Full Review of Credit One Bank American Express Card
Available to applicants with average credit
Simple rewards structure
Access to American Express benefits
Low rewards rate
Higher fees and APR
- Applicant Eligibility: Many rewards credit cards are limited to people with very good to excellent credit. But the Credit One Bank American Express card is available to consumers with average credit, which, according to this card’s issuer, means your credit history includes limited payment issues and your credit score is similar to the average of most people. For those with average credit, this card may provide an opportunity to earn rewards and exclusive American Express benefits, which are typically reserved for those with good to excellent credit.
- Simple Rewards Structure: Credit card rewards can be confusing. Some cards offer higher rewards rates in certain spending categories that change each quarter, or set spending caps on rewards categories. The Credit One Bank American Express card keeps it simple. You’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase you make. There are no spending categories to remember, and no limit on how much you can earn in rewards. If you spend $15,000 in a year with this card, you’ll get $150 in rewards.
- American Express Benefits: Credit cards for people with average credit tend to have few benefits. But the Credit One Bank American Express card offers those exclusive to American Express-branded cards. On top of standards like travel insurance and extended warranty protection, you can enjoy benefits like:
- Amex Offers: Get access to exclusive discounts on dining, shopping and travel offered through American Express.
- Entertainment Access: Get tickets to concerts and events before they’re available to the general public on the Amex Network website.
- Return protection: If you attempt to return an eligible purchase and the retailer won’t accept it, you may qualify for reimbursement through American Express.
- Travel discounts: Get discounts on select flights, car rentals, hotel stays, and cruises.
- Low Rewards Rate: While the Credit One Bank American Express card does allow you to earn unlimited 1% cash back, that’s a fairly low rewards rate. Even if you only have average credit, you can find other rewards credit cards offering higher rewards rates so you can earn more cash back or points on every purchase. One option is the QuicksilverOne from Capital One card, which has the same $39 annual fee as the Credit One Bank American Express card. You may qualify for the card if you have average credit, and you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. If you were to spend $15,000 per year with the QuicksilverOne card, you’d earn $225 in rewards—$75 more than if you’d used the Credit One Bank American Express card for the same purchases.
- No Bonus: Many credit cards offer an incentive to spend a certain amount within the first few months of opening an account. But the Credit One Bank American Express card doesn’t have a one-time offer for new cardholders, which could mean that you miss out on hundreds depending on your spending. If you’re looking for an alternative, consider the Discover it Secured card. It does require a security deposit, like all secured cards, but new cardholders qualify for Discover’s cash back match program. At the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all of the cash you earned during the year. There’s no limit to how much the company will match. If you earned $250 in rewards, Discover will match it, giving you $500 in total cash back.
- Higher Fees and APR: While the Credit One Bank American Express card does accept applicants with less-than-stellar credit, it does have higher-than-usual fees and APR. The regular APR on purchases is 23.99%. According to the Federal Reserve, the maximum rate is much higher than the national average APR of 16.61% for all cards that assessed interest as of February 2020. If you carry a balance, that APR can cost you more in interest charges. There’s also a $39 annual fee and a $19 authorized user fee to add someone to the account. If you use this card outside of the United States, there’s also a foreign transaction fee, which can add to your overall costs. For a less expensive rewards card, check out the Petal card. It has no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, authorized user fee, or late payment fee, and you can earn up to 1.5% cash back.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Motivated to create positive credit history
The Credit One Bank American Express card is best for people with average credit or above who want a simple, easy-to-use rewards card. You’ll earn a flat rewards rate on every purchase, so it’s a good option if you don’t want the hassle of remembering different spending categories or juggling multiple cards. Instead, you can use one card for all of your everyday purchases and earn the same rewards rate.
This card is good if you want a more robust credit card that you can potentially qualify for with average credit. It offers significant benefits that can enhance and streamline your travel and shopping experiences, giving you complimentary car rental and travel accident insurance and discounts on flights and hotels.
Rewards Earning Details
The Credit One Bank American Express card’s rewards are simple: You’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase you make. There’s no limit to how much you can earn.
However, there are some limitations on the types of transactions eligible for rewards. You can’t earn cash back on cash advances, balance transfers, interest, fees, or while your account is not in good standing (i.e., delinquent or otherwise in default).
Rewards Redemption Details
The Credit One Bank American Express card has only one redemption option. Your cash back is automatically issued as a statement credit on each statement with at least one purchase.
These statement credits reduce your balance but don’t count as payments, so you’re still required to make the minimum required payment by your statement due date.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
To get the most value from your Credit One Bank American Express card, use it for all of your routine purchases. You’ll earn 1% cash back on every purchase you make, so you’ll accumulate rewards on everyday essentials.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average consumer spends the following each year:
- Food: $7,923
- Apparel and services: $1,866
- Gas and motor oil: $2,109
- Entertainment: $3,226
- Personal care products and services: $768
If your spending mirrors the average consumer’s in these categories, you’d spend $15,892 per year. If you used your Credit One Bank American Express card to pay for each transaction, you’d earn 1% cash back on every purchase, giving you $158.92 in total rewards.
Credit One Bank American Express Card’s Outstanding Benefits
This card offers some standout benefits that people with average credit typically do not have access to, including:
- Discount on Delta flights: Get up to 10% off eligible flights.
- Hotel discounts: Get up to 20% off the lowest available rates at participating properties.
- Car rental discounts: Get up to 25% off car rentals from major companies worldwide.
- Entertainment Access: Get access to ticket sales before the general public. In the past, American Express cardholders have secured presale tickets to major concerts, sporting events, and Broadway shows.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance
- Travel accident insurance
- Retail protection
- Extended warranty protection
While the Credit One Bank American Express card is an American Express card, it’s issued and administered by Credit One Bank not American Express. This is unfortunate for cardholders.
According to J.D. Power’s Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Credit One Bank was ranked last out of 11 national card issuers in terms of customer satisfaction. If you have questions or issues with your account, that could be problematic.
Credit One Bank’s customer service team is available via phone. An automated line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 877-825-3242. However, you can only reach live customer service representatives during select hours.
This card offers security features you expect from a credit card, including:
- Zero liability protection
- Online access to your Experian credit report
- Fraud alerts
- Mobile app access
For people with average credit looking for a simple rewards credit card with the extra benefits and perks, the Credit One Bank American Express card could be a good match. You’ll earn unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase, and you can take advantage of benefits through American Express.
However, you may qualify for other credit cards that offer higher rewards rates, one-time offer opportunities and better cardholder experience reputation, so consider all your options before making a decision.