How I’ve Been An American Express Cardmember Since Before I Was Born

Every time I post a picture of one of my American Express credit cards (as I just did of the new metal American Express Platinum Card), multiple people share their confusion about how my “Members Since” date on American Express cards is 1988. I wasn’t even born in 1988, so the confusion is understandable. No, I wasn’t applying for credit cards pre-conception.

Metal-Amex-Platinum-Card-3

It gets especially funny when I call up American Express, and they have to verify my date of birth, and then a moment later say “and I see you’ve been a valued member since 1988, thanks so much for your loyalty for all these years.”

The simple answer is that historically your American Express “member since” date has been the year that the first account was opened on which you’re a user, whether you’re the primary cardmember or an authorized user.

About a decade ago my dad added me as an authorized user on one of his cards (after all, I wasn’t old enough to apply for cards myself at the time, but was traveling internationally), and ever since, all my cards have been showing a “member since” date of 1988. This includes all the cards I apply for in my own name (which have been all cards since I was 18).

Nowadays there’s not much actual significance to the “member since” date, aside from it maybe looking cool. But there used to be a very real benefit to this. American Express used to report the age of accounts for cards on which you’re an authorized user to credit bureaus, which really helped my credit score early on. When I was young, I had cards on my credit score that already dated back over a decade because of how American Express reported cards. So my average age of accounts was much higher than it would have been otherwise.

Unfortunately they stopped this practice a couple of years ago, so being an authorized user on an old card will no longer increase your average age of accounts. It may still get you a cool “member since” date, though… I’m not sure.

Anyway, that’s the story of why I’m an Amex “customer” since 1988, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has benefited from this old policy.

Does anyone else have a “member since” date that goes back to before they were born?

Comments

  1. Weird, because on all the cards I’ve been holding through my dad’s Centurion account, the Member Since date is from when I was issued my first card, not his in the 1980s.

  2. Yup, I have this same thing…only with Discover. Definitely helped me get credit early on. It’s a huge advantage for people whose parents have established a good credit history, and a big disadvantage for those who don’t have his privilege.

  3. @FD Same for me. Mine shows the date I originally had my first card even though I was on my dad’s account who has been a member since the 80s.

  4. I love that the account number is so large on the back of the new metal card. It makes it so easy to read.

  5. So does this mean that adding a child or sibling as an authorized user on an Amex card will have no benefit in terms of credit scores for the AU? I always assumed that while they may not inherit the “member since” date, they will still inherit the payment history. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks

  6. I don’t go back to before I was born, but my card says “Member since 1974”. I was 6 in 1974.

  7. Mine says 84 but I was born in 89. Oddly, all of my Amex credit lines on my credit report say they’ve been open since 84.

  8. Same thing for me. Mine says 1970, 7 years before I was born. I often get the very confused Amex rep too.

  9. I never even bothered with Amex until I started the hobby so I’m new. I haven’t carried cash for over 20 years though. credit only….. BUT only using credit I had cash to pay.

  10. ’84 here, while I was born in ’90.

    Had fun watching an Amex rep trying to make sense of it after asking me my birth year for verification.

  11. I don’t have that problem but I notice on my wife’s cards that some show my Member Since date and some show hers.

  12. Yup, about 9 years ago my mom added me as an authorized user on her AMEX Gold and she has been a card member since 1978. Back in 2014 I opened a Delta Platinum AMEX on my own and a couple of months later I requested a copy of my credit report which showed both cards (AMEX Gold and Delta AMEX) as being open since 1978. This is one of the reasons why I don’t want to close those cards since they help a lot with the average account age.

  13. I believe Oleg is right..My son is an AU and his shows 16, the date he got the card, not 93 when I first got mine.

  14. Hello, I was an AU for the first several years and my card shows the year I became the AU and not the year my father opened the account.

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