A new era for Amex Offers

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It used to be possible to load Amex Offers like this one to many different Amex cards. I would then bring those Amex cards to Lowe’s to buy Amazon gift cards in order to get 20% back for the purchase (by spending exactly $50 on each Amex card). A new strategy is needed today.

You were never supposed to be able to load the same Amex Offer to multiple cards in the same person’s name, but for years we’ve been able to do so either by creating separate log-ins for each card, or by doing the “multi-tab trick” where you would open multiple tabs in the same browser and load each tab with a different card’s Amex Offers before loading the offers one at a time to each card.

I think it may have been Doctor of Credit that first covered the news early in July that the separate log-in approach had stopped working in cases where each card shared the same person’s name and SSN.

Next, a couple of days ago, several blogs reported the death of the multi-tab trick.  Nick followed up with “Not totally dead: Some Amex Offers still loadable to multiple cards.”  It seems that Amex has coded things so that the multi-tab trick doesn’t work with new offers, but it continues to work with old offers… mostly.  In a follow-up post (Amex Offers multi-tab trick still not dead, but deader than before), I showed that some older offers are still working, but others are not.  I also looked into the theory that the terms & conditions are the key to understanding this.  Unfortunately, I found inconsistent results there too.

There may still be a few loopholes for loading offers to multiple cards in your name (try loading an offer via the mobile app to one card, while loading it to another card via desktop, while standing on your head and singing “I’m a little teapot”), but I think it’s likely that going forward this particular game is over.

What’s Left?

Fortunately, there are still options available for getting the same offer onto multiple cards:

  1. Multiple different authorized users
  2. Variations of the same offer

Multiple different authorized users

Most Amex cards offer the option to add authorized users for free.  Each AU (authorized user) gets their own card number and their own set of Amex Offers.  So, if you have a primary account with 4 authorized users, it is possible to load the same offer to all 5 cards.  This is true as long as each authorized user is a different person.

Note that while it’s possible to get multiple authorized user cards for the same person from the same primary account, that’s no longer helpful with respect to using Amex Offers.  For example, my wife has previously added me multiple times as an authorized user to one of her cards.  That can still be helpful when you get a targeted offer for bonus points for adding AUs, but it’s no longer useful with Amex Offers.

When adding authorized users, Amex now requires their social security number.  As a result, authorized user consumer cards will show up on the AU’s credit report.  This can be good or bad depending upon the situation (see this post for details), so make sure to get permission before adding anyone as an AU.

The best option when adding authorized users, in my opinion, is to add them to your Amex business cards.  Amex business cards, including AU cards, are not reported to the credit bureaus.  They won’t affect the AU’s credit in any way, and won’t hurt their 5/24 count when applying for Chase cards.

Caution: When adding offers to an AU card, you may be taking those offers away from that person’s own primary Amex accounts.  This approach is best when the other person either doesn’t have Amex cards of their own or is not interested in Amex Offers.  (Thanks to “Florida Person” in the comments for pointing out this issue).

Variations of the same offer

Often, offers have multiple variations.  In each of these cases, each variation of the offer can be loaded:

Membership Rewards vs. Cash Back:

Similar But Different Rebates:

Having multiple types of Amex cards is still useful

In the now slightly outdated post “Awesome Amex Offers and how to get them,” I detailed how to increase your chances of getting the best targeted Amex Offers.  I recommended the following:

  1. Get every type of Amex card (e.g. consumer, business, credit card, charge card, etc.)
  2. Get more Amex cards
  3. Enroll in Amex Offers quickly
  4. Consider creating separate online accounts for each card

I still recommend items 1 to 3, above, but the details of my recommendations are now a bit different…

1. Get every type of Amex card

Amex treats consumer cards and small business cards very differently. They also treat cards that earn Membership Rewards points differently from those that earn other types of rewards. Frequently, offers are available for one type, but not another.

Fortunately, there are no-annual-fee options in each of these categories:

Note that Amex limits cardholders to 5 primary credit card accounts. Charge cards (such as Amex Platinum cardsPremier Rewards GoldBusiness Gold Rewards, etc.) are not similarly restricted, but I believe they all have annual fees.

2. Get more Amex cards (via authorized users)

Suppose you have permission from four family members to add them as AUs to your Amex cards.  In that case, it would be possible to load the exact same offer to up to 5 cards (assuming all 5 cards were targeted with that offer).  And when there are multiple variations on the same offer (such as one for membership rewards points and one for cash back), you could add the offer to up to 10 cards.   That’s pretty good!

3. Enroll in Amex Offers quickly

The best Amex Offers have limited enrollment. If you don’t add the offers to your account in time, you may lose out. These offers can appear at any time, so your best bet is to check your account daily and/or subscribe to blogs like this one so that you’ll be alerted when desirable new offers have been spotted.

You can also subscribe to the comments on our Current Amex Offers Page.  When we find new offers, we add a comment to this page saying so.

Moving On

Part of me is actually relieved by the latest developments.  I currently have 17 Amex cards showing up in my online account (mostly AU cards).  As a result, the multi-tab trick has been a huge pain in the butt. I’ve had to duplicate the first tab 16 times before loading offers one tab at a time.  And I had to keep track of which cards had which offers.  And when trying to use these offers, I had to keep very careful track of which ones had already been used and which had not.  I also didn’t relish facing the line that formed behind me at Lowe’s when buying $500 gift cards by splitting the charge across 10 different Amex cards.

Going forward, Amex Offers will still be lucrative, but less than before.  And there’s a consolation: our brain’s won’t explode.  For more on keeping brains un-exploded, see: How to prevent your brain from exploding.

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