Business

AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires

An American Express card (Newscast Limited via AP Images)
An American Express card (Newscast Limited via AP Images)

 

(Bloomberg) – Hedge-fund manager Whitney Tilson used his American Express card for three decades to buy groceries, trips to Europe and just about everything else. A few months ago, he switched.

“I charge a lot of money on my credit card,” said Tilson, 48, who manages more than $83 million at Kase Capital Management in New York. He said the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard gives him more cash perks while rewarding him for the money he spends on travel. “The difference between getting 1 percent and 2 percent cash back is thousands of dollars and for that amount of money, Barclaycard has a better offer,” he said.

American Express Co., long the envy of the industry for its wealthy clientele, is fighting to retain its grip on affluent cardholders like Tilson. Rivals including Barclays Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are courting them with enhanced perks, lower fees and more incentives. And as AmEx seeks to diversify by pursuing tech-savvy millennials and underbanked Americans, the risk of eroding its brand—and its biggest source of revenue—is rising.

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