American Express has updated terms in some of its cards, adding language against those who engage in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome bonus offer. The new language is showing up on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card offer for example, in the Terms & Conditions and I expect all cards to soon have the same language.
Purchases to meet the spend requirement do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of traveler’s checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards; person-to-person payments, or purchases of any cash equivalents.
If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome bonus offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain a welcome bonus offer(s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit the welcome bonus to, we may freeze the welcome bonus credited to, or we may take away the welcome bonus from your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.
American Express has already been freezing MR accounts and clawing back points in the past, so this is not something new. But, by adding them in writing in the offer terms, they have more leeway in taking action against those abusing the system.
I’ve often warned lately to be careful with Amex bonuses, especially to avoid manufactured spending to meet spending requirements. These new terms are a reminder to be even more careful.