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American Express Membership Rewards points can be tremendously valuable — we 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:
- Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
- The Blue for Business Credit Card from American Express
- The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
- The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN
- SimplyCash Business Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
- Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
You can see the updated terms below as of 2/26/16 (for the Business Platinum Card):
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, with the bonus of 100,000 points for the The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN, you’re probably not going to do much better than that, but the 40,000-point offer might seem a bit less appealing. 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
Though the Business Gold Rewards card doesn’t have the benefits package of the more premium Business Platinum Card, it also doesn’t have that card’s $450 annual fee. In fact, the $175 annual fee on this one is waived the first year, so getting it is like a risk-free trial of its benefits plus it comes with appealing bonus spending categories like 3x on the category of choice and a range of 2x spending categories as well.
- Special Offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your 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
- 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter
- 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