American Express has been getting tougher with bonuses lately. They already have limitations on sign up bonuses and have been freezing accounts even when people get spending or authorized user bonuses. Their terms for new applications already included the following:
- Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card.
- 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.
New Amex Restrictions on Signup Bonuses
American Express is now taking one more step in limiting signup bonuses. A new change in terms gives them even more power to deny bonuses, with vague language that could apply to many people. Here’s what they added in all their credit card applications’ terms:
We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.
This means that a signup bonus can be denied if you have too many Amex cards. There’s no set number in the terms, so you do not really know what is considered “too many”. Besides that, the bonus can also be denied because for “other factors”. Teyh vague language gives Amex the leeway to take any action they want probably, and those who apply won’t really have much say.
On top of that it’s not clear how they will enforce or implement this new language going forward. Will they decline an application if they think you’ve opened and closed too many cards recently? Will they approve you for a new card and then tell you that you do not qualify for the bonus? Will they wait for you to complete the spending requirement and then look at your account to decide whether you should get the bonus?
Credit card bonuses have been getting harder and harder to get. This is not just an Amex issue but really industry wise. The vague language is what makes this hard to predict. We’ll see in the next few days and weeks if this is implemented and how.