How Can I Negotiate With American Express to Get My Card Back?


Dear Steve,

A failed business deal caused me to lose my American Express card, and in return, my 20-year-old personal account that I never missed a payment on or was never late was canceled as well.

I want to pay off the defaulted balance in return for my personal card being returned. However, I’m so concerned that I will do this, and American Express will say screw you and your 20-year faithfulness to us. So how can I ensure, even with my lawyer involved, that if I paid the default and settled that biz card, they will allow me to have my personal card, which is still in good standing, just closed because of my business?

Please help!! Any suggestions or advice you can give me? I’m rebuilding my personal credit and could use that 19-year account back on, and the stain it has left on my business credit removed.




Dear Morgan,

I believe I understand where you are coming from and understand your position that it feels wrong that you lost the benefits of having that decades-long American Express card and account. It feels wrong and immoral.

It Feels Horrible

There is a lot at play here. I would not be surprised if you looked at your original business card application that you did not personally guarantee the business card account. That is usually how these things get tied together. So a problem with one account bleeds into the other.

How You Get Sucked In

For example, in the current American Express terms and conditions on a business account, it says:

“By submitting this application, you, as an individual and the Authorizing Officer of the Company, (a) are requesting us to open an Account in the name of the Company, (b) are requesting that we issue Card(s) as you direct, (c) are agreeing to be jointly and severally liable with the Company for all charges to the account…” – Source

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So when the business account goes into default, it can drag your personal account down with it.

Want to Escalate Your Unhappiness?

If you are unhappy with the American Express decision, you do have some options. The current American Express card agreement says, “Most customer concerns can be resolved by calling our Customer Service Department at the number listed on the back of your card. In the event Customer Service is unable to resolve a complaint to your satisfaction, this section explains how claims can be resolved through mediation, arbitration, or litigation. It includes an arbitration provision.”

AMEX Reality

Having an American Express card or any credit card is a privilege and not a right. The creditor can call it quits and cancel your account at any time.

If we go back to the fine print of the AMEX business or personal card, you will find the following:

“We may:

  • cancel your Account,
  • suspend the ability to make charges,
  • cancel or suspend any feature on your Account, and
  • notify merchants that your Account has been cancelled or suspended.

If we do any of these, you must still pay us for all charges under the terms of this Agreement.

We may do any of these things at our discretion, even if you pay on time and your Account is not in default.

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

If your Account is cancelled, you must destroy your cards.

We may agree to reinstate your Account after a cancellation. If we do this, we may:

  • reinstate any additional cards issued on your Account,
  • charge you any applicable annual fees, and
  • charge you a fee for reinstating the Account.”

So Negotiate

You can always attempt to negotiate with American Express to reinstate your account. But, unfortunately, I could not even begin to give you odds of success.

Try yourself, hire an attorney, or enlist the help of someone like Damon Day to make your case.

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It would be best to realize it is a long shot, and American Express has already made its position known.

So what do you want to do now: accept the decision, fight it, or arbitrate? Let me know in the comments below.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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