Hopefully I can help you to avoid a DUMB mistake that I just made. It was a mistake that cost me 50,000 American Express Rewards points.
About a month ago I applied for the The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express. I’d been thinking about the card for a few weeks, and because of some larger upcoming expenses, I decided that this would be a perfect time to get the card.
At the time when I applied, I knew about the bonus terms:
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product or any other Business Gold, Green or Platinum Card® account within the last 12 months.
When I applied, I knew it had been a long time since I had had any one of these listed business credit cards, but I didn’t confirm how long it had been.
I got the card and proceeded to work on the minimum spend, and about 80% through the minimum spend I had this nagging feeling about the card and the bonus.
I called to confirm my eligibility before I kept spending on the card. Much to my dismay, I had canceled The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express on May 24th, 2012. That means that I had to wait until after May 25th, 2013 to be able to get another bonus on a Business Gold, Green, or Platinum card. Unfortunately, I applied for the card about 21 days too soon.
I tried begging with American Express to see if they could override the bonus since I was soooo close to waiting 12 months. In the end, they said they were sorry, but there’s nothing they could do. Now I need to wait 12 months after I cancel this card before I’ll be able to get another bonus.
Lesson: Always call American Express before applying to confirm your eligibility for a credit card sign up bonus.
The American Express Multiple Sign Up Bonus Rule Explained
On your application page of any American Express card it will state the the bonus terms and conditions. As an example, here’s what it says for the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card:
If you are identified as a current American Express® Cardmember, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any other Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card or Platinum Card® account within the last 90 days.
Thus, having a certain card type will make you ineligible for the bonus on other cards in that group. In this example, you couldn’t get the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card if you had it or the Platinum card in the last 12 months. However, you’d still be eligible to get a bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card® from American Express since that card is not specifically listed.
This requirement is from the date that you cancelled your American Express card until the date you apply for your next card. If that timeframe is less than 12 months, you won’t get the sign up bonus (but you will get any spending points that you earn).
To confirm your eligibility, simply call American Express (1-800-528-4800) and ask them to check the cancellation date of the American Express card in question.
At least hopefully now you won’t make the same mistake I made.