American Express has been the prestigious credit card of choice for the past few decades and the American Express Optima Credit Card is no exception. For years, American Express was known as a charge card – which meant that any amount borrowed from the card needed to be paid in full at the end of the monthly billing period. Credit cards, which allowed a user to have a revolving balance month after month, was a fairly new concept for American Express when the Optima credit card came out in 1987. Currently, the American Express Optima Credit Card no longer accepts new applications unless they are being specifically offered to certain members and it might not come as a surprise in the near future if they are closed altogether and moved into newer, different cards.
Founded in 1850, American Express is best associated with offering traveler’s cheques, credit cards and the famous charge card. It’s a worldwide brand – considered in the top 20 of respected businesses throughout the globe. Through its long history, American Express has been best known as a card that only a select number of people could get – those with exceptional spending history and credit score. Over the years, some of the guidelines have relaxed in an effort to remain competitive, but American Express is still a card that many wish they could get. The American Express Optima Credit Card was one of the first out there that provided a range of perks for users, and many of the ideas have since integrated with countless other American Express credit cards.
With dozens of American Express credit cards out there, finding the right one that is suitable for spending habits and is offered based on credit worthiness can be a bit difficult. Depending on credit scores, some of the American Express cards aren’t offered to anyone with less than stellar credit ratings – which is another reason why American Express has long been considered the exclusive, prestigious card, since not everyone could get it.
One of the primary benefits of the American Express Optima Credit Card is that any cardholder who has it does not pay an annual fee to belong to the Membership Rewards Program. What makes this so special? Today, all of the cards that belong to this program require an annual fee – so anyone who has an American Express Optima Credit Card can count himself or herself lucky for reaping the rewards without paying the annual fee. Of course, if paying an annual fee is not ideal there are plenty of competitor credit cards through Visa and MasterCard that provide a range of rewards and benefits without an annual fee. Taking time to compare options and benefits is always an essential part of selecting the right credit card.
How the American Express Optima Credit Card Works
While there aren’t any new applications being accepted for the American Express Optima Credit Card, there are plenty of distinctions to make between the Optima credit card and other variations of American Express cards. The American Express Optima Credit Card has two different classes – platinum and regular. The regular class has no annual fees, but there are differences in what the regular and platinum cards offer, such as exclusive rewards and benefits.
The American Express Optima Credit Card also belongs to a Membership Rewards Program, which existing members can enjoy without paying the annual fee. This program is much like any other point rewards program, whereas any purchase made is eligible to earn points, which can then be redeemed for cash back, travel accommodations, gift cards or other merchandise. The cash back reward is often in the form of a statement credit, which might not have as equal value as the monetary amount with a gift card.
Where is the American Express Optima Credit Card Now?
Currently, very few American Express members still have the American Express Optima Credit Card – many users have moved on to better offerings within the financial institution, which offer more rewards and benefits than the Optima Card. Since the closing of applications in 2009, it is actually quite rare to find the American Express Optima Credit Card being used when there are so many other American Express options – and if could be just a few more years until all of the Optima cards are closed and converted to other American Express accounts.
Though no annual fee was certainly appealing to cardholders belonging to the Membership Rewards Program, there are some newer American Express credit cards that do require an annual fee, but provide the exceptional service and benefits best known with the financial institution. While some of the annual fees are steep, there are various credit and charge card options to compare when shopping around – such as the Platinum Card, which requires a $450 annual fee, but provides an extensive number of travel benefits and exclusive access to benefits around the world.
The Gold Card has a modest annual fee, while the Blue Sky and Blue Cash cards have options for no annual fee and provide a substantial number of benefits and rewards. The bottom line is the American Express Optima Credit Card is no longer available, but that does not mean that you can’t find an ideal American Express Credit Card that offers all the benefits and perks best known with the company. Compare a few options – especially those with an annual fee – to see if perhaps paying a nominal fee for some added benefits is worth it. When you want to feel like you have an exclusive credit card in your pocket, American Express has that reputation.
The American Express Optima Credit Card is one of the pioneers in the history of credit cards, so many of the same perks and benefits are still found in other credit cards within American Express. One of the only differences is having access to the Reward Program without needing to pay for it. Shop around and compare options that will best suit spending habits and budget.