Well, this sure is a different kind of deal. Instead of paying you a bonus to join, New York-based American Express will give you a $300 American Express prepaid card if you agree to say goodbye. American Express says that it is making this "deal" so that customers can "simplify" their finances. Sure. The offer, which isn't available to everyone, requires a 14-digit RSVP code. Customers are receiving this offer via U.S. Postal and email.
Let's get something straight here. If you receive this offer, American Express is telling you something: please leave. Note also that in order to get the $300 prepaid card the customer MUST pay off his or her entire balance by April 30, 2009. If the balance is not paid off by April 30, then you will not receive the $300 card. But your card will still get closed. That's a heck of a deal.
Here is a picture of the offer from American Express's Web site (click to enlarge):
You can read the fine print here (click to enlarge):
You may be wondering why American Express doesn't just close the accounts of these customers, which would save American Express $300. Here's why: the $300 prepaid card is acting as an incentive for the customer to pay down the balance in an expeditious manner. The customer has exactly two months to get that balance paid off; if he or she does, the $300 card is theirs. Not a bad strategy by American Express.
The "we want to help you simplify your finances" language is a joke, of course. But, hey, this is American Express. It has never really been good at this sort of thing.
Anyhow, be on the lookout for the offer. If you receive the offer, be sure to let me know. I'd like to see what kinds of balances are being targeted here.
Here is a direct link to American Express's offer (link).