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AmEx to discontinue specialty credit cards

Emily Crone

As of Nov. 1, American Express will stop issuing several specialty credit cards, including a line of city-centric cards aimed at the young and wealthy, the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required).

The city-specific “IN” line of cards were created for residents of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The cards were aimed at the young, hip, working crowd and offer rewards specific to their home cities, though they can be used anywhere AmEx is accepted. Desiree Fish, a spokeswoman for American Express told the Journal that these cards have a reward system separate from Membership Rewards, the issuer’s reputable reward program, which was not appreciated by potential cardholders. “In focus groups, customers said they wanted broad rewards. The Membership Rewards program makes more sense for them,” she said.

AmEx is dropping that set of cards in addition to three more cards: the Knot, a card for the engaged, the Nest, a card for newly married couples, and its card for golf enthusiasts. Card members who currently have one of the to-be-discontinued cards will receive the American Express Blue credit card as a replacement.

Why drop the cards? Fish told the Wall Street Journal that there was not enough demand for the cards to continue issuing them, and the Journal says reward programs are extremely expensive to maintain. This isn’t much of a surprise, as AmEx has weathered a tough year, with falling profits and rising delinquencies.

Do you have one of these cards? Are you sad to see it go, or was the niche card a flop?

See related: Fore! AmEx launches site for golf junkies, Wedding + credit card = a perfect marriage?, AmEx launches social network for cardholders, American Express ditches contactless fob

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  • Barbara B Pryor

    I would like to discontinue using my American Express credit card.
    What is the procedure?

  • Barbara,
    If you want to discontinue using it but it’s a line of credit you have had for a while, just put it in an envelope and file it away for emergencies only. Canceling cards can hurt your credit score because it lowers your debt-to-credit ratio.
    If you really do want to close the account, simply call American Express’s customer service (you can find the number on the back of your card) and ask them to close it. They will walk you through the steps.
    Hope this helps,
    Emily