to see where I match and get an idea if the community I'll be living in takes AMEX (at grocery stores, gas stations, etc)... The 6% cash back on groceries and 2% on gas is pretty attractive -- especially if you can use the grocery store to purchase gift cards and/or pre-paid credit cards for other purchases. I'm definitely not someone who going to spend a lot of time churning credit cards or chasing deals, but that seems like it would be pretty ************************ easy to do (i.e: I need to buy a TV -- I'll buy a 500$ pre-paid credit card from the grocery store, 6% cash back, and then go to Best Buy to buy the TV... total extra time spent of about 2 minutes).

              With that said, I really don't want to have to have multiple different cards, and if AMEX is going to be a large enough hassle, I'll probably just go with the CITI. Just wanted to get other peoples opinions on how easy it is to use your AMEX on day to day purchases.

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              • #8
                Yes and no.

                In my current town which is a rather affluent suburban area with mostly chain stores, I've never had an issue with using my amex card

                In nyc where I did fellowship, it got rejected on a regular basis because of the higher costs to small businesses

                I find its best to carry one amex and one non amex particularly if the annual fee is low or zero

                The advantage of a true amex card (which the fidelity is not. The one you are looking at, the blue cash preferred, is) is it's outstanding support. They'll always side with you in the event of a vendor dispute and I find I always have more peace of mind plunking down large / expensive purchases on an amex for its extended warranty and coverage policies

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                • #9
                  Yeah, that's also attractive to me. My med-school computer is going to take a ************************ on me soon, and I'll likely have to buy something during residency to replace it. The extra year warranty is very attractive. I know most other cards have adopted this warranty, but from what I've reading it can be like pulling teeth to get them to actually accept your claim, where as AMEX is right on it.

                   

                  Also, that old Amazon 5% back card seems to be a dinosaur now. The card on Amazon's website is 3% back on Amazon, 2% on gas, restaurants and drug stores, 1% on everything else.

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                  • #10
                    Get two cards. I love my Amex. I have an old version of the blue cash that gives 5% for grocery, pharmacy, and gas w/o an annual fee. The 6% blue cash has an annual fee I believe. But it may make sense still to have that card. I buy a few thousand in amazon gift cards a year and did it to a lesser extent through med school and residency. It saves quite a bit and takes minimal effort, especially if you can combine it with fuel points. Then get an annual fee free visa or master card for everything else that can be used anywhere.

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                    • #11
                      Hmm I'm pretty sure the Amazon card is new as I just got it 6 months ago

                      It's the Amazon prime card offered via synchrony bank

                      Now that I think about it, you may need to be a prime member to get it to show up on the website

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                      • #12
                        You're also right about the warranty, amex tends to be very easy to deal with and claims can be submitted online unlike other companies

                        I believe their more premium offerings like the gold, platinum, delta reserve cards will even cover loss (so if you leave your brand new smartphone or iPad on the plane, you're entitled to coverage if it's within 90 days of purchase)

                        I don't lose things often enough to justify paying a $195 - $450 annual fee for those cards but if you can redeem some of the travel benefits off those cards, it's a nice additional perk

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                        • #13
                          No, they are not accepted at as many places.

                          Get it if it has incentives or rewards that you cant get for a better price elsewhere. I have several cards and they are all complimentary so I can rack up miles at greater than 2x rate on any purchase.

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                          • #14
                            Get both cards.  I use AMEX for groceries and gas (stand-alone, 3% back wont work at Sam's/Costco gas stations).  Then I use Double Cash back for everything else.

                             

                            I have been looking into getting a travel/points card, but I'm definitely not going to be churning, so not sure if it's going to be that much benefit.

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                            • #15




                               

                              Amazon prime store card for 5% cash back on everything you buy via amazon (so you don’t need to play the gift card game from supermarkets)

                               
                              Click to expand...


                              @asmallchild If you want an Amazon gift card, you can buy it from Amazon in either physical form (1 day shipping) or email.  No need to go to the grocery store.

                              If you want to play the Amazon rewards game, the best I found is with the Chase Freedom card.  From Oct-Dec, they offer 5% cash back any purchase with Amazon.  During that quarter, I use my Chase Freedom and load my gift card balance as much as I can afford to last me the entire year.  I also only shop through the Smile Amazon link to support my favorite charity.

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