Did My Gold Card App Land Me in Amex Pop-Up Jail?
I’ve never had the Amex Gold Card. That might be a shock to some, but I just didn’t see a lot of appeal in the card. Sure, it has an excellent 4x earning at grocery stores, but the Citi Premier at 3x and rotating 5x on my Discover and Freedom cards is plenty for me. Plus, the $250 fee is a turn-off. But it was time to pull the trigger. And now I may have landed myself in Amex pop-Up jail.
Amex…Why the Pop-Up?
Let’s get things straight. I’ve never held the Gold Card. American Express has their restrictive “once per lifetime” rules for card welcome bonus offers, and I have held off applying for this particular product for years. The regular card offer is unappealing, especially with the $250 annual fee. But the elevated 60,000+ point offers started to turn my head. But I’d dropped under Chase 5/24, and I took about 18 months to make some changes to my Chase card portfolio, avoiding new personal offers during that time. Now I’m picking up non-Chase personal cards again. Time to finally get the Amex Gold Card.
A friend has been pestering me to apply through his referral for a while. Like MtM contributor Benjy, he uses his Gold Card, Blue Business Plus Card, and Schwab Platinum to generate Membership Rewards that he cashes out monthly. It’s a great strategy, just not for me.
Using his link, I filled out the card application. American Express has never denied me for a card, mind you. So getting the pop-up was the last thing I expected.
I Thought We Were Friends, Amex
I know that previously having a card product is one primary factor that makes you ineligible for a welcome bonus. But American Express also uses other factors to determine eligibility for new card welcome offers.
I have made some Amex portfolio changes in the past year. I dropped a Delta card and my Hilton Aspire card. I picked up the Delta Reserve for Business Card about 18 months ago, and The Platinum Card about 9 months ago, along with the Hilton Business Credit Card. Within the past 8 months, I’ve picked up two Business Gold cards.
It’s these latter three that have probably influenced things the most. I pulled the trigger on a Business Gold card at the beginning of the year. Amex kept dangling “Expand Your Membership” offers in front of me, and I bit on a second. There was no Amex pop-up that time, which shouldn’t be surprising.
My portfolio is now 3 charge cards and 4 credit cards. Now that I’ve thought through everything, I’m less surprised by this outcome.
Ultimately, I chose to cancel the application. My worry is…am I now in Amex pop-up jail?
Anyone Else Have Amex Pop-Up Jail Experience?
I’ve read various methods for getting out of Amex pop-up jail. Mark has his own experience of slaying the Amex pop-up. Putting a good amount of spend on your American Express cards seems to be a big factor. Admittedly, I’ve put a good amount on mine, but primarily because of the large minimum spend requirements for the cards I’ve obtained. Aside from some routine spending on my Blue Business Plus card, I’ve moved much of my ongoing business to Citi and Chase products. This is probably the main issue.
Another factor I’ve heard is that if you keep trying frequently, you’ll just prolong the length of time you’re in Amex pop-up jail. I’ve not closed any accounts before the 1-year mark, so that’s not a mark against me.
I’m going to wait a while and try again. Assuming I kick out the minimum spend requirements for my newest cards, I’m hopeful I can put a bunch of Q4 reselling spend on my Blue Business Plus card. I’ll try again for the Amex Gold Card early in 2022.
Anyone else have experience with being in Amex pop-up jail? What did you do to get out?