Credit is one of the biggest tragedies of so-called civilized life. You have to earn credit to buy a house or car, unless you have the cash. So the theory is, you go out and apply for a credit card. Once you get the card, you go out and buy stuff. If you're smart, you only buy the same things with the credit card that you were buying before with cash, and be sure to pay off the balance each month! Now you're gaining credit, and the credit card companies are losing money on you (they still have to print, mail, and process your bills). You do this month after month, and maybe you have enough credit built up to afford a house or car on credit.
But what's this? You have one credit card, which means you were APPROVED for it at one point. Now a horrible thing begins to happen called EXPONENTIAL PRE-APPROVAL. This is when your original credit card company sells your APPROVED status and associated name, address, social security number, availability for a date Friday night, etc. to other credit card companies, who in turn sell your financial information to everyone else. Now you no longer need to buy a house because you can simply build one out of the millions of plastic cards you receive.
What's more is that assuming you were "smart" and only applied for a card with no annual fee or other such ludicrous "features," your intelligence will now be tested as companies will send you cards with such "features," which actually only serve to further drain your wallet and/or sanity.
Recently, I received an offer from Gordon A. Smith. You'd think this a great offer coming from someone like Gordon, the president of the Consumer Cards division at American Express. I should be really excited about this offer because Gordon said he greatly looks forward to welcoming me as a Cardmember. I'm not really sure why Cardmember is a proper noun, but if that's what Mr. Smith says, then it must be.
E R I C A
N E X
P R E S
Mr. David W. Gould
1307 Madison St.
Aberdeen, WA 98520-2805
|YOUR NAME HERE
ALL THE BENEFITS. ALL THE
ALL FEE-FREE FOR A YEAR.
Plus, your Cardmembership privileges can be
shared with a FEE-FREE
Additional Card for one year.
Dear Mr. Gould:
The road to financial success has many milestones marking how far
you've come. You've just reached one such milestone.
You're Pre-Approved for the American
Express® Rewards Green
Card - with no annual fee the first year.
You should know that Pre-Approved status is not easily
achieved. But with your excellent financial record, our decision
was really very simple - we want you as a Card member. In fact,
we invite you to enjoy all the privileges of Card membership, plus,
should you choose, an Additional Card for someone you care
about - all with no fee for the first year.
With the American Express Rewards Green Card, you can enjoy the huge
selection of travel and shopping rewards available through the
Membership Rewards Options®
program. Make your first purchase and you'll get 5,000
Membership Rewards Options bonus points just like that. Then,
you can earn one point for virtually every dollar you and your
Additional Card member charge on the Card. You'll find plenty of
ways to reward yourself with the Card at fine retailers such as The
Sports Authority®, The
Sharper Image®, and
Tourneau. If you like to travel, you can receive great savings
from a wide array of domestic and international airline and hotel
partners. And with 5,000 bonus points, you can redeem right away
for certificates valued at $50 or for merchandise from over 50 of the
finest brand names. Plus, points have no expiration date and
there is no limit to the number of points you can earn.
You can also earn two Membership Rewards Options points for
virtually every dollar you spend on purchases at stand-alone
supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, the U.S. Postal Service, and
when you pay your wireless phone bill - to reward yourself even
The Rewards Green Card comes with everything you'd expect
from American Express.
You'll have the flexibility of no pre-set spending
limit. You've amply demonstrated your financial
responsibility, so purchases are approved based on a variety of
factors, including your account history, credit record, and personal
As a Rewards Green Cardmember, you'll also enjoy an array of truly
exceptional Card benefits, including a Year-End Summary of
Charges, conveniently itemized in categories. Not only does
it take the hassle out of bookkeepting, it's an indispensable tool for
preparing taxes and budgeting.
With Return Protection, American Express will reimburse you if
you are dissatisfied with an eligible Card purchase and the merchant
won't take it back within 90 days of your purchase. Or, if you
have purchased a covered item entirely with your Card, the Buyer's
Assurance Plan will extend the terms of the original manufacturer's
warranty up to one year. Additionally, the Purchase Protection
Plan provides added protection for accidental damage to or theft of
eligable items, purchased with the Card, for up to 90 days from the
date of purchase.
