Are Tiered Bonuses the New Hot Thing for Amex?

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amex business tiered bonus

Amex Tiered Business Card Bonuses are Brilliant

One of the things I look for when studying banks and credit cards is trends. Sometimes trends don’t tell us much, but by looking in detail, we can often make better predictions as to how we fit into the scheme of things. Why does that matter? Well personally I feel it helps me in determining my overall strategy. I do think a lot about strategy, but then again I like to travel a lot.

With that bit of philosophy out of the way, I have noticed a trend with American Express that perhaps isn’t new, however I haven’t noticed it before. Perhaps you recall that 150K bonus on the American Express Business Platinum card a couple of months ago? Well, what wasn’t really publicized was that it was a tiered bonus.

100K First Then 50K Later

The bonus was actually 100,000 Membership Rewards points after $10K in spend and another 50,000 points after another $10K in spend. The first time I had heard the offer was tiered was when the agent mentioned it to me when I applied via the telephone. Just as she explained would happen, 100,000 Membership Rewards points posted after I hit the first $10K in spend and then the additional 50,000 posted when I completed the entire $20K in spend.

Another Tiered Offer

amex business tiered bonus

Then the other day a reader emailed me describing a targeted offer he received on the Amex Business Gold Rewards card. The base part of his offer gave 20,000 Membership Rewards after $3K in spend during the first 3 months. Terrible right? Well it seems so, but it really isn’t.

You see, that bonus can be had 4X. So this reader can get a total of 80,000 Membership Rewards points for $12K in spend during the first 3 months. He gets 20,000 points for each $3K in spend. Of course this person is a Miles to Memories reader and plans to maximize the bonus! For the record, there have been offers of 75,000 points with less spend, but this is still very very good.

A Brilliant Strategy for Amex

American Express has been pretty aggressive with handing out bonuses lately. I actually think this tiered bonus thing is absolutely brilliant. They get to advertise the high bonus amount, but most people aren’t as organized as us and won’t earn the entire thing.

I worked in sales for a long time and know pretty well how people think. Many people will see that offer and say, “There is no way I can spend $12K in 3 months, but I can spend $6K.” In their mind they are still correlating the card with an 80,000 point bonus, but they will most likely only decide to earn 40,000 points. A very interesting sales tactic.

Does This Mean Anything

I don’t know if this really means anything or if it is just another meaningless observation. Perhaps tiered bonuses on Amex Business cards have been around a long time and I just didn’t notice. Either way, I do think these really high tiered bonuses are good for us. I can spend $20K in 3 months to earn 150,0000 points. Keep it up Amex and I will hit that highest tier every single time even though I suspect many people won’t.


Between these tiered bonuses and the realization that some Amex Business targeted offers don’t come with the 12 month language, I think there is an incredible amount of opportunity with “struggling” bank. They seem to be both in need of new cardholders and willing to try new things. That is generally a killer combination for those of us who are looking to maximize. Only time will tell.


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