Am I Eligible for a New American Express Sign Up Offer If I Have Existing Amex Cards?

by on June 30, 2013 · 16 comments

in American Express, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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TPG reader Chris wants to open up a new American Express card, but is afraid he won’t qualify for the sign-up bonus because he already carries some other Amex cards:

“Under the American Express terms of sign up bonus offers it says that you may not be eligible if you are a current American Express customer, but what is that defined as? If I have a Costco American Express and Blue Cash Everyday American Express card, and I canceled my Premier Rewards Gold card a few months ago will I still be eligible for a new sign up bonus after a year or so?”

I would suggest first going to the actual application page of the card that you are looking to apply for.  American Express is usually very good at explicitly stating what card you cannot already have in order to qualify for a certain sign up bonus.

As an example  – the Delta Reserve card says: “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any other Consumer Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card account within the last 90 days.”

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This means that you cannot have had the Delta Reserve card open within the last 12 months. If you did, you would have to close the card and wait a full 12 months until you would be eligible to receive the bonus again. You would also be ineligible if you have had any consumer Delta American Express cards, like the Delta Platinum or Delta Gold SkyMiles card, open in the last 90 days. As long as you have not had any active cards that match either of those terms, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the 10,000 MQMs after your first purchase and the additional 30,000 MQMs after $60,000 spent on your Delta Reserve card within a calendar year.

Call American Express customer service to ensure you are eligible for a bonus offer.

Call American Express customer service to ensure you are eligible for a bonus offer.

When in doubt always call American Express to verify whether you are eligible for a sign up bonus. You don’t want to apply for a card, get the hard inquiry on your credit and then not even receive the sign-up bonus. On top of not getting the bonus, you’ll have to wait another year to be eligible.

While American Express does do a good job of saying who is eligible and who isn’t,  you should always double check by calling. They’ve cracked down a lot in the past year or so and aren’t as lenient with people who email or call them asking for points after they’ve hit the minimum spend. If the representative doesn’t see your bonus in the system then American Express will consider you ineligible and you’ll have to fight tooth and nail to get the bonus points that you feel you deserve.

I hope that answered your question, but if not please comment below or tweet me @thepointsguy!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Grant

    Very good advice. I’ve been burned by Amex for only waiting 11 months from closing a card to getting it again. Very frustrating. Sometimes they will give you some small amount of points as consolation, but don’t count on that happening.

  • Jason

    I’m an Authorized user for the Amex premier rewards card on my sisters account, am I eligible to apply for my own premier rewards cards and receive the bonus?

  • Chris

    Thanks TPG, answered my question completely

  • Andrew

    Yes you are eligible. The MR points that you have earned on that account are hers
    as was the bonus when she got the card. I know because I was in the same situation. I was authorized on Premier Rewards Gold and Plat.
    I applied for both cards – was approved and given the appropriate bonus points all the while I was still active as an authorized user on the other accounts.

  • Jonathan

    I’ve heard that you can only hold 4 personal amex at a time (they won’t approve you for more). What is your experience with this?

  • Jason

    Thanks for the info.

  • Andy F.


  • Simon

    I just wanted to clarify this. If I have a personal Delta Reserve card, I can cancel it, and wait 90 days to apply for personal Delta Platinum card and I should be able to receive the sign up bonus right?

  • John Beeler

    I normally like this forum but I am frustrated by your answer! You mention nothing about the *new* terms stating that “If you are identified as a current American Express Cardmember, you may not be eligible for this offer”. Could you please comment on whether you can bypass this restriction by not signing in during application?

    I’m sorry my tone is more harsh than usual, I was just disappointed that you mentioned nothing of the newer, more important terms.

  • Gabriel Leigh

    I’ve had as many as six Amex personal cards at a time.

  • LarryInNYC

    I only have one AMEX card (75K bonus gold business card) but I heard stories about people getting denied the bonus so the first thing I did was confirm, via secure message, that I was qualified for the bonus and would earn it after completing the spending requirement.

    To my mind, written documentation like that would be more valuable than a phone call in the event that there was a dispute later on.

  • drz

    Better to always call beforehand, but agree with the commenter below writing about the problematic “MAY not be eligible” phrasing. I applied for the personal gold premier card w/50,000 mr sign up offer in Feb, only to get ZERO points; it was denied based on that phrase. And now I also have an unneeded hard inquiry on my credit report. Apparently being a loyal cardholder of Amex for close to 20 years doesn’t count for much. Actually for bonus point better not to be a loyal customer at all.

  • Jamie

    I agree with you here John. I recently applied for the SPG Amex, through an affiliate link. I wasn’t careful enough to make sure the offer was correct before I completed the application, but realized afterwards that because Amex identified me as a current customer, they downgraded the signup bonus to10,000 after first purchase, but removed the 15,000 pts after $5000/6 mo that’s part of the standard offer.
    I asked mommypoints about it later, and she said yes, they sometimes do that, and that it’s good to clear cache, use a different browser, etc to try to avoid them recognizing you. But I really wish this was posted loud and clear on the blogs, Amex may try to downgrade your offer if they realize you are a current customer. Be very careful that the T&C match the offer you think you are applying for!!!

  • summer

    i’ve literally called and confirmed i can get the bonus, they actually advised me to close the current one to get the new bonus. now i’m still fighting to get the bonus – amex said they are investigating, but no results – sure who can prove what was said on the phone.

  • Sam

    I signed up for an additional Amex Platinum Business CC after just one month of getting the first card. I only did it because I received another offer for the card with 100k bonus in the mail. Now, they’re refusing based on already having the card within the past 12 months. Is there any way of disassociating the two accounts from each other so I may qualify for the 2nd bonus?

  • Pat Wong

    I felt the same way at the beginning. This would be my 16th credit (will be the last one) card within last two years. I only wanted sure success to receive sign-up bonus. Two days ago, I called the number posted by the Point Guy on this post. 1-800-528-4800. The AMEX receptionist checked my profile and said I am eligible, and guaranteed I will receive the bonus. Long story short, I applied via the phone, got approved. After I receive the card, I plan to email AMEX to write me a guarantee that I will receive 25000 points, before I spend my first dollar.

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