Our enhanced Global Assist Plus Hotline offers a wide array of
complimentary safety and security services. In addition to
24-hour legal, medical, financial, and other travel help, we'll provide
emergency roadside assistance when you are more than 100 miles from
home. We'll also help you replace your lost cards or passport, as
well as pay for emergency interpretation and translation
services. What's more, when you purchase Scheduled Airline
tickets with the Card, you'll receive Baggage Insurance
Most importantly, as an American Express Rewards Green Cardmember, you
merit an exceptional level of personal service. We're here to
assist you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with everything from
questions about your bill to replacing a lost Card.
Accept the Card today, and start enjoying the rewards of
membership with no fee the first year.
We'd like to have you as a Cardmember. And to do that, we're
waiving your annual fee for the Rewards Green Card for an entire year
(a $65 value). Since you're already Pre-Approved, you can accept
the Card - and an Additional Card with no fee the first year (a $30
value) - by calling 1-877-621-7778, going to
or by completing and returning the enclosed Acceptance Form.
Congratulations on reaching this very special milestone. I
greatly look forward to welcoming you as a Cardmember.
Gordon A. Smith
Gordon A. Smith
President, Consumer Cards
Member Since 1984
||Understandably, there's a limit to how
long we can hold your Pre-Approved status and offer you the Card with
no annual fee the first year, a fee-free Additional Card for one year,
and 5,000 bonus points. Please respond by the date on the
Well, I never wrote back to Gordon, so he wrote me another letter, which I received
today. This time he's offering me not Green, not Silver, but Gold! Yes, he's offering
me the American Express® Rewards Gold Card. He reminded me that I need to
act fast if I want to enjoy all the privileges of Card membership, plus, should I choose, I can
give an Additional Card to someone I care about (apparently he already knows about
Danielle), all with no fee for the first year.
I want Gordon to know how important Pre-Approved Status is to me, and that I'm so happy
he's holding onto that status for me. This is what I mailed to him today:
|1307 Madison St.
Aberdeen, WA 98520
June 20, 2004
Gordon A. Smith
2010 AXP Financial Center
Minneapolis, MN 55474
Dear Mr. Smith:
As you know, Pre-Approved status is not easily achieved, so I am
pleased you took the time to notice my excellent financial
record and offer me an American Express® Rewards
Green/Gold/Platinum/Plutonium Card. It is unbelievable to
think I have finally reached such a milestone in my road to
financial success that I should be offered a Card with such a
huge selection of travel and shopping rewards, even though I have
already been Pre-Approved for every other Card.
Before being offered this Card, I was relegated to using a simple
CapitalOne® Card, for which I was once also Pre-Approved, and
Pre-Approval is a very difficult status to achieve, let me tell
you! Although that Card offers just as many small-print terms and
conditions (subject to change without notification) as the American
Express® Rewards Green/Gold/Platinum/Plutonium Card, it does not
offer the amazingly low annual fee of $65 after the first year plus
$30 for each additional Card. In fact, I don't believe my
CapitalOne® Card offers any charges for additional Cards! I would
be so lucky to switch from a Card charging me nothing at all to a
Card that costs simply because it's mine.
The American Express® Rewards Green/Gold/Platinum/Plutonium Card
will go a long way in earning points I will never use, incorporating
words I cannot pronounce like "Tourneau," and emptying my pocket
year after year of great fees, hidden charges, and cramming down the
road to financial success. I will have to act fast on this offer
since you cannot hold my Pre-Approved status forever on a Card with
no annual fee for the first year.
Thank you again for Pre-Approving me. I always appreciate being
Pre-Approved since Pre-Approval is so rare, prestigious, and most
importantly, not easily achieved.
How do you stop credit card companies from sending you swarms of pre-approval offers? That
is the tragedy. And how do you contact large corporations to tell them how worthless you
think they are? Well, I'll let all of you know what kind of response, if any, Gordon A.
Smith sends me!