A regular American Express offer is the offer that always exists. American Express will sometimes launch a “Limited-Time Offer” (LTO) that will offer an increased offer from the regular American Express card offer.
Should You Ever Apply for a Regular American Express Card Offer?
TL:DR: Except for some very rare situations (detailed below), never apply for a regular American Express card offer!!!
Why This Matters
So, why is this even a question? American Express has the (annoying) policy of only issuing one bonus per lifetime for a cardmember. That means you can only get a sign-up bonus with American Express one time.
For this reason, it pays to make sure that that the bonus you are going to apply for is worth it! That means that (most of the time) you should never apply for a regular American Express card offer! Always wait for the special, limited-time offers that come up on the cards.
Let’s look at a couple examples:
- Delta Personal American Express Gold Card – Regular offer is 30,000 miles | Limited-time offer is 70,000 miles
- American Express Hilton Card (no-fee) – Regular offer is 50,000 points | Limited-time offer is 75,000 points
There are numerous other examples across the American Express portfolio as well. As you can see with the examples above, the difference between the regular offer and the limited-time offers can be extreme!
What To Know About Limited-Time Offers
Don’t Like the Offer? Just Wait – Or Find Discrete LTOs
However, always check the differences with limited-time offers. Not all limited-time offers on the same cards are the same. For example, sometimes the limited-time offer on the Business Platinum card may require higher spending thresholds. If hitting $25K of spending in 3 months will be a problem, then maybe you may want to look for a lower offer (like this 75,000 offer that Doctor of Credit details here) or wait for a different limited-time offer.
Search Co-Branded Websites
Another thing to consider is that the public and affiliate limited-time offers may have a parallel offer going on only available through the co-branded website. For example, if you go to make a booking through Hilton, you will receive a similar limited-time offer to the public offers but with a cash statement credit as well.
Care More About the Benefits? Add the Cost
There may be times that you are more concerned with a certain cost-saving benefit than the larger point offers. For example, say there is limited-time offer (LTO) that is offering 25,000 Membership Reward points for the American Express Business Platinum card but it is not running right now. If you have 100,000 Membership Reward points you wanted to redeem directly for a business class ticket, you could get a 35% rebate on the points used if you have the Business Platinum card.
In such a situation, you would be better served getting whatever offer is around right then as you will be getting 35,000 points back you would not get back otherwise (though this is only if you are sold on using those points right away for this ticket).
Chase 5/24 Consideration
Another thing to consider is if a limited-time offer pops up on a card you are considering but you are also at 4 new cards in the last 24 months (for Chase’s calculations). You need to weigh whether you would rather get the next great limited-time offer from Chase (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred that offers 80,000 points) and wait on that Amex LTO or go for the Amex LTO.
They (Almost) Always Last Longer Than Public Offers Say
If you see blogs and websites advertising the limited-time offer with a particular end date, consider that this date is the affiliate date. Referrals from cardmembers typically have a longer life on the limited-time offers. So, if you are trying to decide if that particular limited-time offer is right, you know you normally have a while to decide.