Make Sure Your Replacement AmEx Gets Overnighted

Traditionally, AmEx will send you a replacement credit card via overnight, but an insider tells us that as a cost-saving move, they’ve been trying to cut back on this. If you have low-balance, low-usage or are not an annual fee payer, they might not offer the overnight right off the bat, or may even deny it. Our tipster says there are some key phrases you can use to make sure you get your card lickity-split:

He writes:

For lost/stolen card you must explicitly ask: “I would like my card overnighted, can you help me?” The rep is trained to say “Yes, I’ll be more than glad to overnight you your card at no additional charge!”

For a damaged card you must explicitly ask: “My card is completely unusable, can I get a new card overnighted?” The rep is trained to ask for the Customer Identification Number on the card, and will overnight the card at no charge.

There you have it, the secret words for making sure your American Express card gets overnighted to you with no fuss.

(Photo: Plutor)

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  1. James Richard says:

    I have had my Costco TrueEarnings AMEX replaced twice in the past 6 months. I left my card at PF Changs once (oops) and I also lost my Wallet, which was later recovered, after I had canceled all my cards.

    Both times AMEX quickly overnighted me (via UPS Next Day Air Saver) a Temporary card w/o my Costco membership attached. This was good for approximately a month. Within a week I received another card via Standard Mail with my picture and costco membership attached. The only difference between these two cards was my picture, Costco ID, and expiration date.

    They were quite helpful, but I am wondering when its going to end for me.

    -Jamie

  2. Xiao He says:

    Lucky you! My AmEx Costco cards have never been overnighted…

  3. aerick says:

    Gotta Love Call Scripts

  4. savdavid says:

    Sad we have to do this. Customer service by code phrases and words instead of just giving it happily.

  5. Hyman Decent says:

    This post is almost exactly 24 hours too late for me (they notified me via e-mail yesterday that fraudulent activity was detected on my account) unless they don’t do this for Blue Cash.

  6. Necoras says:

    Wish I’d known this Friday when I asked for a replacement for my cracking card……

  7. divide says:

    It’s interesting how this this group has become so “get everything you can.” Overnighting costs extra money that ultimately gets paid for by cardholders and merchants (without devolving into the argument that AMEX shafts you with fees so they deserve it).

    Sounds like a reasonable way to cut costs, unless you specifically need it overnighted (e.g. on vacation) most of us can probably wait an extra few days.

    • Corporate-Shill says:

      @divide:

      “get everything you can”

      I love it.

    • opticnrv says:

      @divide: Credit is immediate. Overnight costs have historically been associated with replacement of the item that induces a credit transaction. The cost of doing business is the cost of doing business. If a company doesn’t like it, they can get out of the business. It’s truly sad when someone believes that the general expectation for a business to treat their customer’s right comes across as ‘get everything you can’. No wonder big business never hesitates to push the service envelope further and further back.

      • Juliekins says:

        @opticnrv: My Amex (Blue Cash) is my main card that I use for everything. Being without it for a week would be a major inconvenience. I also don’t want my card sitting in the mail system (and vulnerable to theft) any longer than is absolutely necessary. When I misplaced my card a few months ago and they told me it would take 7-10 days to get a new one, I politely requested that they overnight it. They were more than willing to do so and definitely scored points with me as a customer.

        Would I have closed the account if they refused to overnight a new card? Probably not, but it would have left a bad taste in my mouth. Sometimes it really isn’t a matter of “screwing over a company for shits and giggles.” Getting my card replaced overnight allowed me to get back to doing my thing with minimal inconvenience and allowed them to keep a happy customer.

  8. Trickery says:

    Last year AmEx sent 60% of all cards overnighted at $10 a pop. $20+ Million worth of costs.

    Seems logical to want to cut that down.

    • johnva says:

      @Trickery: That depends…do they make more money than that by having the card in the cardholder’s hands ASAP? That’s quite possible if the cardholder is a big spender.

    • opticnrv says:

      @Trickery: Not when you consider how much profit the company makes. And $10 a pop is not realistic. I’m sure they receive a bulk rate. I’d be suprised if it even costs them $1 to do this.

      • Trickery says:

        @opticnrv: Nope, its $10 a pop. Who do you think gave the idea for this post? :D

        • opticnrv says:

          @Trickery: Are you telling me that a sales agreement between two huge fortune 500 companies like Amex and UPS that promises to include a financially significant amount of sales transactions was not negotiated for a better rate per transaction? Or that an element of barter (ie – an equal exchange of services) was not also included to offset the agreed rate? Working for a large multinational company myself,I find that extremely hard to believe. I think you are taking a simplistic view of the rate per transaction. Sales agreements between such large companies are never this straightforward.

    • oneandone says:

      @Trickery: I thought the same… until I remembered all the AmEx commercials I saw just this weekend with a cute elderly couple on some sort of cruise vacation, and the guy keeps loosing his AmEx. At one point, a monkey steals it. Miraculously, at every port of call, there is a new AmEx waiting for them. It seems effortless.

