No Bonus on Personal Amex Cards if you Hold a Different Card? Analyzing A Recent Change

19

Join over 5,000 people who are subscribed to receive a once daily email with all of our posts. Never miss out! Click here to subscribe.
Learn how to maximize your points & miles! Join Our Facebook Group!

american express bonus current cardholder

Can Current Amex Cardholders Receive a Bonus on Another Product?

I received an email from a reader yesterday who had a question regarding the Premier Rewards Gold card. He said:

“Hi Shawn,

Amex chat told me that since I already have an everyday card that I cant get the bonus on the premier rewards gold (never had the prg card before), do they enforce this?

Thanks.”

My first reaction was the chat agent is wrong. It isn’t uncommon for a chat rep to tell customers something that is completely false. It has actually happened to me a lot. Before I responded, I decided to dig a little further.

Digging A Little Deeper

american express bonus current cardholder
No bonus shows for the Premier Rewards Gold since it knows I am a current customer.

The first thing I did was go to visit the application page for the Premier Rewards Gold card. Immediately I noticed something very odd. It wasn’t showing a sign-up bonus. Instead I got the following message:

“You have been identified as a current American Express Card Member. You may have seen an offer advertised for this product previously, but the offer is not available to current American Express Card Members.”

I visited this page through both Google and an affiliate link to see if there was a difference. In each of the cases I received the same message. Of course, the website is using a cookie to identify me as a customer, but what if I use incognito/private mode?

american express bonus current cardholder
The bonus shows in incognito mode.

Success! In incognito mode the normal offer of 25,000 points comes up. (Sometimes it will show 50,000 points.) So next lets look at the offer terms. Immediately I noticed this wording:

“If we identify you as currently having an American Express® Card account, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”

Uh-oh. This is bad! Or is it? Actually this wording appears on the offer terms for all of the American Express personal cards. For example here it is for the personal Platinum card:

“If we identify you as currently having an American Express® Card account, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had a Platinum Card® account enrolled in the Membership Rewards® program.”

Similar wording is found on the Everyday, SPG, Hilton & Delta cards.

american express bonus current cardholder
Similar language in the “Offer Terms” for the Hilton HHonors American Express.

Is This New?

This language is actually not new, but the removal of the bonus offer on the PRG seems to be. The language itself was added during the change last year which limited everyone to one bonus per product in their lifetime on personal cards. As far as I know, it has never been enforced.

What Does This Mean?

While all cards have the language as shown above in the “Offer Terms” section, the only one that removes the bonus offer when trying to apply is the Premier Rewards Gold. The offer pages for all of the other Amex personal cards still show the bonus.

I’m still not sure if the chat agent is right, but according to the terms and the website, current Amex cardholders aren’t eligible for a bonus on any Amex personal card. Perhaps this new website behavior with the Premier Rewards Gold is their first step in actually enforcing this?

Your Experience

I have done a lot of research on this topic and have not been able to find a case where a current Amex cardholder of a different product was denied the bonus on a new product because of this language. Hopefully it stays this way.

Since this development with the Premier Rewards Gold card seems to be new, I thought I would put it out for you guys to chime in with your experiences. Has anyone been denied a bonus on a personal Amex card because they currently hold a different card? Has anyone with another Amex card recently been approved for the Premier Rewards Gold card with the bonus?

Thanks in advance for sharing!


This post may contain referral, affiliate or sponsor links that provide Miles to Memories compensation. Thank you for your support.

19 COMMENTS

  1. I have seen that message for the PRG when I link not in incognito mode for the last 6-9 months. I have never held the card before. Unfortunately, I haven’t applied, so I can’t tell if you’d the bonus.

  2. This is true. I signed up for the PRG in 2013 and never received the 25k MR bonus (signed up in incognito mode and was not logged on amex.com 25k bonus offer). I had SPG Amex and never had the PRG. Long story short I never got my 25k bonus even after appealing to senior management. They kept saying that I was not eligible because I was an existing cardholder (again, never had the PRG). Funny enough Amex sends me targeted offers for the Platinum card all the time. All of them go in the trash because I don’t trust that I’ll get it. I’m done with American Express over this issue. I’ve been a loyal SPG card member for 10 years (since I was 18).. I’m even switching hotel chains to get away from Amex (Hyatt here I come).

  3. I had the Delta Gold Card years ago and recently got a new one. I met the minimum spend requirement and received no bonus. Though the “once in a lifetime” rule was buried in the application fine print, AMEX had a precedent of at least awarding you the difference between what you originally received and the new offer if the new offer was higher (which it was, by 25,000 miles). They refused to adjust my balance (I called several times) and I finally begged and got 3,000 miles. Until I cancel the card when the fee is due I use the card only for Delta bag waivers and AMEX promo offers like the recent spend $50 at Smart and Final, get $25 back. If you want to avoid feeling ripped off, apply only for an AMEX card that waives the fee the first year (or doesn’t charge one). Then, use the card only for AMEX offers and do your big spending instead on CHASE, CITI or Barclays cards.

  4. I’ve seen that same message in red before, notably last February when I signed up for my SPG. At that time I also applied through incognito mode, thus eliminating the warning message, and I did receive my signup bonus, although its possible YMMV.

  5. I signed up for the PRG with the 50k offer in an icognito tab, and the app went through. After I received the card and met the requirements I called in to request they expedite the posting of my points, and I was told I wasn’t eligible. I waited it out and the 50,000 points showed up as expected after two billing periods. So in my case, they did not enforce it. I already had an AMEX Blue Cash Everyday but no other AMEX-issued cards.

  6. I received the same PRG note online so I applied for the Every Day Preferred card last April and received the bonus (annual fee not waived). I also upgraded my Hilton Amex to a Surpass. My offer was through the Amex site and I only got 50,000 points but no credit pull so I thought it was worth it. It seems this rule may be enforced on certain cards but not others.

  7. I have been a card churner for years and years. I have had many Am Ex products, both personal and business and so has my wife. I recently did the Surpass, like for the 3rd time in our lives and came to find out that they refused to give us the bonus pts. even after we met the minimum spend. So I requested our $75 fee back and got them credited….of course I closed the accounts and that is when they agreed to refund the fee. I will need to start churning only the business versions.

  8. I signed up for Delta Amex and BCP in 2014 then I got PRG in early 2015 for the 50k bonus. The bonus was posted after two billing statements. Now my question is, if I want to switch my Delta Amex card to Everyday card or Hilton HHonor card (dont wanna pay for the $95 AF), will I be eligible to signup the Everyday Preferred or Hilton HHonor Surpass and get the bonus later?

  9. I saw this very language when preparing to apply online for the PRG with 50k bonus in February.

    I called in to inquire with an actual person about it and was advised that I would only be ineligible if I had the same card product before. The CSR verified I was indeed eligible and completed my application over the phone. Points posted as expected.

  10. I have seen this for every Amex card I have applied for after my 1st card. I always apply incognito now.

    In the last year I and my wife each have applied for and received the bonus on Amex:

    Hilton Surpass
    Hilton HHonors
    SPG personal
    SPG Business
    PRG

    Applied for and received card but not yet met spend: Business Gold rewards 75k/10k spend.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here