Reader Request: How to Get the Sign-Up Bonus for the AMEX SPG Card Again? [Expired]

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Link:  American Express Starwood Refer a Friend 5,000 Point Business & Personal Referral

Link:  American Express Starwood 30,000 Point Personal Credit Card

Link:  American Express Starwood 30,000 Point Business Credit Card

In yesterdays post, on why I’d still get the AMEX Starwood card even though it was overrated and not worth its annual fee to me, Shane wrote:

So are you saying this card can be had yearly AND you’ll get the SPG points?
We canceled my wife’s back in July of 2011…
I can refer her, get 5,000 points and when she’s approved and meets the spend she’ll get another 30,000?

I’m salivating right now! I hope this is how I’m reading this…


Historically, American Express wouldn’t give you the sign-up bonus on a new credit card again.  But they would give you the difference if you applied for an offer with a better sign-up bonus.

For example, if you already had the American Express Starwood card with, say, a 10,000 point bonus, you wouldn’t get the full 15,000 points if you later applied for another Starwood card with a 15,000 point bonus.  Instead, you’d get the difference in the sign-up bonus, so you’d get only 5,000 points (15,000 points from the new sign-up bonus – 10,000 points from the earlier sign-up bonus).

But in my experience and observation, some folks were getting the sign-up bonus again if they reapplied 2 years after cancelling their SPG card, or sometimes sooner if they submitted another application without their SPG number in it.

Other times, AMEX would not give you the bonus for the 1st purchase, but would give you the bonus points tied to the additional spending.

But all this was a “your mileage may vary” situation, where some got the bonus, and some didn’t.

Current Restriction on Sign-up Bonuses is For 12 Months

A few months ago, American Express inserted language into their credit card offers which prevent you from getting the sign-up bonus, for the same card, if you have had the card in the previous 12 months.

To be clear – you can get the bonus for the personal card even if you currently have the business card or vice versa or are an authorized user on someone else’s account.  But you may have to wait 12 months from when you cancelled the persona/business card to get the bonus on the personal card/business again.

For example, footnote 1 on the American Express Starwood personal and business credit card application says (bolding mine):

“Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months.

I’m not a lawyer nor am I an English professor, but I interpret this to mean that I won’t get the sign-up bonus if I have had the Starwood SPG card within the last 12 months.

I also interpret this to mean that I *will* get the full sign-up bonus of 25,000 points (or the limited time offer of 30,000 points) if it has been more than 12 months from when I cancelled my last American Express Starwood personal or business credit card.

If American Express’ policy was to prohibit you from ever getting the bonus in future, why not just say “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product before?

Inserting the words “…within the last 12 months,” leads me to believe that I will get the sign-up bonus if it is more than 12 months since I cancelled my American Express SPG card.

But again, I’m not a lawyer nor am I a skilled grammatician.  I also don’t have any experience with these new changes, nor have I heard of readers experiences since the new terms were inserted.  But please share your experience in the comments or via email!

If you do decide to apply again, please take a screenshot of the terms and conditions, in case you don’t get the sign-up bonus and need to support your claim later on.

Bottom Line:  There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the bonus again, but the new terms on the American Express personal and business card seem to suggest that you may be able to get the bonus again 12 months after cancelling your card.If you do decide to do this, take lots of screenshots and keep good records of when you applied and cancelled cards.

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26 responses to “Reader Request: How to Get the Sign-Up Bonus for the AMEX SPG Card Again? [Expired]

  1. This question is a little off topic but is the AMEX Gold considered a different product than the AMEX Platinum? In other words, will I get the sign up bonus for the AMEX Plantinum if I currently have the Gold card or do I need to cancel the Gold and wait 12 months before applying for the Platinum?


    • @Jessica @Bender – The terms of the regular Platinum card say “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card account within the last 90 days.”

      However, the terms on the Mercedes Benz Platinum which offers a higher sign-up bonus of 50,000 points, doesn’t have this language in its terms and conditions.

  2. @Jessica, they’re different products entirely so you’ll get both bonuses.

  3. How does the “leave out your spg #” trick work? Do they assign you a new number and than you have to merge the two accounts, or can you give it them your real account # later?

  4. What happens to your SPG points when you cancel? Do you need to transfer them out to another program before cancelling your card?

