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AMERICAN EXPRESS LAUNCHES NEW OPTIMA CARD STRATEGY

 AMERICAN EXPRESS LAUNCHES NEW OPTIMA CARD STRATEGY
 NEW YORK, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- American Express Travel Related


Services Company, Inc. ("TRS"), today announced that the company is repositioning the Optima(SM) Card with a new strategy that is designed to deliver a compelling product in the marketplace, while providing acceptable financial returns to the company.
 The Optima Card will still have a variable rate, and the benefits and services that have traditionally been offered with the Optima Card will continue to be provided to Cardmembers. Based on the current prime rate of 6.5 percent, the Optima Card will carry one of three rates for purchases:
 -- The lowest rate will be 12.50 percent, for Optima Cardmembers who have at least one year's tenure, spend at least $1,000 on the Optima Card, and have made no late payments during the last 12 consecutive months on his/her Optima and American Express(R) Charge Card accounts.
 -- New Cardmembers and Cardmembers who have been in good standing for the last 12 consecutive months on both their Optima and American Express Card accounts, but do not meet the spending or one-year tenure requirements, will qualify for a rate of 14.75 percent.
 -- Cardmembers whose Optima or American Express Card accounts have not been in good standing during the last 12 months will pay a rate of 18.75 percent.
 The cash rates for each of these groups of Cardmembers will initially be 17.4 percent, 17.4 percent and 19.4 percent, respectively. All of these rates are subject to change semi-annually based on the prime rate on the last business day of January and July.
 Cardmembers will be notified about the new rates beginning April 1, 1992, and these rates will be effective for billing periods ending from June 1, 1992 through Sept. 30, 1992. They can qualify for a new rate category twice per year based on their payment behavior, tenure and spending.
 "The beauty of this strategy is that the more people that qualify for the lowest rate, the more profitable our overall business will become. We're also offering our Cardmembers a substantial incentive to handle their credit responsibly," said Frank Skillern, president of American Express Centurion Bank. "We certainly could have chosen a much higher rate -- like those charged by the majority of Visa and MasterCard issuers and Discover. But our aim is to fashion a product that provides greater value to our customers while delivering a reasonable profit to our company. This new configuration does both."
 The annual fee for the Optima Card will continue to be $15 for Personal and Gold Card members and free to Platinum Card(R) members.
 A series of measures have also been taken to better manage the credit portfolio. Thus far the company has:
 -- Tightened criteria for new card membership and credit line increases
 -- Limited exposure by deciding to restrict Optima cash advances based on Cardmember tenure
 -- Deployed more resources that focus on potential delinquencies earlier in the credit process
 The Optima Card is issued by American Express Centurion Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. TRS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Express Company (NYSE: AXP) -- a family of travel, financial and communications businesses.
 -0- 2/5/92
 /CONTACT: Maureen Bailey, 212-640-3311, or Gail Wasserman, 212-640-2675, both of American Express Travel Related Services Company/
 (AXP) CO: American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. ST: New York IN: FIN SU:


GK-OS -- NY010 -- 7053 02/05/92 09:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 5, 1992
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