Amex Updates Sign-Up Bonus Terms for Business Cards

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American Express Membership Rewards points can be tremendously valuablewe value points at 1.9 cents apiece, thanks to the program’s lucrative transfer options. It’s no surprise, then, that consumers (and in this case business owners) close their accounts only to sign up again, hoping to receive an additional sign-up bonus.

For years, it’s been possible to do this with personal and business cards issued by American Express, but in 2014 Amex tweaked the language for personal cards, technically making it impossible to receive a sign-up bonus more than once. Unfortunately, it looks like Amex has now done the same for its business credit cards, including the following:

You can see the updated terms below (for the Business Platinum Card):

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 9.19.20 AM

Based on the updated terms, the sign-up (or “welcome”) bonus offer is only available to individuals who haven’t had the same card before, with applicants likely being tracked by their own social security number, rather than a Tax ID number (if applicable). That means that while you can earn a bonus for a different product, you can’t get a bonus twice for the same card. Unfortunately this applies to any business accounts you’ve opened and closed prior to this week, as per this clarification from Amex:

With this change, if a customer has had an OPEN Card in the past, they will not be eligible for welcome bonuses for that same Card in future. However, if a customer would like to apply for a different OPEN Card, they may be eligible for a welcome bonus for that Card.

If you’re looking to sign up for a new American Express card that you haven’t had previously, I would pay extra attention to the sign-up bonus — for example, if you see a bonus of 100,000 points for the Business Platinum Card, you’re probably not going to do much better than that, but the current 40,000-point offer might seem a bit less appealing now. Meanwhile, if you sign up for a card that you have had before, keep in mind that there’s a chance you won’t receive the bonus a second time — if the card’s other benefits are worthwhile to you (such as Centurion Lounge access and an airline fee credit), don’t let that stop you from signing up, though.

H/T: Miles to Memories

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Apply Now
  • Get 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories
  • Plus, 2X points on the 4 remaining categories and 1X points on other purchases
  • Redeem points for everyday business expenses, to help with travel costs or to reward employees and entertain clients
  • Track, organize, and stay on top of your business expenses with powerful expense-tracking tools
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees
Intro APR Regular APR Annual Fee Balance Transfer Credit Rating
N/A N/A $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175 See Terms Excellent Credit