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American Express has recently added language to their credit card terms that give them the right to withhold welcome offers from folks they think are only interested in the intro bonus.
The new terms say:
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.
Now, American Express has added a new element to their application page, to forewarn you if you’re not eligible for the welcome bonus!
AMEX Welcome Bonus Eligibility Tool
When you apply for an AMEX card and click “submit“, the American Express website will pop up with a warning if you are not eligible for the welcome bonus. So you can abandon the application before AMEX pulls your credit score!
I tried applying for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Because I already have the card, I am NOT eligible for the welcome offer. Because AMEX only allows folks to earn the bonus on each card ONCE per lifetime.
Sure enough, when I submitted my application, AMEX warned me that I’m not eligible for the welcome offer. And I canceled my application!
You can also be denied the intro bonus if AMEX thinks you regularly open and close cards just to earn the welcome bonus. They won’t necessarily decline your application, but you won’t be eligible for the intro bonus.
If AMEX thinks you fall under this category, you’ll get this message:
Based on your history with American Express welcome offers, introductory APR offers, or the number of cards you have opened and closed, you are not eligible to receive this welcome offer.
We have not yet performed a credit check. Would you still like to proceed?
While it’s discouraging the direction AMEX is taking with their welcome bonus rules, the new element they’ve added to their application page is a big help to folks in the miles & points community.
Most of us have lots of cards, and it’s courteous for AMEX to let us know ahead of time if they’re going to withhold an intro bonus from us. We can now apply for cards without spending months wondering if we’ll receive bonus miles & points!
What do you think about this new tool?