Know This AMEX Rule to Avoid Missing Out on a Big Bonus

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Know This AMEX Rule to Avoid Missing Out on a Big Bonus

Million Mile SecretsKnow This AMEX Rule to Avoid Missing Out on a Big BonusMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

American Express has a once per lifetime rule regarding welcome bonuses.  And it can be confusing for folks in the miles & points hobby who are trying to formulate a credit card application strategy.

Million Mile Secrets reader Frank asked:

If I received the welcome bonus on the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, can I get the bonus on the The Platinum Card® from American Express card, too?  Or would I be disqualified from receiving that bonus?

Know This AMEX Rule To Avoid Missing Out On A Big Sign Up Bonus
Knowing Each Bank’s Credit Card Application Rules Is Important When Deciding Which Card You’re Going to Sign Up for Next!

Great question, Frank!

AMEX Application Rules

With American Express, you can only earn a bonus once per card per lifetime.  But because the AMEX Delta Platinum card and AMEX Platinum card are considered different card productsFrank IS eligible to earn the bonus from both cards!

That’s great news, because earning bonuses with multiple cards is the easiest and quickest way to get Big Travel with Small Money!

Lots of folks misinterpret the once per lifetime rule to mean you can only earn 1 American Express card bonus (period!) during your lifetime.  In fact, it’s once per card.

And not only are bonuses once per lifetime with each card, but the opportunity to earn each bonus is once per lifetime, too!  So you can NOT receive the bonus if you’ve ever HAD the card, even if you didn’t earn the bonus on it.

In Frank’s example, it’s easy to see why these rules could be hard to understand.  Because both cards are “platinum” cards.

Know This AMEX Rule To Avoid Missing Out On A Big Sign Up Bonus
It Can Be Difficult to Distinguish Credit Cards With Similar Names!

Card issuers often put out cards with names that sound the same!  So if you’re confused about all of the cards with similar names, here’s a chart with popular credit cards that are easily mistaken with one another.  With each card’s benefits listed side-by-side!

And don’t forget, while there’s NO official limit to the number of AMEX credit cards or charge cards you can have at once, the decision to approve you or not is still ultimately up to the bank.

AMEX Cards to Consider

If Frank is targeted for the 100,000 AMEX Membership Rewards point bonus on the AMEX Platinum card, he should jump on it.  Because with AMEX’s application rules, it’s best to get AMEX bonuses when they’re at their highest-ever.

Plus, Frank (and everyone else!) will soon have the chance to apply for the new AMEX Hilton cards that will be available later this month!

It’s also important to remember that AMEX small business cards do NOT appear on your personal credit report.  So they won’t hurt your chances of being approved for any great Chase cards in the future.

So cards like The Business Platinum® Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express are worth considering, too.

Our Hot Deals page always shows an up-to-date list of the best credit card offers.

Bottom Line

The AMEX bonus rules restrict you from earning a bonus on the SAME card more than once.  But you can earn multiple bonuses by applying for different AMEX card products.  

So, for example, you can earn the bonus on the AMEX Platinum card even if you’ve had the AMEX Delta Platinum card in the past.

Thanks again to reader Frank for the great question!

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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

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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Also, “once per lifetime” is a bit misleading. I think they measure that in dog years or something.

I think you can get a second bonus if it has been about 7-10 years since you last had the card or earned a bonus.

I recently earned a second bonus in an AMEX Hilton card (same no fee card I had about 10 years ago).

I recently applied for a personal AmEx Delta Gold card when I already had the following AmEx cards: 1 personal credit, 4 business credit, 1 personal charge and 2 business charge cards. As expected, not instantly approved. When the rep called said I was already at their limit for credit cards; personal versus business didn’t matter. Said no limit on number of charge cards. Said I’d have to drop one of the credits to get this new one. Ended up dropping a Delta business credit card I had gotten 6 months earlier. Was concerned they’d have a problem with me closing that account so soon after getting bonus. She said no problem since given the reason for closing, which would be noted on the account. Hope she’s right. Highly invested in AmEx MR points. Don’t want anything to happen to those.