Amex has been tightening the rules of the game for the past year or two, and they are at it again with a new term added regarding eligibilty to earn a welcome offer on a new card. In addition to excluding those who have or have had a card before from earning a new welcome offer, Amex application pages now state:
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.
Ouch. Amex is effectively saying that they reserve the right to decide whether or not you are eligible for a welcome offer if they think you’re a little too greedy. If, in their estimation, you have earned one too many Amex intro offers, they could deny you the bonus you expected when you opened the card.
This is obviously a hugely negative change. Doctor of Credit points out that this isn’t necessarily a new policy per se as some people have applied for offers absent of the typical lifetime language and not seen their welcome offer post despite being approved and meeting spending requirements (I’m not aware of this being widespread, but it has happened to some). It’s possible that they added this term as legal cover for those situations where they feel like someone is abusing targeted offers.
That said, the addition of this sentence seems to give Amex broad leeway to deny a bonus, at least in terms of their stated exclusions.
It is far too early to know the implications of this change. We don’t yet know how they would apply this rule — whether it would mean denying applications from those users who have opened and closed “too many” accounts by their algoritm or whether it will be something subject to manual review after approval. Will they let you know before you meet the spending requirement? Will you only find out when points don’t post? Will they include this sentence and only enforce it in extremely isolated incidents? We don’t know the answers yet, but we know this much: the Amex war on gaming is still on. See these other posts for developments from last year:
H/T: US Credit Card Guide