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New developments in the credit card wars

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#1 Rail Paul

Rail Paul

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 03:23 AM

Barron's has an article this week about the increasing offers coming from the skirmish between JP Morgan and American Express. Both have gained market share from struggling Bank of America and Citigroup, and seem ready to fight some more.

The co-branded Ritz Carlton card is paired with one of the best airline cards anywhere. The $395 United card offers access to United and Continental lounges world wide, a big benefit if you're flying to or from Newark. Waived bag fees up to $120 per flight help, too. As does the chip which can be read in Europe. AmEx offers access to airline lounges world wide, but not to United. The Euro chip is available on a separate $95 Chase Select card. An end to foreign exchange fees on the Morgan card ups the ante, as AmEx keeps the generous spreads from the currency conversion for its lesser cards.

AmEx has waived the forex fees on its premium cards, but not on the lesser cards. It ups the ante by waiving the cost of the US Global Entry program.

Ultimately, the article concludes, AmEx's consistently high service levels will determine its success. Lousy service has doomed several formerly major players, but JPM seems determined to beat the odds. (In my experience, Bank of America has terrible service, and has lost a lot of credibility with many holders.)
“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”
Niccolò Machiavelli