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Amex Changes Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card Bonus Terms – Prior Platinum Cardholders Excluded

by on September 10, 2013 · 48 comments

in American Express, Credit Cards

Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

Update: Beginning March 22, 2014, American Express Card Members will no longer have access to American Airlines Admiral Club and US Airways Club airport lounges through Airport Club Access / Airport Lounge Program. This means that Card Members will no longer be able to gain complimentary access to the American Airlines airport lounges (known as Admirals Club lounges) or the US Airways Club airport lounges as a benefit of their Platinum Card Membership.

TPG reader Debbie wrote to me that she was interested in applying for the Mercedes-Benz Platinum Card from American Express, which comes with all of the same benefits that I value with the personal Platinum Card (American, Delta, US Airways and Priority Pass Select lounge access and $200 yearly airline credit) as well as a 50,000-point bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first three months.

The Mercedes-Benz Platinum comes with a 50,000 point bonus for first-time cardholders.

The Mercedes-Benz Platinum comes with a 50,000 point bonus for first-time cardholders.

However, reading through the terms, she noted that “This offer is not valid for existing Platinum Card members from American Express. You are eligible to receive points for only one Card account.”

You might recall that during my last major round of credit card applications back in March, I had decided when making my current credit card inventory list, to replace my then-current American Express Platinum card with the Mercedes-Benz version and score an additional bonus in the process.

Back then, the terms simply stated that the “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months.” I confirmed on this Flyertalk thread that those with a regular Platinum had been getting the bonus with no issues, though, so it was as if Amex considered the two cards as separate products.

However, instead of switching and foregoing the sign-up bonus, I applied for the Mercedes card as a new applicant, and then once I got it, I canceled my old Platinum card over to it, scored the new bonus, and was off to the races.

Since then, though, it looks like Amex has started cracking down more on applicants who want to score bonuses both on the personal Platinum and Mercedes-Benz versions and it has amended to terms to include previous cardholder-ship of the regular Platinum Card as an exclusion to getting a new bonus on a second Platinum card.

The new terms state that you cannot get the bonus on this card if you have already had the Platinum card.

The new terms state that you cannot get the bonus on this card if you have already had the Platinum card.

That’s unfortunate, and I would love to hear any recent reader experiences to the contrary, but it just goes to show that if you find a great credit card deal, you should get in on it while you can since issuers can change the rules whenever they please and that can leave you without the chance of any bonus at all.

For more details on the Platinum Card and its benefits, check out these posts:

-The Amex Platinum Card Review
-Is the Amex Platinum Worth the $450 Annual Fee?
-Maximizing the Amex Platinum $200 Annual Airline Rebate
-Understanding the Amex Platinum Lounge Access Benefit
-The Amex Platinum Fine Hotels & Resorts Program
-My Experience Getting Refunded for the Global Entry Application Fee With My Amex Platinum Card

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • John

    I’m not reading it that way. The way I read it is you cannot get the card if you are an existing platinum cardholder. You can then only received points for one card account. You cannot receive additional points for any person added to your account. I don’t see anything that says if you previously had an account you are not eligible.

  • thepointsguy

    Correct- if you’ve had a Platinum card within the past 12 months, you cannot get the sign-up bonus. This is a change from a couple months ago when you could get the 50k sign-up bonus, even if you had an existing Platinum card open.

  • Eric

    So to get a MB platinum, could I for 12 months downgrade to Amex Gold & than bump up again to the Amex Platinum?

  • John

    I’m not sure if that is the case either. The T&C do not include the typical Amex exclusion, making you ineligible if you have had the same card in the past 12 months. The way I read it here, you can close your existing platinum card account, apply for the Mercedes platinum and get the 50K bonus.

  • Colin

    I went to cancel my regular Amex Plat last week because the annual $450 fee hit my statement. Amex offered me $350 statement credit or 50,000 Amex Points. I took the Amex points hoping for a BA transfer bonus sometime soon. As a side note, I don’t even spend much on this card, probably less than $15k last year.

  • Dee

    I never got my bonus 25,000 MRs from my personal Gold Amex from back in April. When I called to ask about it, the rep told me there was no bonus when I signed up. I replied that I would not have applied for the card without a bonus and I exceeded the $5K min spend. They are supposed to call me back in 5 – 7 business days. I wonder that they feel they are giving away too many MRs.

  • thepointsguy

    Nice! 50k points without the additional credit hit- huge win in my book!

  • thepointsguy

    You can’t have a Zync, Green or GOld open within the last 90 days and you also can’t have a Platinum open within the last 12 months. So you’d have to switch to something other- maybe Premier Rewards Gold?

  • thepointsguy

    “Welcome bonus not applicable to those who have had a Platinum card within 12 months”. I think that is pretty clear- if you close your Platinum card a week before you apply for MB Platinum, I would not expect to get the sign-up bonus

  • John

    You got me! I guess that is pretty clear! I was looking only at the language you highlighted. Looks like my wife and I will be tag team platinum cardholders.

