HT: Dans Deals
Disclosure: I do not receive a commission for these cards
No More Repetitive Amex Bonuses?
DansDeals wrote the other day that many American Express reps have confirmed that, starting May 1, if you have had a consumer American Express card and received the bonus from it that you will be ineligible to receive the bonus again, should you sign up down the road. This is pretty much the way Chase has operated and I cannot say I am surprised that American Express is making this move. For years, consumers would apply for an American Express card with a bonus (like the American Express SPG card), cancel it when the annual fee came up, and then apply again. This allowed people to churn these cards and bonuses over and over. A little while back, American Express instituted a policy that if you had that particular card within the last 12 months (and they were firm on that), you would not be able to get the bonus again. So, this kicked off people applying, cancelling, waiting a year, and signing up again.
With the new policy from American Express, one bonus per card, this will no longer be possible on the consumer cards. If you have had the bonus once, you will not be able to get it again. They are also taking it one step further – if you call to cancel the card and try to get some type of retention bonus, they will track your customer record to see if you had attempted for many retention type bonuses. From that, they will consider if you have been a customer with long standing or a hit-and-run customer.
There may be some that say this means that you need to hurry up and get whatever cards now that you have had in the past so you can get one final bonus. Unfortunately, for some cards (like the American Express Platinum card), the language is already in the terms of the application that you cannot get the bonus if you have held it before. For others, like the Amex SPG card, it still has the same language that you cannot get the bonus if you have held the card within the last 12 months. Take stock of your card history to see whether you should pounce for that same card one more time!
What Happens After May 1?
For many people, this new policy is going to put a serious cramp on their miles and points strategy. This will affect cards like:
- Amex Delta Gold – fee waived the first year and normal bonus is around 30,000 miles
- Amex Delta Platinum – fee not waived ($150 before May 1, $195 after May 1) with the special bonuses giving out 25,000 miles and 15,000 elite miles
- Amex Delta Reserve – fee not waived ($450) with the normal bonus being 10,000 miles and 10,000 elite miles
- Amex Platinum – fee not waived ($450) with special bonuses being between 40,000 – 100,000 Membership Reward points
- Amex Premier Rewards Gold – fee waived ($175 after first year) with special bonuses between 50,000 – 75,000 Membership Reward Points
- Amex Starwood Preferred Guest – fee waived for the first year ($65 after) with normal bonus of 25,000 SPG points with special bonuses of 30,000 SPG points
- Amex Platinum Mercedes Benz – fee not waived ($475) and normal bonus of 50,000 Membership Reward points
- Amex Hilton cards
- and others
The change in policy means that if you have ever received one of those bonuses before, you will be ineligible for the bonus after May 1. It does not mean that you cannot get the card again! If you have cancelled the card in the past, you can always sign-up again for the card and continue using it as before. In fact, for many of the cards, you will be able to get the first year’s annual fee waived again (apparently as of right now). This does not mean the end of points earning with Amex cards – it just means that you will need to have a greater amount of card usage to realize the points that the bonuses used to dole out. The good thing is that this appears to only apply to consumer cards – not business cards.
The one policy that I hope American Express removes with these changes is the policy that you can only have four credit cards. To me, that certainly goes against their desire to develop greater card holder loyalty. Who knows? I am sure more information will come out as the time gets closer. In the meantime, put your plan in motion for your next Amex cards!