American Express Eliminated Online Message Customer Support

I like doing customer service with credit card companies online, in writing. I don’t like calling.

  • I don’t really like the phone anyway, it’s more of an intrusion.
  • I prefer to compose my thoughts clearly and crisply, and not have to wait in real-time for the company to respond, to transfer me around, to re-explain things.
  • I like a written record of the company’s response. That way if they don’t deliver, I can refer them back to their commitment. They get to record phone calls, it’s not nearly as convenient for me to do so.

Unfortunately American Express has gotten rid of their online email customer support leaving chat as the online option.

The online ‘secure message center’ – where you log into your account and send an electronic message – is gone.

This isn’t annoying at the level of a financial review but it’s still an inconvenience.

You can still leave a message ‘for one of our chat representatives’ and get a response, though. You’re limited to 400 characters in your message.

Please feel free to Leave a Message for one of our Chat representatives and we will respond in 24-48 hours in your Notification Center.

The ‘Notification Center’ is where you get messages from American Express, but it’s not the ’email box’ they used to have.

Chase has a really good secure message center in my experience. Citibank has one – but I’ve had less good results with theirs, I once tried to cancel an authorized user account online (the message was VERY CLEAR) and they simply closed down the entire account. That was easily rectified. Frequently Citi’s written online correspondence folks just tell me to call, too, which is unhelpful.

I don’t like the phone, I prefer a written record, so I tried the approach of leaving a chat message and getting a response later. Disappointing. (I’ve removed the specifics of what I was asking American Express to take care of, it’s beside the point for this exercise.)

Hi, Gary

Thank you for taking the time out to contact us.

We would definitely be able to […] So, over the email. we would not be able to […] unfortunately.

Please be rest assured as American Express is always here to back you up..

I would suggest you to please chat back with us or give us a call and have your card handy… If she is chats with us or calls us.. she would have to have her card with her handy.

She/You can even go online and… It’s very simple and easy. However, needs to keep the respective card handy.

Here’s the link..

…American express does anything and everything for the convenience of our valuable card members!

We certainly value your card membership!

Take care!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, I HATE the fact that they removed the online message to customer support. I noticed this some time ago.

  2. I actually prefer this Chat function to the Secure Message system – it is more interactive and it gives me a chance to negotiate or get clarification much more efficiently than going back and forth by what is essentially just email with 12-24 hours between responses.

    One thing AMEX also did with their chat, though, is eliminate the icons that previously allowed us to email or print a transcript of the chat. I always save a transcript of every chat session where the agent has either made commitments or clarified an AMEX rule or policy so that I have back up for later, so it was pretty crappy for them to eliminate the convenient methods of doing so. Now I just copy and paste the transcript into a document and save it.

    Still prefer the real-time response of chat over the snail mail timeframe of secure messaging.

  3. I’m guessing the feature wasn’t used much; as John mentioned, the interactive chat function is more than adequate however the fact they leave an option for snail mail is archaic.

  4. @gary I’m glad you have addressed this. The other bloggers need to do so as well or risk the appearance of dishonesty, if you ask my humble opinion.

    Amex has made it abundantly clear that they want to put every possible obstacle in the path of a customer seeking to have a problem resolved. You do realize the purpose of eliminating this ability to communicate in writing — even to the point of blocking people from easily making a transcript of chat! — is so that there is no record of what was actually said.

    @Mark Byrn Try using that option for “snail mail.” Try even finding it. And then when you do find it, you’ll get the robot answering the snail mail just as you did with email or as you do with twitter and online resources.

    It looks like Amex maybe wanst to be able to go directly to lawsuit and then claim the person didn’t make a reasonable effort to contact them first. Screenshot everything. A lot of frequent flyers are about to find out that they were told one thing and then their offer was NOT honored. A lot of people.

  5. I, too, have had great luck with Chase’s secure messaging center. Amex’s online chat was helpful for me, though. I wanted to adjust the due date/closing date on one of my Amex cards, and the agent responded quickly, with detail and follow-up questions, and then made the change for me – probably all within one business day of first reaching out to them. Perhaps it depends on the agent.

    A shame that customer service has to be such a pain.

  6. Amex chat flat out stinks. It takes longer than picking up the phone — because they waste so much time saying please and thank you. And most times, they cannot solve/address the issue while you are chatting.

    I was quite happy with the secure message way of dealing with Amex — I would love to know why they did away with it.

  7. You prefer to compose your thoughts clearly and “crisply”? You’re not serious, right? Crisply?

  8. The decline of American Express sadly continues and isn’t limited to this single issue of customer abandonment in the disguise of cost cutting. For more than a few years customers have lost the ability when a problem or escalation occurs the ability to speak with an executive liaison.
    The only option is to write in and hope you receive a response in weeks.
    Amex also ended their shopping portal with Membership Rewards to earn bonus points. I now shop on and rarely use my American Express Card
    Chase and other competitors are delivering superior customer service through all channels

    American Express has become the United Airlines or Spirit airlines of Customer Service and for that reason I have moved tens of thousands of dollars to other competing credit cards where I feel better protected.
    American Express was once the gold standard of customer service.
    Now you need ear plugs to call them and listen to those annoying beeps while speaking with India who is frequently clueless how to fix anything and difficult a times to understand
    So incredibly sad of this once great company

  9. @mark: Yes, he can “prefer to compose his thoughts crisply.”
    “crisply: (Of a way of speaking or writing) briskly decisive and matter-of-fact, without hesitation or unnecessary detail”
    Just because you haven’t heard of a usage, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Perhaps you should get a job working for Amex chat.

  10. I agree about the desirability of e-mail, also that Chase is pretty responsive. U.S. Bank is another thing. A couple of days ago I was having problems with miles posting to my Korean Air account. Korean Air said that since my middle name was on my Korean account and only first and last name on U,S, Bank Korean Air card I should ask U.S. Bank to reissue my card with my middle name as well. I e-mailed U. S. Bank which said they would send a form to complete and I would have to also send a legal document (such as a marriage certificate) showing that my name (which I have had since birth) was changed! I responded explaining that my name had not changed. Haven’t heard back.

  11. Chat is poor. Last time I tried to use it, chat was only available during peak hours, huge lag time (reps ‘chat’ with multiple customers at once), still was unable to help and required a call or USPS.

    I hope that others complain about the loss. Even if you like chat for some things,the option to use secure message 24/7 is a huge customer service loss.

  12. I absolutely hate Amex. I specifically complained about the lack of email in an FDIC complaint earlier this year and they said I could still write a letter and mail it in! The nerve of these %$&$! It truly makes me sick!

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