  • Brandon

    I just got this card- bonus points still posted, even with a Plat Card I closed once I got this one.

  • Ben Price

    This happened to me. Hope you have proof (Screenshot) that you applied for the link with the 25k bonus. Without it, good luck :(

    I don’t think its an MR issue. It’s an AMEX thing. They’re kinda strict about this stuff.

    I applied for the SPG Amex and they wouldn’t give me the second 15k without proof that I signed up for the right offer.

  • Matt

    It seems like if you have had a zync, gold or green card within 90 days you can’t get the sign up bonus. Are you also excluded from the 50k MRs if you’re an existing Premier Rewards Gold cardholder?

  • Jose

    Are you saying that for the purposes of these T&C that a Premier Rewards Gold Card doesn’t count as a “Gold” card for the purposes of excluding you from being eligible for the bonus?

  • Deneetro

    I did not get the 25K bonus points for the Premier Rewards Gold card that I was approved for back in June 2013. Contacted customer service, and she told me that current AMEX customers were not eligible for the bonus points offer. I already had the Delta Gold and the Hilton Honors cards. Thus, if you are new to AMEX, and plan to apply for several cards, I highly recommend considering the Premier Rewards Gold card first.

  • SuperKirby

    Does a screenshot really prove anything? i can get a screen shot right now and/or photoshop anything. How do they know?

  • Meghanb904

    I’ve had issues with the latest Starwood card. Made the minimum spend and they won’t honor the bonus points. Contacted AmEx, who were supposed to get back to me within 48 hours. No reply. Very agitated with AmEx right now and I wish I got a screen shot!

  • Justin

    I just got an email offer from AMEX to upgrade my Business Gold to Platinum for 25,000 MRs with the first purchase. But if I did that, I’d have to wait until I cancelled plus 12 months to get the MB Platinum? Can I get the MB if I have the Business Gold?

  • joeypore

    Yeah… I’m pretty sure the PR Gold counts as a gold product. At least, that’s what the AMEX reps have said. So basically the thing to do, is make sure you have at least one AMEX card on your account (so your extended warranties and purchase protections are still valid), cancel, wait 90 days, apply for a different category…. It sucks, because if you really get value out of the Platinum (as I do), and you want to keep it for a while, you won’t get the signup bonus again :/ what a bummer…

  • Steve

    What if you have a Business Platinum and apply for the MB Personal (or vice versa)? It seems the same bonus is available for both versions.

  • alex

    Vice-versa… Is it possible to get the Platinum sign-up bonus points if you are holding a MB Platinum for over a year?

  • Tom

    I currently have the following AMEX Cards: SPG Personal, SPG Business, Delta Plat Personal, Delta Plat Business, Premier Rewards Gold (Personal) and Platinum Business. I was thinking of applying for the Mercedes card and then canceling my Plat Business card. Based on your post, I don’t think that the Business Plat will be a problem, but one of the other conditions is that you aren’t eligible for the MB card if you’ve had any personal Gold card in the past 90 days. I just got the PR Gold Card in March. Do you think I can get the MB bonus if I cancel the PR Gold now and apply for the MB in 91 days?

  • Fanfoot

    Yes. Personal and Business cards are separate.

  • Fanfoot

    Well, I’ve used screenshots or threats of same to convince support people to give me bonuses I was promised a number of times…

  • Fanfoot

    Yes. Business and Personal are separate.

  • Fanfoot

    Only issue (in theory) is that you’re canceling 6 months after getting the card. For whatever reason the conventional wisdom is to keep the cards longer. I assume cancelling one card a bit quickly wouldn’t make you look like a bad customer though. But hey, YMMV.

  • Fanfoot

    Yes. PR Gold is just a variant of the regular Amex Gold.

  • Fanfoot

    I think he’s wrong about that. But hey, he’s TPG and he’s usually right about these things. A PRG can for example be downgraded to a Green, but its a different Green with a higher annual fee that the Green you’d be able to downgrade to from a non-PR Gold. Not claiming I understand the nuances…

  • SuperKirby

    I guess they just want to hear us “really want the bonus points” and if we go out of our way to find an old screen shot (or use a new one and change dates or use photoshop), then they’ll honor our requests.

  • Fanfoot

    There’s a good question… I’m currently holding the MB and have downgraded my Platinum, but was planning to switch them around next year…

    Looking at the current Platinum application it says “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 Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card account within the last 90 days.”

    So I think the first sentence gives them whatever wiggle room they want if they decide to deny you the bonus, but they don’t specifically call out the MB Platinum…

  • Tom

    Thanks, I’ve never canceled a card after 6 months, but I was planning to cancel before the Annual fee comes due in March.

  • http://www.alwaysyouthful.com/ Alina Mark

    Nice! 50k points without the additional credit hit- huge win in my book! I like this.

  • steve

    “Yes” meaning one could still apply for one if he has the other? Does anyone know this for sure?

