Amex Business Card Churning Changes
A couple of years ago American Express changed the rules on sign-up bonuses for people who had previously held a product. These changes were as follows:
- For personal credit and charge cards you could only get a bonus if you had never had the product before.
- For business credit and charge cards you could get a bonus as long as you hadn’t had that same product within the past 12 months.
Unfortunately it seems that American Express has changed that. As of today (it could have been changed within the past couple of days) business card applications have the same restrictions as personal card applications. Specifically this is what it says in the terms on the Business Rewards Gold.
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.
It isn’t just the Business Gold. I checked the applications of the Business Green, Business Platinum and SimplyCash and they all have the same language. For some reason the SPG Business card still has the old “12 months” language. Hopefully it will remain that way. (Update: The SPG Business card does now have the language on the application page.)
What Does This Mean?
I know there is some confusion with my use of the term “Once Per Lifetime”, but I haven’t found a better way to put it. This language means that you cannot receive a bonus on a product if you have ever had it before even if you didn’t receive a bonus the first time. This means you want to think hard before converting products, since that will eliminate your chances of getting a sign-up bonus in the future on the new product you convert to.
As I reported the other day, American Express does send out targeted offers without this language from time to time. There really isn’t any way to ensure you get targeted other than opting in to marketing. Even then you simply have to hope and wait. You can find out how to opt-in here.
I do want to say that some targeted offers will be sent out with these new terms as well. Greg, the Frequent Miler told me the other day that his son received a Business Gold offer with this new language, but we hadn’t heard of it anywhere else until now.
This is yet more bad news for card churners following the news of Chase’s tightening and other changes in the space. For now it seems that American Express is a “once per lifetime” bank across almost all products. Hopefully this will change at some point, but that is the situation we find ourselves in now.
HT: Joe S. via comment on my previous post.