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Breaking: AMEX Now Restricting Business Card Sign-Up Bonuses to Once per Lifetime

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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. 

I have bad news for folks who are considering applying for American Express small business cards.

Via Miles to Memories, American Express is now restricting welcome bonuses on most small business cards to once per lifetime.  AMEX already has this policy with its personal cards.

I checked the terms & conditions on several AMEX small business cards, and can confirm it’s true.

If You’ve Received the Bonus on an AMEX Small Business Card in the Past, You Can NO Longer Get the Bonus Again!

This is not good news for folks who want to earn a welcome bonus on a card they’ve had in the past.  And it’s another sign that banks are tightening up their application rules.

What’s Happening?

Link:   Hot Deals – Small Business Cards

Until now, American Express has allowed folks to earn the welcome bonus again on their small business cards if they hadn’t had the card for at least 12 months.

The terms used to say:

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

But that’s changed.  I checked the terms & conditions on several popular American Express small business cards.  And the terms now read:

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

Cards which have changed their terms include:

There’s 1 notable exception.  The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express still says you can get the bonus if you haven’t had the card in at least 12 months.

But that’s only on the landing page.  When you click the “Apply Now” button, the terms & conditions on the application page also mention the new restriction.  So I suspect they’ve just been slow to update the offer page with the new terms.

Miles to Memories points out that sometimes American Express sends out targeted offers (on both personal and business cards) that don’t include the restriction.

You’re more likely to get these offers if you opt-in for American Express to send you mail!

What Should You Do If You’re Considering These Cards?

If you’ve previously earned a welcome bonus from an American Express small business cards, it looks like you’re out of luck in most cases.

But if you haven’t earned the bonus on an AMEX small business card, you might consider waiting for a higher bonus offer before you apply.

Here’s my post on the best welcome bonuses ever offered for popular cards to help you with your decision.

Many folks won’t be pleased that American Express changed the terms without notice.  When they started restricting the welcome bonus on personal cards to once per lifetime, American Express gave folks ~6 weeks warning that the rules would soon change.

I said at that time I suspected the new rules would eventually apply to small business cards.  So I’m surprised the old policy stayed in place this long!

Here’s a guide on how to fill out an American Express business card application.  And you don’t need a multi-million dollar business to qualify.

This is NOT good news for folks who apply for lots of cards.

But there are always new offers and deals to help folks earn Big Travel with Small Money.  And Emily and I will always tell you about them!

Let me know if you find any exceptions to this new rule!

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! :)