  • CubsGirl

    It’s not just the MB Plat card doing this. When I click on the link for the regular platinum card, there is a message in red telling me that I have been identified as a current AMEX card holder and am not eligible for any welcome bonus. Similarly, if I browse inprivate and click the link, the standard terms say that applicants who are identified as current card holders are not eligible. Bummer!

  • Kamal

    Can I upgrade from my Amex Premier Rewards Gold to Amex Mercedes Benz, without getting a credit pull ?

    Mercedes is launching CLA Class starting at $30K. Tempting starting price for a Mercedes.

  • E

    What about vice versa? I have the mb plat, but never had the regular plat. Still qualified for reg plat bonus?

  • Glenn Galang

    Does the MB Platinum Amex have the $200 Annual Airline Rebate also? I don’t see it listed on their site but I could be overlooking it. Thanks!

  • thepointsguy

    Yes

  • Mark Brown

    When I phoned AmEx to activate my SPG card (in August), I also asked to confirm my 30K SPG sign-up bonus. Initially I was told I was only eligible for a 10K on first use bonus, but not the 20K after $5K spend. The verbiage on the application page stated “If you are a current customer, you may not be eligible”. After “investigating”, they called me back and said, since I was an existing AmEx customer (I have the Hilton and Delta Plat cards), I was not eligible for the extra 20K bonus. Huh? I have never had an SPG card and their fine print is extremely vague. Good News, maybe. The rep claimed they would go ahead and give me the 20K bonus points now (and not require the $5K spend), because I’m a long-term customer in good standing. That was on Monday. Still no points in my account. Stay tuned.

  • Claire

    Same thing happened to me last year. All I ever got Amex to do was give me 5,000 SPG courtesy points. This year I see that they are much clearer that existing Amex cardholders are not eligible for more than the first use bonus. My husband applied for the SPG 30,000 offer a couple of weeks ago and even though he cleared cookies before applying, they mentioned in the approval letter that he was identified as an existing cardholder(Amex Hilton and Costco only). So I am pretty sure that even with a screenshot he will never get those 20,000 points for 5k spend; and I look at the 10k first use points as well worth it for a small one-time use. We won’t even try to do the entire 5k spend now. Just wait till all those who applied for the 30,000 point offer start hitting the brick wall at Amex. How many people in this world do not have any pre-existing Amex card? Meghan and Mark, please post your results. I’m sure many people will be very interested to hear what happens with this.

  • Mark Brown

    I just checked, and the AmEx SPG application page still says

    “If you are identified as a current American Express® Cardmember, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. ”

    Who decides “may not” vs. “will not”? Still vague.

  • Steve

    It looks like today they’ve extended even to owners of non-Platinum cards:

    “Welcome bonus not available to applicants who have had a Platinum Card within the last 12 months or any Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card account within the last 90 days.”

  • Mark Brown

    Called AmEx. The rep who called to tell me they were “gifting” me the points neglected to click “Send”. So much for following through with great service. I have the points now.

    Earn +20,000 09/17/2013 SPG AX – GOODWILL FROM AX

  • Seth

    Happy follow-up report: I am a Platinum Business cardholder, and just cancelled Platinum Personal card in March. Applied for Mercedes-Benz card on September 5th, met and paid off spend on October 1. Points posted today. Relieved and pleased to see that!

  • Clarence

    Since T&C specifically state that bonus points is not available to previous Plat, Gold and other cardholders, I was going to upgrade to regular Platinum for. 25k bonus. But was surprised to hear that I was available for a 50k bonus that requires a 5k spend in 3 months. Promo ends on Dec 31. Worth a try if you are looking to upgrade. I went from the PRG to Plat but kept the additional card at Gold (45/yr).

  • Sean Hunter

    The terms and conditions about the bonus offer state that in bold at the top, but it seems like it’s the new AmEx header. The terms specifically for the SPG card personal (didn’t check business) only specifically exclude persons who have held the card within the last 12 months. NOTE: Each AmEx card is being treated differently, though. e.g. I have a low-end, discontinued Zync card that disqualifies me for sign-up bonuses for any of Amex’s historical charge cards (Platinum, Green, etc.).

    I called to confirm and even applied over the phone so that they have a record of it. I’m also taking screenshots of the current terms just in case.

  • Kop G

    I’m on the same boat as alex and fanfoot; I have the MB Platinum and wonder if I’m eligible to the regular Platinum sign up bonus. The Amex disclamer gives them all the wiggle room in the world. Any reports on the subject?

    THANKS

  • SantiHolly Speranza

    When I read your post a few months back about losing the AA lounges I called and after arguing with the rep who kept saying I won’t get anything, I asked to speak to an Account Rep that actually was helpful and gave me a $400 Credit on my Account to help offset the $475 Annual Fee on my AMEX Benz Card… I would have loved 50,000 more points though as I value those at about 1.8 cents each (or more) when I use them on International Business Travel with Delta! Thank you for posting this great info!

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