Breaking: Amex Restricts Bonuses to “Once Per Lifetime” On Business Cards

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Amex Business Card Churning

Amex Business Card Churning Changes

A couple of years ago American Express changed the rules on sign-up bonuses for people who had previously held a product. These changes were as follows:

  • For personal credit and charge cards you could only get a bonus if you had never had the product before.
  • For business credit and charge cards you could get a bonus as long as you hadn’t had that same product within the past 12 months.

Unfortunately it seems that American Express has changed that. As of today (it could have been changed within the past couple of days) business card applications have the same restrictions as personal card applications. Specifically this is what it says in the terms on the Business Rewards Gold.

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

It isn’t just the Business Gold. I checked the applications of the Business Green, Business Platinum and SimplyCash and they all have the same language. For some reason the SPG Business card still has the old “12 months” language. Hopefully it will remain that way. (Update: The SPG Business card does now have the language on the application page.)

What Does This Mean?

I know there is some confusion with my use of the term “Once Per Lifetime”, but I haven’t found a better way to put it. This language means that you cannot receive a bonus on a product if you have ever had it before even if you didn’t receive a bonus the first time. This means you want to think hard before converting products, since that will eliminate your chances of getting a sign-up bonus in the future on the new product you convert to.

Some Hope?

As I reported the other day, American Express does send out targeted offers without this language from time to time. There really isn’t any way to ensure you get targeted other than opting in to marketing. Even then you simply have to hope and wait. You can find out how to opt-in here.

I do want to say that some targeted offers will be sent out with these new terms as well. Greg, the Frequent Miler told me the other day that his son received a Business Gold offer with this new language, but we hadn’t heard of it anywhere else until now.

Conclusion

This is yet more bad news for card churners following the news of Chase’s tightening and other changes in the space. For now it seems that American Express is a “once per lifetime” bank across almost all products. Hopefully this will change at some point, but that is the situation we find ourselves in now.

HT: Joe S. via comment on my previous post.


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36 COMMENTS

  1. I only care about the SPG biz card, and that’ll probably go away soon. At this rate Amex won’t have any cards left that are worth churning anyway.

  2. My reading:

    Amex and Chase must feel they are secure enough to cherrypick the “best” customers and not bother with certain segments. Ordinary customers who have life changes, close their business, then 10 years later start back up are not people they feel they need to “entice” into American Express. Either they will pick Amex because of the card features which they previously experienced, or they won’t.

    Unfortunate though for us, and to me also another aspect of the arrogance of Amex despite it’s eroding position.

  3. as of 3:46 EST, AmEx business Gold still says not had the card with in the last 12 months… hmm maybe it’s time for me to get it again before it changes.. it’s offering 50k for $5k spend.. it’s not 75k but not horrible either..

  4. I tried to post with links but guess it thought I was spamming.

    AMEX SPG standard offer also says (so this is still good):

    OFFER TERMS

    Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months.

    • You know shit gets REAL when a Chinese churner site links back. Lets not even start talking about their population size…

  5. As pointed out to me on my blog: It turns out that SPG biz card has the once per lifetime language after all. Even though the 12 month language is shown on the landing page offer terms, if you click the “apply” button you’ll get to a page with the new language.

  6. Not surprising. All the constant blogging of how to cheat the system killed this and the citibank credit card funding of bank accounts . Citibank will follow suit on their credit cards within 90 days according to what someone who works there tells me. Per her, they have folks who constantly read flyer talk just to learn customer habits.

    • The sooner they cut off the CC app funding to blogs the better. Get rid of these deal killing cockroaches. Sadly a few yrs too late.

  7. On Amex Business Rewards card, can I use this card to buy visa gift card and not charge as cash advance and qualified as a purchase?Thanks

  8. My SPG Business referral link that I made for my wife a little over a week ago still has the 12-month language on the application page. Anyone that wants to use it can. Win-win for both of us. Check it out if you want to verify… https://www262.americanexpress.com/business-card-application/starwood-preferred-guest-business-credit-card/apply/44664-9-0-67517124D744D4A4DB4672BCC515CCA5F630B68437904BAA-200109-dz61GyKl74b5LOZi3Lpxi3Y4PFs=?om_rid=AROBgK&om_mid=_BWruZQB9AWsd2w&om_lid=axp2

  9. […] American Express has long had language on their personal credit cards that limits you from getting a signup bonus if you’ve ever gotten a signup bonus for that card beforehand. It used to be that you could churn the business cards, but within the past few weeks that has changed so that even most (all?) new American Express business card applications have language stating that you’re only eligible for the signup bonus if you’ve never had the card […]

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