American Express is great. They are my favourite financial and credit card issuer, and they have fantastic rewards and offers. To select a card, see my post for recommendations on the best American Express Cards. However, in addition to that, all cardholders have a fantastic benefit called the AMEX Global Transfer program, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.
AMEX Global Transfer
Basically, when getting a card from another country, American Express can take into account your current history with them in your home country. For our discussion, getting a card in the USA is most relevant since they have the best bonuses. The offer that attracted me was the 100,000 point Hilton American Express Surpass Card offer, increased until October 4.
There are two things you need to complete an AMEX Global Transfer. First, an eligible card in good standing. These include the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, the Gold Rewards Card, and the American Express Platinum Card. Business accounts like the SPG Business American Express qualify as well, as long as they are not corporate cards. You must have been a cardholder for at least three months, and the card must also be currently open.
Additional Reading: SPG AMEX Bonus Increased!
Second, you need the relevant personal details with getting a card in the US. I actually have never done this personally before, since I already have US credit history. However, I did assist my family member whose rewards I manage on an application today. The page on global card transfers to the page I found was quite inaccurate, which is why I’m writing about my experience.
First, I called AMEX USA to start an application by phone. I unfortunately had the delight of talking to very long-winded agents. My call ended up taking close to 50 minutes including hold times, so it’s not great if you want instant gratification.You can also apply online directly through American Express by selecting any qualifying card. However, I had trouble when inputting my non-US AMEX number, although It might be a temporary error. However, it’s likely you’ll need to call in at some point since you have no US history at all.
Global Transfer Application Details
The number to call is 1-866-929-5160. This reaches the “apply by phone” department. It is a different number than what’s listed online. You must tell the agent that you are doing a Global Card Transfer – otherwise they will have no idea what you’re talking about. Other than having to listen to a very long spiel about the card and benefits, the application goes pretty much as normal. During the application, they will ask you for a US address and your Social Security Number. If you have a ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).
These are mandatory fields. It’s very likely that they will ask for proof, so do not use a P.O. Box or your Canadian SIN. The agent does not ask you about your employment details, passport details, or bank account details. The application also asks you a lot about your financial standing (in addition to your annual income) such as whether you have retirement or brokerage accounts, and the approximate value of your assets. The latter was quite surprising.
Once the agent completes your application, the status will either be “In Progress” or “Pending.” It’s unlikely that you will receive an instant result because this process requires manual process. You can see your progress on the online American Express Application Status tool, after you fill in your relevant information. You’ll also get an email confirming the application.
Then you can either wait for an update, or call the Global Card Transfer Team. You’ll have to call New Accounts first at 1-800-641-2400 and ask to be transferred. The AMEX Global Transfer department is open M-F 0830-2100 Eastern (while new accounts is open presumably 24/7), so I’ll be waiting until Tuesday for an update. Once you’re approved, you’ll have a shiny new American Express Card.
Have you had experience doing AMEX Global Transfer?