My oldest credit card account is my Marriott American Express. It was opened as a Starwood Amex 20 years ago. Account longevity is one of the key attributes of American Express. Cards print your ‘member since’ date on the front. American Express Centurion lounges even use member since as their internet password (the original password was ‘member of’).
I’ve always thought that American Express could make more of the long-term relationship aspect of cardmembership. They have customers who date to their first class of (paper) charge cards in 1958. To any executives reading, consider a big campaign around original members in 2023, who will have been with the company for 65 years. Offer them incredible surprise and delights, have them tell their stories, along with how they’ve used their American Express cards along the way and how American Express has supported them.
This week I received an email from American Express celebrating my 20 years of cardmembership.
Gary, through life’s twists and turns, and every swipe, dip, and tap, we’ve loved being by your side for the last 20 years. We look forward to providing you with outstanding service for years to come.
The email then promotes the card’s benefits. It seemed perfunctory. Doesn’t 20 years deserve more than an email promoting the value of the card?
For a 20th anniversary a free night might have been nice, even capped at 35,000 points in value. I mean, “we’ve deposited 1000 points into your account” would have been a gesture.
But then it struck me: why do I expect something from American Express for a 20 year anniversary as a customer? After all, relationships are reciprocal. Why doesn’t American Express deserve something from me for our 20th anniversary?
And the reason is simple: they’re the ones sending the anniversary message, it makes sense for that message to carry as much weight as possible. American Express has a huge opportunity with long-term relationships. I hear from cardmemebrs all the time who tell me how long they’ve been customers but more than that American Express promotes – and people internalize – cardmembership. Anniversaries are meaningful.