How to (maybe) receive targeted Amex business card offers

Several years ago I started receiving targeted offers, by mail, from Amex for their Business cards.  Specifically, every month or two I received an offer for 100,000 Membership Rewards points after $10K spend for signing up for the Business Platinum card.  The interesting thing about these offers was that it was pretty clear how Amex got my “business” name.  The offers were addressed, not to me, but to a domain name that I had registered approximately 6 months earlier.  At the time, I was pretty sure (but not positive) that I hadn’t used that name anywhere else.  So, I thought that Amex had pulled my info from the domain registration, but I wasn’t completely sure.

Fast forward to this past year: my 15 year old son registered a new domain in August of 2014.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, he received his first ever credit card offer: the Business Gold Rewards card from Amex.  The offer was only for 50,000 points, but that’s not the important thing.  The important thing was that the offer came by mail and was addressed to his domain name.  Clearly Amex found his info there and used it for this targeted offer.  Note too that my son never even created a website for his domain.  The only thing he has done with it is register the name.

Amex most likely scrapes business information from WHOIS data.  Domain registry information is publicly available through site’s like this: whois.icann.org/en/lookup.  Here’s an example of a search for BoardingArea.com:

targeted Amex business card offers

The search returns the name and address of the business behind Boarding Area (RAN Decisions, Inc.).  I bet that RAN Decisions frequently receives great offers from Amex.

Getting targeted Amex business card offers

My assumption, based on the experiences described above, is that anyone can get targeted Amex business card offers simply by registering a new domain name, or by editing the contact info for an existing domain name.  Make sure to enter an Organization name and a valid address.  And, based on my son’s experience, I don’ t think it is even necessary to do anything with the domain name once you have it.  Simply registering it so that it is publicly available for lookup should be enough.

Keep in mind that 6 to 9 months are likely to elapse before you receive any offers.

For those wondering: No, my son won’t apply for the Business Gold card.  Once he’s 18 we’ll get him started with the basics such as the Chase Freedom card and maybe a Discover card.  Then, once he builds up his credit profile a bit, he’ll be ready to start earning real rewards.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. good luck on getting your son the Chase Freedom card. I recently had my 19 year old daughter apply for it listing an annual income of $1,500.00 She has a credit score of over 700 as she has been an AU on my Amex cards for three years. She was denied the Freedom card because she has no credit history.

  2. More importantly, have you noticed that in many targeted AMEX business card offers, there is no “12 months clause”? In other words, there are several reports claiming that he/she receives the sign up bonus from the targeted offer even though he/she still has the same card open/closed the card within 12 months.

    For me, it is just a rumor at this point. It would be great if you could verify if it is true.

  3. The house I live in was previously a charitable organization and as such was a business address for many years. My mother-in-law lives with us part of the year, got one CapOne credit card (at this address) and ever since has been getting Amex biz card solicitations.

    • Does (or I guess a better question is, ‘how much’) AmEx get angry if you apply for a business card using a targeted USPS mailing code for a different business? The old owners of my house ran their company out of it, and I used to get AmEx offers every now and then. I didn’t use the codes, because we got one of our own. Both have dried up recently, though, but they came much more frequently for the others… And now I need MR points again after burning them down on SQ!

      theBOAT

  4. Interesting ideas, but let me provide a warning first. Making your name, address, phone number, and email address available to the WhoIs database may make it easier to get targeted Amex offers, but then again anyone else can see your information too. I personally don’t want my home address available online for anyone to find, I actually use a service that obscures the address for privacy/protection services.

    If you just make a dummy domain name that no one knows about, I guess it is safe. But I would just think about the safety issues out there before you proceed.

      • Serge, I guess Grant’s point is to not tie a website (blog, etc) that has identifiable info about you with your home address by making your domain name (of that blog, etc) have your address info publicly available for anyone to see.

        Let’s say Grant wanted to try this offer, he could try to register a domain that doesn’t even have a website and make his address available on that domain only, as opposed to a domain that points to his blog with his picture and blog posts.

    • @ Grant

      Thanks for the heads up. Do you think we can register using P.O. BOX address? that would be a relief since we can remain anonymous.

  5. I’ve signed up for multiple domains over the past 15 years and I’ve never had a single targeted offer from Amex. Which company did you use to sign up for the domain (ie Netfirms, GoDaddy, Hostgator, etc)? Perhaps Amex is buying the info directly from the company, rather than scraping the ICANN info.

  6. Wow, fascinating. I would be tempted do this. But what is up with people’s concerns about privacy? Is there something I’m missing? Most people’s addresses are public record and easily found anyway?

  7. This is fantastic. It’s reasons like this that I check your links first when I’m doing an AOR. Thank you for all the insightful and original blog posts you do!

  8. There is a reason registrars provide privacy for whois on domain registrations, unless you like spam, phone calls, junk mail, etc…

  9. And this is exactly how I got my AMEX DL Skymiles Gold Biz card! After being turned down by Chase INK I figured I would try this one since THEY sent the offer to ME. And I was approved. 🙂

  10. I know as much about computers as Marconi, dots and dashes about dotcom, but I did begin to receive targeted AmEx business account offers after getting a federal tax ID, a FEIN, and registering a D/B/A with the county. Which was the trigger is intriguing. None of the offers has been tempting, to date, but the business is aging cheaply. The D/B/A renews for 5 years for $10 and the FEIN is free.

  11. I’ve had domains for ages with multiple registrars (including GoDaddy), but never received an offer…

  12. I have many domains for many years, all of them with open whois. I don’t get offers from Amex (I have 3 personal and 1 business cards from Amex).
    Most likely they will first target by sites with high traffic say from Alexa or google not just by registering domain or opening a website.
    What kind of site was it, what registrar, was there a shopping cart?

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