American Express Adds Restrictive Language to Sign Up Bonuses To Combat Abuse


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amex signup bonus restrictions

American Express Adds Restrictive Language to Sign Up Bonuses To Combat Abuse

American Express has updated terms in some of its cards to give itself more options to go after those who engage in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome bonus offer. The new language is showing up on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card offer for example, in the Terms & Conditions.

New Restrictions

Here’s the part of the language that has been added:

Purchases to meet the spend requirement do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of traveler’s checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards; person-to-person payments, or purchases of any cash equivalents.

If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome bonus offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain a welcome bonus offer(s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit the welcome bonus to, we may freeze the welcome bonus credited to, or we may take away the welcome bonus from your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.


These are things that American Express has already been doing in the past, but they’re now in writing the the offer terms, so they have more leeway to clawback bonuses, freeze points or shut down accounts. Things that you should avoid are applying with somebody else’s targeted offer, purchasing gift cards to meet spend requirement and closing or downgrading cards within 12 months.

HT: Doctor of Credit

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  1. I think that’s all fair except the canceling the card within 12 months. Some cards just aren’t worth the annual fee. They are basically saying you have to pay a second year annual fee or forget about getting another Amex card or lose your sign up bonus. Not really fair in my opinion.

  2. So does that mean that a card which has an annual fee you have to wait at least 12 months to cancel and then incur the annual fee for the 2nd year?

  3. if this doesnt SCREAM “i know what you did this summer…” then I dont know wtf will…

    its time to go underground dude…

  4. […] You would only be 25 points away from a $5 Best Buy reward gift certificate (you could look at it as $4.50 in rewards).  If you were at the Elite Plus level you would earn enough points from this purchase for $10 in Best Buy rewards certificates.  This is a profitable deal with a 2% cash back card but I would suggest using a card with minimum spend left.  Doing that would increase your return exponentially.  Be cautious with American Express cards though. […]


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