5/3/19: Added link to check for business card offers online (h/t DoC)
An easy way to find the best Amex welcome bonuses is to visit Frequent Miler’s Best Offers page. But, that page focuses on the best publicly available offers. This post details a number of ways to get targeted offers that may be even better. American Express usually doesn’t offer welcome bonuses to those who have had the same card before, so it is especially important with Amex to sign up only for the very best offers.
Another advantage to seeking targeted offers is that some of these offers do allow you to get a bonus even if you’ve had the card before. Double and triple check the fine print. If your targeted offer does not say something like “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product” then you can get the bonus again!
Often, friend referrals have bigger welcome bonuses than direct offers. In those cases, we display those refer-a-friend offers on our site instead of affiliate offers. But you can do even better by having a family member (or even yourself) refer you to the card you want. All you or your family member needs to make the referral is another Amex card — it doesn’t have to be the same kind as the card you want to apply for. By doing it this way, you get the best welcome bonus plus a referral bonus.
For more details, see: Maximizing value from Amex multi-referrals.
If you’re an existing Amex customer it’s worth calling Amex to ask if you qualify for any special welcome bonus offers. If you’re aware of good targeted offers, ask specifically about those as well. This simple technique often works surprisingly well.
Check for pre-qualified offers online
To check for business cards, fill out the form found here. For personal cards, follow these instructions:
Browse to AmericanExpress.com, click “Cards”, then click “Check for Pre-qualified Credit Card Offers”. Unless Amex remembers your previous browsing sessions, you should then see a screen like this:
Fill out the form and see what happens.
Try a fresh or different browser
Sometimes you’ll see different offers for the same Amex card by viewing the offers in different browsers. It may be necessary to clear your browser’s cache beforehand or use other methods to avoid having the cache change your results. Even after doing so, I’ve sometimes seen a better offer when viewed through Firefox than Chrome (or vice versa).
Try the CardMatch Tool to see if you are targeted for any good offers. People often report finding offers of up to 100,000 points this way. For example, my wife once signed up for a 100,000 point Amex Platinum offer that she found through this tool.
Enroll in Loyalty Programs
Amex partners with brands such as Delta, Marriott, and Hilton. You may be able to find a better offer for their co-branded cards by signing up for their loyalty program. After signing up online, you may see offers directly in your account or you may receive them through email or snail mail.
Offers by mail
Often, the best American Express offers are delivered via regular mail:
- Make sure you opt-in for mail and e-mail communications with Amex. You can opt-in via this Amex URL: www.americanexpress.com/communications
- To get targeted business card offers, one option is to buy a web domain. I discuss this option here: How to (maybe) receive targeted Amex business card offers.
Upgrade instead of applying new
Amex often offers bonuses for upgrading from one version of a card to another. While these offers aren’t always as good as new welcome bonuses, they have some advantages: 1) You keep your existing account number; 2) There is no new account on your credit report; and 3) There is no credit inquiry involved in upgrading.
Sometimes you’ll receive upgrade offers by mail or email. And sometimes they can be found online. Read more here: How to find Amex upgrade offers online.
Don’t expect to bump the bonus
With some card issuers, such as Chase or Citi, you can apply for an inferior offer and then call or send a secure message to ask to be bumped up to a better offer. Unfortunately, Amex will not match higher welcome bonuses. If you’re lucky, though, you might get a supervisor to offer you some courtesy points instead.