Credit card issuers have definitely tightened up in their handing out of new card member bonuses – especially to repeat customers! American Express has taken a lot of negative response to their once-per-lifetime policy on sign-up bonuses. But, they have been making some really great moves to balance that out.
American Express Is Smartly Balancing Their Once-Per-Lifetime Policy
What is American Express’ Once-Per-Lifetime Policy?
For those that may not understand what this policy is, American Express will not allow customers have ever held a particular card before to apply for that card again and receive the sign-up bonus again. If you just want to apply for the card and not get the bonus (applying for a repeat card, that is), they will happily allow you to do that. But you will not get the sign-up bonus.
This is likely one of the most disliked policies regarding new bonuses. American Express has been getting more generous over the years with these bonuses and people who previously had the card are getting left out from receiving those bonuses. It can hurt, especially when you get a targeted offer (and the language excluding you is there).
How Amex Is Smartly Balancing Against That Policy
But, American Express has been making, what I think are, really smart moves. There were some moves that I had questioned as to whether they were smart or desperate but how they have been handling some of these promos shows me they are actually do a really good job with balancing out their once-per-lifetime policy – and that is something that people like us have wanted to see.
So, what are these moves that are so “smart?” American Express has been upping and making more frequent their referral bonuses. These bonuses allow current cardholders to send out referral links to friends and family and allow them to sign-up for the card and the current cardholder gets a nice big bonus for that successful conversion.
For example, if you have a SPG card, you could send the invite to people and receive 7,500 Starpoints for every successful application – up to 55,000 points per calendar year in this way! Given that the highest that card sign-up bonus has ever been was only 35,000 points, this is a really good deal!
Rewarding Current Cardholders
This kind of referral system works great because it gives you, the cardholder, the opportunity to earn more points on that card by basically being a salesperson for Amex to the people around you. It encourages you to talk up a particular Amex product while rewarding you with the referral points when you are successful.
Yes, you cannot get the sign-up bonus again but this is something that is available to you each and every calendar year with a healthy cap on that year. With the Hilton Surpass card alone, my wife and I each maxed out the referral bonuses to earn a total of 160,000 Hilton points – without having to spend a dime toward a minimum spending threshold! This is how you can turn your Amex card into an advantage instead of hating on Amex that you cannot get the high current offer of 100,000 points.
Authorized User Bonuses!
They have also been sending out offers to add authorized users and earn bonus points that way as well. Again, you can get some great points that reward you for being a cardholder – something that excludes you from getting a sign-up bonus again. Instead, Amex is now rewarding you for being a good, continual customer.
Do I like the once-per-lifetime policy? Of course not! But, I love the points I am able to earn each year with referral bonuses and it is something that helps me to keep these cards year after year.
Have you taken advantage of the Amex referral bonuses?
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