  5. sorry, a bit confused – so if i got the SPG AMEX personal (this year), i’m NOT elgible to receive the bonus if i applied SPG AMEX business card (the current offer)?.

    • @atxtravel – Not sure if that still works, but they’d assign a new number and then you’d call SPG to merge the accounts.

      @Joy Elbaum – SPG points are yours to keep when you cancel the card as long as the points are in your SPG account.

      @mo – You can get the bonus for both the personal and business at the same time if you wanted. But you have to wait 12 months from cancelling, say, the personal the card to get the bonus again.

  6. I am wondering if this “12 month” rule is forced for every card and for every offer – official and ,for example, for RSVP offers. Example – current public offer for Platinum Business card is 25k MR points after $5k spending in three months. It has a 12 month rule that denies this bonus if you had Business Gold or Business Green cards. However, my wife got a snail mail with offer for Plat. Business card – 50k MR points/3 months. This offer (I did check) does not contain 12 month rule restriction. Since my wife has an active Business Gold card, I am in doubt – will she receive a bonus points if she applies for Platinum Business card? The offer is too good to pass.

  7. I signed up for my spg personal card on May 22, 2012 and received 25,000 spg points. I then signed up for the spg business card on july 12, 2012 (both cards before the 30,000 spg offers were out). My question is when should I call amex to close my spg personal and transfer the credit line to another personal amex card? Should I wait more than 6 months?

  8. I spend around $50-60K/month on my business, using Ink, Amex Plat, Spg, almost evenly. Since I am not a frequent traveler, should I concentrate one over the other two? I travel to Korea, LA, NY, about once a year. Any suggestion?..

  9. I would put as many office supply and utility charges on the INK Bold or Plus card (maybe both) and max that out, then use the other cards as u see fit.

  10. @grant.
    thank you

  11. @Sam:
    “Earn 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services.
    Earn 2X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and for hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel.”

    You might go through the $50,000 annual spend rather quickly. You might be interested in a British Airways card, if you spend $30,000 or more per year, you get a free companion pass. Not sure if BA flies to where you would want to go tho.

  12. @Grant

    I live in FL (near MCO). How well could I utilize BA? not so familiar with BA.

  13. @Grant,

    did you get the third degree questioning your business/revenues when you applied for the SPG Business card? or was it relatively painless? (or did you get instant approval).

  14. @Mo, I actually signed up for the delta biz and the spg biz within minutes of each other. I forget which one was instant approval (probably delta since I have a delta personal card) and then i had a pending decision on the spg biz card. At that time, I had the spg personal card and the rep put me on hold for a few minutes then said i was approved. no questions or anything. he then said he would mail out the spg biz card with ups next day air and i got it the following day.

    From my chase ink bold experience, i was worried about amex, but it was a piece of cake. Did they ask you several questions when you applied?

    Basically the only thing i can conclude is that my personal card helped me get both of the biz cards, but who knows if that was true.

    @Sam, any awards booked thru in the USA will probably be on AA flights. The points required for booking on are distance based, so short flights cost much less in terms of BA Avios.

  15. @Sam, here is a sample itinerary from MCO (Orlando) to MIA (Miami) for sometime next week:

    Total cost is 4500 Avios + $ 2.50. The same flight if booked with AA miles on would be 12,500 miles +$77.50 USD (because the travel date is so close).

  16. @Grant

    Thank you the great info. now on I will check into BA as well…

  17. Hi, Big D –
    Great strategy! Thanks! However, I have seen some comments about Amex doing an audit (e.g. financial review) or asking for IRS statements *after* you are approved for business cards. I don’t have a real business except selling books on Amazon occasionally. Should I avoid applying for the SPG business card? Is Chase also so sensitive? Should I avoid their business cards too?

  18. I’m sorry if this is dumb but I wasn’t sure on the refer a friend. Is there a way to refer myself? And then get 5,000 points plus the 30,000 signup bonus?

    Also, should I have an SPG account before I apply?

  19. FYI, if you are a personal SPG card holder, you can not refer another person for the Business version of the card. Only a business card owner can refer another for the business card.

  20. If I cancel my American Express SPG card, do I forfeit the remaining SPG points in my account?

    Thanks in advance

  21. Jack: no. The points are yours to keep.

  22. Mad AMEX Customer

    I didn’t get my 15,000 points for spending $5000 in 6 months.

    They said you have to be invited to qualify for the promotion.

    Only received 10,000 points.