Home Credit Cards Amex Made Me Call Them And I Have No Idea Why

Amex Made Me Call Them And I Have No Idea Why

by SharonKurheg

Before I start this post, I need to clarify a few tidbits about myself:

  1. I have little to no interest in credit cards, frequent flyer miles or hotel points. I know, I know…to some of you that’s blasphemy. Sorry, not sorry. I mean, don’t get me wrong; I like it when we get to fly first or business class or stay in cooler or more swanky places. But I’m seriously just as happy at a Holiday Inn Express after sitting in a plane’s coach seat. So yeah, collecting points and miles is 100% Joe’s realm.
  2. I hate – HATE! – talking on the phone. The advent of email and text messages has been huge, wonderful things in my life and I will avoid talking on the phone as much as possible. As far as I’m concerned, there is little to be done on the phone that can’t be done via text, email or online chat.

So anyway, Joe signed me up for the Hilton Honors Surpass American Express. He begrudgingly accepts that I’m not into the whole points and miles thing, so he doesn’t even tell me when he does stuff like this. Suddenly, there will be a different credit card in my wallet and I know I’m supposed to use that one for everything. Something something sign up bonus or whatever. All good.

But for this card, for some reason or another, he got it in the mail and couldn’t activate it online; they wanted a phone call. Since the card was in my name, it meant Joe couldn’t do it on my behalf; I was going to have to talk to them.

Crap. Don’t they know I hate to talk on the phone?

My anxiety was already a little high; why did they want to talk to me? Would they ask me something that I don’t know the answer to? (obviously, I know my basic personal information but I have no idea if a particular card is for a personal account, or if it’s a business card, etc.)

So Joe gave me the card and, with a solemn promise to not be snarky, I called.

At first, I only had to punch numbers into my phone, such as the 16-digit card number and the 4-digit code. So far so good.

Then Jian came on the line. He confirmed my name (I corrected him on the pronunciation of our last name. He then proceeded to still say it wrong, but that’s par for the course with our last name anyway; a lot of people have problems with it) and I explained that I wanted to activate my new card because it wouldn’t let me do it online.

Jian proceeded to ask me to confirm the last 5 digits of my card, and the 4-digit code. He then thanked me and we were done.


Joe says to add this to his pile of those times when banks have made things unnecessarily difficult. Like this time. And this one. And this time, too.


Feature Photo: Pikerepo

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Gene October 15, 2020 - 4:03 pm

To record your voiceprint.

SharonKurheg October 15, 2020 - 4:12 pm

Could have been that, yes. Thank-you.

Gene October 15, 2020 - 6:49 pm

@ Sharon — So, how do you pronounce your last name? Like a certain brand of coffee pod?

SharonKurheg October 15, 2020 - 7:01 pm

Almost, but not quite. It’s pronounced SOO-doh-nihm 😉

Steve October 16, 2020 - 8:04 am


Jack Darby October 21, 2020 - 9:26 am

Likely it was simply part of American Express internal control procedures; randomly select a few cardholders and have them call in just to verify that they do indeed exist, applied for the card, and internal Amex procedures were followed in the application and issuing process.

Something along the lines of an IRS compliance audit – the IRS doesn’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with a selected taxpayer’s return, they are simply trying to gauge how well, from a random sample, how well all taxpayers are complying with filing requirements

As well, it’s kind of like how one can never, ever, stop a bank from mailing some BS piece of paper that means nothing to one’s home, even if one has repeatedly and with increasing nastiness, asked them them to send everything electronically. It’s a cheap way for the bank to externalize the cost and effort (to the USPS and to their customer) to verify that one lives at the address one has on record with the bank.

Jack Darby October 21, 2020 - 9:57 am

While I completely understand and share your desire to do everything electronically, sometimes that just isn’t possible and I’ve found my interactions with American Express customer support to always be top-notch and a pleasure

I needed to call Amex a few weeks ago to resolve a credit card application wrinkle and my CSR was well-trained, spoke great English, was empowered to solve my problem on the spot, did so quickly, and went above-and-beyond by expediting my new card overnight

Not so much with Chase and Transunion, with whom I spent most of yesterday morning trying to resolve a wrinkle with an application for a Chase United Airlines credit card; while it’s always a pleasure get support based in the Philippines because I love listening to a Pinay speak English, they’re unfailingly polite, and have the patience of saints, they aren’t in the same league as Amex CSRs at being able to understand a problem and get it solved quickly. Not to mention very long wait times to be connected to a CSR

While I know you’re not a points-and-miles fangirl, during yesterday’s ordeal, I wished I was dealing with Amex, so much so that I was running through my mind the issues and merits of switching my alliance from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Amex Membership Rewards.

Count your lucky stars that you were dealing with Amex and not Chase


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