More mettle in your plastic

I, of course, carry a Plywood Card:

I remember my father telling me about the Amex Gold Card when I was a kid. “It has no limit,” he said, in the tones that an earlier generation used to describe the bomb at Hiroshima, “you could charge a Rolls-Royce on it.” When he eventually got one, I was deeply disappointed that he didn’t immediately charge a Rolls-Royce. Given that our local dealer had precisely one Rolls-Royce in stock, however, and it was a fucking Camargue, I no longer resent him for not doing so.

I get the sense that the Platinum Card is now what the Gold Card used to be. My Platinum Amex doesn’t seem to have any limit, although to be fair I’ve never tried to charge a Rolls-Royce. I have had a couple of days where I made five figures’ worth of charges to it in a single day, an action that prompts panicked phone calls from my Visa Signature card issuer, and I had no trouble doing so. Lately I’ve been thinking about downgrading to the Gold or even the Green card, however. I’m not really living much of an upscale life.

Only once did I ever get a phone call on even a Green Amex, presumably because I’d gone beyond my high-side-of-normal thousand-a-month usage.

And once upon a time, some Middle East arms dealer, visiting Boeing, is supposed to have bought a plane on impulse and paid for it with Amex.

Not that this sort of thing matters, of course:

Which brings us to the point of high-end credit cards: impressing retail personnel. But if you’ve ever worked retail, you know that you don’t care about what stupid credit card the customer has. So maybe the point of a high-end credit card is to imply that you don’t know how little the retail people care about it, because you’ve never worked a retail or foodservice job and therefore wouldn’t know that kind of prole-ass detail. Very meta-impressive. I think.

So maybe it’s to impress the person behind you in line at the counter.


  1. McGehee »

    3 November 2014 · 9:41 am

    You know what impresses people who work retail? Getting paid even when there’s nobody in the store.

  2. fillyjonk »

    3 November 2014 · 9:59 am

    OMG, it’s like grade inflation for credit cards! The Platinum Card is like what the Gold Card used to be.

    And yeah, when I was a kid (like, 6 or 7), I didn’t understand why my dad didn’t immediately go out and buy tons of cool stuff with his credit card. When I was a few years older I realized it was because you eventually had to PAY for that stuff. The credit card wasn’t like some secret magic unlimited pool of money.

    I dunno. My main credit card is through the credit union; it has a picture of a university building on it. I don’t expect to impress people with that, but then, I’m not sure I care at all about impressing the kind of people who’d be impressed by a credit card.

  3. CGHill »

    3 November 2014 · 10:05 am

    I once had a Titanium card. Never did figure out exactly where it belonged in the hierarchy.

  4. fillyjonk »

    3 November 2014 · 10:22 am

    If I were in charge of it, it would be:

    species card < genus card < family card < order card < class card < phylum card < kingdom card < domain card.

    That's much easier for me to remember than some random bunch of metals.

  5. Tatyana »

    3 November 2014 · 10:53 am

    This materialistic taxonomy reminded me of another – categorizing of wedding anniversaries.

    Makes as much sense and brings as much joy to participants…

  6. ms7168 »

    4 November 2014 · 8:14 am

    I had a Gold card. It came with a higher fee. When that fee went up to a ridiculous amount I voluntarily downgraded to a Green card.

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