Which credit card bonuses can you earn more than once?

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The easiest way to earn miles, points or cash back is by opening a new rewards credit card and earning its welcome bonus. These offers require you to meet a minimum spending requirement and are generally only available when you open a card. The best travel card bonuses are worth $500 or more, and some can get you over $1,000 in travel.

Once you’ve earned a fantastic sign-up bonus, however, you may ask — can I earn the same bonus again?

It depends. Let’s take a look at the rules for each bank.

You can earn some bonuses more than once, but you’ll have to wait. (Photo by Kenishirotie/Shutterstock.)

Can you earn a sign-up bonus more than once?

When it comes to being able to earn an intro bonus on a travel credit card more than once, the rules are different for each card issuer.

In almost every case, you won’t be able to have two of the same card — and there is very rarely a good reason to have two of the same card, anyway. That means that you’ll most likely need to have canceled the card before you apply again. The time period you have to wait after earning a bonus or canceling a card varies by issuer and even depends on the specific card in some cases.

In general, I recommend keeping cards open as long as possible because it helps improve your credit score by increasing the age of your accounts. It also shows the bank that you’re a good customer who isn’t just churning cards or trying to game the system. Banks offer intro bonuses to entice you to try out their products, but if they suspect you of taking advantage, your accounts can get shut down or you are must less likely to be approved for a new card. It’s always best to play it safe.

Here are the rules you’ll need to follow:

Credit card bonus rules by bank

American Express

Amex only allows you to earn a welcome bonus for a card once per lifetime. This is the most strict limitation of any bank, but personal American Express cards and American Express small-business cards are considered different products. For example, if you’ve had the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, you would still be eligible for the intro offer with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.

In the past, Amex has had targeted offers that don’t include the lifetime limitations on the bonus. But these deals are rare, and there is no guarantee that they will come around again or that you’ll be eligible. Amex also will occasionally target accounts with bonus offers for upgrading a card. Personally, I’ve only ever seen these available on Hilton credit cards.

In the past, my wife was able to earn a bonus by upgrading her Hilton Honors American Express Card to a Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. But again, these deals aren’t common and there is next to nothing you can do to increase your odds of being targeted for them.

Chase

For most Chase credit cards you are only eligible for a sign-up bonus once every 24 months. Some cards have other restrictions as well. For example, you can only have one personal Southwest credit card at a time, but you can have a Southwest small-business card in addition to a consumer card at the same time.

If you’re applying for any version of the Sapphire card (Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®) you’ll have to wait 48 months in between earning welcome bonuses.

Chase also has the Chase 5/24 rule, which restricts you from opening any Chase card if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank in the past 24 months. So if you want to be approved for a Chase card, you’ll need to slow down on other credit card applications.

Citibank

The welcome bonus rules vary a bit depending on what brand of Citibank credit card you want. The application rules for Citibank American Airlines cards limit you to earning the bonus on a specific card to once every 48 months. So you could earn a sign-up bonus with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® and still be eligible for the bonus on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®.

However, the intro bonus rule for cards that earn Citi ThankYou points is different. Once you earn the bonus with any ThankYou-points card, you’ll have to wait 24 months to earn the bonus on another card. Here’s what the terms say for the Citi Rewards+℠ Card:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+SM, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bank of America

Bank of America has added 24-month bonus restrictions to many of its cards, but the exact language varies.

My favorite Bank of America cards are the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business credit card. But you aren’t eligible for either card if you currently have it or have had it in the previous 24 months. So you’ll only be able to open a specific version of Alaska Airlines card again 24 months after you’ve closed the card, not 24 months from when you last earned a sign-up bonus

With other Bank of America cards, notably the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card the exact language varies a bit. You aren’t eligible for the card if you currently have it, unless you’ve had it for at least 24 months. This makes it seem like you could have more than one of those cards, but in practice I’m not sure that would be the case.

The information for the Alaska Visa, Alaska Visa Business, Bank of America Travel and Bank of America Cash Rewards cards has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One

There aren’t any limits on how often you can earn the sign-up bonus for Capital One cards other than this language on some cards:

The bonus may not be available for existing or previous account holders.

That’s a vague statement, but Capital One does limit applications in other ways. You can only be approved for one card every six months and Capital One limits you to having, at most, two personal Capital One-branded cards at the same time.

Barclays

Barclays doesn’t have a blanket restriction on earning sign-up bonuses with its cards, but it can be difficult to get approved for a new Barclays card. You can typically only be approved for one Barclays card every six months. In addition, each card has specific language, like these terms from the AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard:

This one-time offer is valid for eligible cardmembers. You may not be eligible for this offer if you currently have or previously had an account with us in this program. In addition, you may not be eligible for this offer if, at any time during our relationship with you, we have cause, as determined by us in our sole discretion, to suspect that the account is being obtained or will be used for abusive or gaming activity (such as, but not limited to, obtaining or using the account to maximize rewards earned in a manner that is not consistent with typical consumer activity and/or multiple credit card account applications/openings).

This language is a bit vague, but it does leave the door open for a situation where you could open a card you previously had and not be eligible for the bonus (anecdotally, I’ve never heard of this happening).

U.S. Bank

On paper U.S. Bank is seems to be the most generous because it has few official application restrictions or sign-up bonus limits. But, U.S. Bank is one of the harder banks to get an approval with, especially if you have opened lots of cards with other issuers recently.

Currently, the only card with a specific official application restriction is the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card. In order to qualify for it, you must have a pre-existing relationship with U.S. Bank. Having a deposit account, loan or credit card account with U.S. Bank should qualify you for the card.

Bottom line

Whether or not you can get a bonus twice for the same card depends on the bank and even varies by card. In general, banks are clamping down on the ability to earn multiple bonuses from the same card. Sometimes you’ll have to wait a certain amount of time between applications. In other cases, stricter application guidelines indirectly impact your sign-up bonus eligibility by limiting whether or not you’re eligible for the card.

Your best bet going forward is to approach your relationship with banks the way you’d treat any healthy relationship, with give and take. If you’re a good customer who plays by the rules there will always be opportunities to earn rewards. The specific deals will come and go, and things won’t ever “be like they used to,” but that’s always been the case. For example, even as the ability to earn a bonus more than once for a specific card is disappearing, card issuers are coming out with brand-news card that didn’t exist before.

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Jason Stauffer is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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