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Question: Am I Eligible For This American Express Upgrade Offer?

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Question: Am I Eligible For This American Express Upgrade Offer?

Question: Am I Eligible For This American Express Upgrade Offer?

Our question of the week: Am I eligible for this American Express welcome offer? This question looks at upgrade offers sent to you from American Express and what rules apply. If you got a bonus on that card before, can you get this one? Let’s dive in.

The Question

Our question of the week comes from Odie in our Facebook group:

I recently downgraded my HH Surpass card (received the bonus a few years ago) to the no fee version of which I already had two of. I cancelled one of the free version leaving me with two. About a month later I received an email from AMEX offering me 130,000 HH points if I upgraded a no fee HH card (not the one that was downgraded) to Surpass and met the 3k minimum spend. I’m about to hit the 3k minimum spend and I’m curious to see if they will give me the 130,000 HH points again. I’m under the impression it’s once per lifetime as far as the bonus goes but why would they offer that to me if I had already received one a few years prior? If I receive will they claw it back down the road? TY in advance.

In short: I got an upgrade offer from American Express to move from a no-fee card up to a card I previously had, AND I previously earned a new cardmember welcome bonus on that card. Can I get the bonus points on this upgrade offer?

Amex Bonus Rules

Odie refers to the Amex application rules, which we covered here. With American Express, most cards have a “once in a lifetime” rule for getting a bonus / welcome offer when signing up for that card as a new user. Thus, if you had the card before, you can’t get the bonus again as a new cardmember.

Those terms are as follows:

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

How American Express Upgrade Offer Rules Are Different

Luckily, the rules on upgrading your card are different. We’ve covered previously that you may receive targeted offers from American Express. Many of these will even bypass the “once in a lifetime” rule by not having this rule in the terms & conditions.

Additionally, upgrades are NOT new cards. Thus, the “new card” rules don’t apply. You were selected for a special deal with an upgrade offer. Thus, you can earn the bonus points from an upgrade even if you aren’t eligible for a bonus on that card as a new user.

Why This is Great

We’ve seen a ton of American Express upgrade offers recently, which we mentioned here. Being able to earn a “bonus” on a card more than once is fantastic. Here are some reasons why this is so amazing:

  • Earn a bonus more than once, even with “once in a lifetime” rules
  • Downgrade your card a year later to a no-fee card
  • Preserve your credit history to boost your credit score (age of accounts)
  • Hope for another upgrade offer in the future
  • Repeat!

Reasons like this are why it can be advantageous to hold a card in as many different “families” of cards as possible with Amex. Have a Delta card, a Hilton card, a card that earns Membership Rewards, etc. This makes you eligible for upgrade offers on numerous cards across various types of points.

Final Thoughts

The short answer is “yes”, you are welcome for American Express upgrade offers. If you receive an offer in the mail, email, or inside your Amex online account, you should be eligible. Always remember to check the terms before you accept an offer, of course. Happy upgrading!

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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    • I wish I knew! Spending on your cards seems to help, but that’s obviously really vague and we aren’t sure how much/which cards/if any pattern helps or hurts.

  1. I’ve had the Surpass card for some time and also have the free Hilton. I have a need for more points. Do I need to wait till my next AF or could I downgrade now, hoping I might get an upgrade offer in the near future?

    • JohnB – if you’re within any kind of promotional period, you obviously have to wait (ex: you signed up for the card less than a year ago, you got a retention offer within the last 12mo, etc.). If not, you can definitely downgrade now. There’s also the option of getting one of the other Hilton cards, if you meet the application rules for it.


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