American Express Offering Chip & Signature to Platinum & Centurion Cardholders


For the past three months, I have been using the chip and signature feature of the updated Marriott Rewards Visa Signature card. Before receiving this card, I had to rely on standard magnetic stripe cards when abroad, which are not the most reliable in some parts of the world. There were many times that I had to track down a human being to make a purchase, which often resulted in missed trains, or longer lines. Once I received the new card, international transactions became a lot easier.

Although the Marriott Card worked well on my last two international trips to Germany, Japan, Singapore, and Sweden, I was a bit disappointed that I was unable to use my Amex Platinum card at a couple of the stores that I visited. Despite having machines that had magnetic strip readers attached, the cashiers claimed that the machines would not work with a "swipe card", and that I needed to pay cash or use a card with a chip. I did have my Marriott card with me, which they gladly took, though I certainly wished I had earned Membership Rewards points for the purchase.

Upon my return to the U.S. two weeks ago, I learned that Amex had begun to issue chip and signature equipped cards in the latter half of 2012. While the roll-out had been kept quiet, apparentely this was announced in June, the phone rep I spoke with was more than happy to 'place an order' for the new card. I called in on a Friday afternoon, and by Tuesday, I had the new card in my hands.

Just like the Marriott Visa, the Amex Plat card has no foreign transaction fees, an added bonus when using this card overseas. It should be noted that this card does require you to sign a receipt when making a purchase, so any attempts to use it in a train ticket machine, will likely fail. Some people on FlyerTalk had reported success if they entered '0000' as their pin number, though I was unable to replicate their success when I tried to use my card to purchase a ticket for the Arlanda Express at the Stockholm Airport.

American Express does not charge a fee for upgrading your current Platinum or Centurion card to the chipped version, and their agents are more than happy to process the request. Just call the number on the back of your credit card.


Corey January 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm

News to me, thanks for updating the world!

Pegasus February 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thanks for the heads up. I'll call to get this. As I understand it, the US chip cards are the "chip and signature" types, so I am not sure what's the advantage over non-chip cards. As you said, this card doesn't work at train stations in Europe, I tried my Hyatt chip card, similar to the Marriott card and it didn't work.

Daniel February 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm

@Pegasus: That's correct, though it seems having the chip is good for a situation where the merchant does not have a device capable of swiping the mag stripe, or it is broken, as was the case when I was in Singapore.