      If that’s the kind of service they’re advertising, they should provide it. If they want to stop doing that, fine. But they shouldn’t advertise it if they don’t want to deliver.

  9. Trickery says:

    Might be worth noting they also completely cut out same day rush replacements sent VIA UPS Expedite (Sonic Air) as well. Some of those replacements could cost up to $200 a pop.

    It included having a UPS employee pick up the card at a travel service office, and take commerical airlines or other means to get a card out to someone the same day.

    Another victim of the economy!

  10. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    When my wallet was stolen last October, I didn’t think to ask, and AmEx sent it (my Blue Cash) two-day, which was fine with me … and eight days faster than any of my other cards, which all said “7 to 10 days to replace, and no, we can’t speed that up at all for any reason” and took the looooong end of that.

  11. ADismalScience says:

    This policy still stacks up incredibly well to their competitors.

  12. starbreiz says:

    Overnight? Nice! WellsFargo took 2 weeks to send me my new card, after I reported it lost. They even told me up front it wouldn’t go out for 10 business days. I asked for expedited shipping, and they said they didn’t do that. Go AmEx.

  13. Tankueray says:

    My replacement gold card usually comes in about a month before it expires, this time it didn’t. It was about to expire and I was going on a trip in a few weeks. I called to have them send another, never came. Repeat, same thing. Third try I explained that either they weren’t sending the card or someone had possibly intercepted three of them between their mailroom and my PO Box. (I had assumed that when there was a possibility of theft they would require some sort of proof of delivery.) I did have to specifically ask that the last one be overnighted to me to ensure delivery. They did, it arrived just fine. They never seemed all that concerned that there were possibly three cards out there in my name though.

  14. feckingmorons says:

    You can get a replacement at a American Express travel service office the say day if you need to. They are all over the world.

    You will get a standard green card, and the magnetic stripe on the back will be a different color, but until the replacement arrives you can use it just the same as your lost, stolen, melted, broken card.

    From their website:

    Emergency Card Replacement

    If an American Express Card is lost or stolen, call American Express to report the problem immediately. The Cardmember will be advised of the replacement Card policy. If available, the Cardmember will be directed to the closest American Express location where a Card can be issued. Please call the office directly to schedule pickup. Valid identification is required.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      @feckingmorons: IIRC, the corporate AMEX offices carry the standard plastics (Green, Gold, and Platinum). They don’t carry the specialty plastics (like HHonors Platinum or Blue Cash). There are third party offices that only carry the Green (and possibly the Gold).

      If you call AMEX to get your card replaced and ask about picking it up at an office, they should be able to direct you to the nearest one. If you’re replacing your card at an office and they carry your plastic, they typically don’t re-replace it because you have a new permanent card.

  15. jdmba says:

    Amex recently caught fraud on my account (no loss- they rejected the charge). When I mentioned that they overnight replacements (as I have had that before), I got fairly strong pushback. This was odd because I have one platinum card with an additional gold card on the account.

    They said they don’t overnight anymore, but since I have been a cardholder since 1990, they would. I would have thought, since I pay these ridiculous fees, they would not have given any pushback. Perhaps their first line of defense is to say no.

  16. chemmy says:

    CitiBank has done the same for me when I bent my card and it was unreadable. I even told them not to worry about it and regular mail was fine (I was out of town for a while) but they said it’s policy to overnight ALL cards…

  17. MooseOfReason says:

    Why can’t people use a debit card for the two or three days it would regularly take to arrive?

    Would you really lose sleep if you didn’t have your credit card for “that long”?

  18. chrisinnh says:

    I had a weird experience with replacing an AmEx card recently…

    I was leaving a parking garage, the sort where you drive to the exit, and first feed your parking stub to the machine, then feed it a credit card.

    The machine refused to read my AmEx. I tried a couple of times (as traffic stacked up behind me), before giving up on it and using a different card.

    A few minutes later, I called AmEx. The rep insisted that nothing was wrong with my card, because they didn’t have any information indicating a problem in their computer system. We went around in circles for a few minutes:

    CSR: “There’s nothing in the computer about your broken card”
    Me: “Well, of course there isn’t. The machine clearly stated it couldn’t read the card.”
    CSR: “You should have called for a verbal approval”
    Me: “Automated parking kiosk. In an underground garage (no cell service). With cars lined up behind me.”
    CSR: “Machine must have been broken.”
    Me: “Nobody in front of me had a problem, and it ready my Visa just fine.”
    CSR: “Maybe it doesn’t take Amex.”
    Me: “Look at my account history… All those $36 charges? Same machine.”
    CSR: Well, there’s nothing in the computer indicating that your card doesn’t work…”

    Arrgh!

    Finally, CSR agreed to connect me to a “card replacement specialist”, then promptly disconnected the call.

    So, super-frustrating, but not where it gets interesting.

    I’d assumed I was just dealing with a moron, but when I called back later, I had exactly the same conversation with a completely different CSR.

    Including the crazy logic that my account would have been flagged if my card were unreadable.

    Weird! What’s going on there?