Serve Student Edition?

Several times in the past I’ve written about the American Express Campus Edition card.  Most recently, I wrote: Exercising the Amex Campus Edition card.  This card can be bought and reloaded at Barnes & Noble Campus bookstores.  Those with easy access to a campus bookstore and a credit card that offers a good bookstore bonus can do well with these cards.  That said, reloads are limited to $6,000 every 12 months, so the opportunities for earning miles or cash back are limited.

Now, it turns out that Amex is no longer offering the card online to new applicants.  If you browse to the Campus Edition website, you’ll be shown the American Express Serve card instead.  If you scroll down, you’ll see that Amex is no longer accepting new Campus addition account registrations unless you purchased a temporary card:

Serve Student Edition

It’s clear that Amex is phasing out the Campus Edition card, but that raises a number of questions:

  • Will Amex continue to support existing cardholders?
  • Will Amex introduce a new version of Serve targeted to college students?  Serve Student Edition, perhaps?
  • Will we be able to reload Serve (or Serve Student Edition) at Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstores?

That last point is, perhaps, the most exciting possibility and one that doesn’t seem unrealistic at all.  Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstores are already able to reload Amex Campus Edition cards, so why not Serve as well?

Unfortunately, the Serve website does not yet show campus bookstores as a reload option:

Serve Student Edition

That said, my guess is that the capability is coming.  I would love to test it right now, but I’ve already converted all four cards I manage from Serve & Bluebird to REDbird (see “REDcard changes everything”).  I’m counting on readers who have stuck with Serve to test this out.  Please let me know what you find!

Note: Amex calls in-store reloads “cash reloads”, but that doesn’t mean that cash is the only option.  It is up to each store to determine what payment types they’ll accept.

Why we care

Campus Edition bookstores currently allow credit cards to be used to pay for reloads at the register.  I expect that if Serve becomes reloadable at these stores, the credit card option will continue.  That would be fantastic because Serve is better in many ways than the Amex Campus Edition card: it has much higher reload limits ($5K per month), almost no fees (whereas the Campus Edition card has many), and many easy ways to use the money in your account (e.g. bill pay, withdraw to bank account, free ATM withdrawals, send money to friends).  For those with credit cards that earn a bonus at bookstores, this would be especially beneficial.  Also, Serve allows $1,000 per month of online credit card reloads in addition to the $5,000 per month of in-store reloads.  So, in that way, it would be even better than REDbird (the Target Prepaid REDcard) which only allows in-store credit card reloads.  Keep in mind, though, that some credit cards charge a cash advance fee for online reloads (see “Some online Serve credit loads now posting as cash advances”).

What do you think?  Is Serve Student Edition coming?  Do you care?

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. The Campus Bookstores charge a $3.95 fee to reload and I think the Campus Edition has limits of $500 per load and $1000 per month.

    I suppose the reload fee is acceptable if the registers will allow serve loads over $500 and up to the serve $2500 limit.

    I may try to load a Serve card in January when my Campus Editions will be eligible for reloading again.

    • They charge $3.95 for reloading the Campus Edition card, but I don’t think they would charge a fee for reloading Serve if/when they are able to. The situation would be similar to the Amex for Target card ($3 fee to reload) and the new REDbird (free to reload). I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes if you try it.

  2. Interesting that you’ve switched all of your cards to redbird. I have four cards as well, and only switched one to redbird, and regretted having done it so soon. The amex offers around this time of year have been pretty great, especially small business saturday. Maxing out subaccounts on a single serve card was an easy $150, plus there have also been outher valuable tweetable offers like walmart and starbucks.

    • That’s true, I definitely left a lot of cash back on the table. That said, I barely had time to use all of my regular Amex cards on small business Saturday so I doubt I would have done much better with the additional cards. We were traveling that day and had to rush out at night when we got home. As to other Amex Sync promos, same thing: I’ve been having trouble finding time to make use of them with all of my regular cards. That said, I might switch one card back just so that I can test out things like this.

  3. The Barnes and Nobel in my campus can’t reload my AMEX CE card anymore. The guy at the register tried over and over but non of my 2 cards worked! It kept saying the card is invalid! Could it be part of rolling out process? Any idea?
    Thanks,
    Sam

  4. How is it that you were able to get 4 RedCARDS? If you include your spouse that should only allow you to have 2 cards right? Isn’t it limited to one among Bluebird, RedCARD & Serve per SSN?

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