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Wait, Why Do So Many Gen Zers Suddenly Have Amex Cards?

Growing up, an American Express card was seen as a status symbol for many Gen Zers. I remember thinking that Amex was the fancy credit card that I saw wealthier, older people use, not the card I would find in my own wallet. But lately, it seems like more and more young people are using Amex, to the point that it feels like a trend. Which begs the question: When did an Amex card become Gen Z’s hottest accessory?

American Express has historically not been an accessible credit card company for the average person. Their cards are not cheap; the highest level Platinum card has an almost $700 annual fee. These high prices had been enough to deter credit card users from Amex in the past, but it’s not the only factor: Historically, it’s also been difficult to use Amex cards at many locations. Businesses have to pay credit card companies a fee when they accept their cards, and providers like Visa and Mastercard charge between 1.15% and 2.5%, according to SmartAsset. Amex, in comparison, charges up to 3.3%, which is too high of a price for some businesses to pay , leading to many companies simply not accepting Amex as payment methods. 

Despite all this, in 2023, YPulse noted that 76% of new accounts for American Express’ Gold and Platinum cards were opened by Gen Zers and Millennials. 

So, Gen Zers are getting american express cards now. why?

It turns out, Amex didn’t need to sacrifice its reputation of being exclusive in order to attract younger people, the company just needed to modify some rewards to meet Gen Zers where we are.

Although the Gold and Platinum cards come with high annual fees, they also come with some pretty sweet rewards. According to Business Insider, Amex has added rewards to its cards that go beyond the standard flight and hotel points. Now, you can get rewards like ride credits on Uber or a free Disney+ subscription. These are unique perks that people might not find with other companies — they not only receive helpful benefits while cardholders are traveling, but also while they’re just living their normal lives.

Amex has added other rewards that cater to young people, too. Gen Z is known for valuing experiences over possessions, and an Amex card comes with benefits that allow them to have those experiences. For example, Amex has done partnerships with events that are popular to Gen Zers and Millennials, like Coachella — Coachella goers with Amex cards get access to complimentary services, exclusive merch, and passes to skip lines. Sounds like a good deal, no?

Should you apply for an Amex?

Reaching the younger generation is something that many credit card companies are trying, and it’s working — Gen Z is using credit cards much earlier than previous generations did, according to Bankrate. But unfortunately, that means they are also building up higher loads of debt earlier on, especially when they fail to make their monthly payments. Most Gen Zers have only been old enough to use credit cards for a short time (you have to be at least 18 to get one), so time will tell if this pattern continues as more of them enter the workforce.

If you’re thinking of hopping on the Amex bandwagon, there are a few things you should consider first. Amex has some frequently asked questions listed on its website, so you can see whether your situation and interests work well with its lineup of cardholder options. It’s also important to do your research on things like fees, interest, and minimum payment before deciding on a card.

For now, though, it seems like Amex has mastered the art of bringing a new generation into the world of credit cards — whether you want to enter that world should be based on whether it’s right for you.

Jordyn Stapleton has been a National Lifestyle Writer for Her Campus since February 2023. She covers a variety of topics in her articles, but is most passionate about writing about mental health and social justice issues. Jordyn graduated from CU Boulder in December 2022 with Bachelor’s degrees in music and psychology with a minor in gender studies and a certificate in public health. Jordyn was involved in Her Campus during college, serving as an Editorial Assistant and later Editor-in-Chief for the CU Boulder chapter. She has also worked as a freelance stringer for the Associated Press. Jordyn is currently taking a gap year and working at a local business in Boulder, with hopes of attending graduate school in fall 2024. Jordyn enjoys reading, bullet journalling, and listening to (preferably Taylor Swift) music in her free time. If she isn’t brainstorming her next article, you can usually find her exploring coffee shops or hiking trails around Boulder with her friends.