American Express is a CardRatings.com advertiser.
For decades, the American Express Gold Cards have represented financial responsibility and social status. As a charge card, you've got to ensure that you pay down your balance at the end of every statement cycle. And, a few years ago, AmEx started offering a few versions of the iconic Gold Card to ensure more Americans could enjoy the company's purchasing and travel benefits.
Even though they're no "pre-set," spending limits do exist on American Express charge cards. A high FICO score can help you qualify for the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, though your spending habits will tell you more than your credit history about which card may be better in your wallet. You can justify an annual fee if you travel on company business more than a few times per year.
American Express, unlike other credit card issuers, figures out on the fly whether to approve your purchases. Some of the factors AmEx may use to process a charge include:
- your annual income,
- your payment history with the card,
- any routine spending habits involving company travel or entertainment expenses,
- your loyalty to specific merchants or purchasing categories.
If your card purchases fall too far outside any of these broad patterns, you'll likely receive a "referral" message at checkout, asking you or your vendor to verify your identity and to explain how you expect to pay for your purchase at the end of your statement cycle. Long-time American Express card members recommend calling the phone number on the back of your card before you make an unusual purchase, to ensure your card doesn't get declined.