Dan’s Deals has a discussion suggesting that American Express is going to begin enforcing a rule that customers will be able to receive the bonus for a credit card signup only once per product. He’s reporting that if you’ve had a given card in the past you won’t be able to get a new signup bonus effective May 1.
There’s much consternation over this, as though it fundamentally changes something in the miles and points hobby. But I don’t think that it really does. Although if the rumors are true and you’re interested in a card you’ve had in the past it could be a worthwhile idea to sign up before the end of April
It isn’t really a big deal though. It doesn’t spell gloom and doom.
- Limiting access to bonuses is something American Express has already been working on. I frequently click on American Express offers now and see the following message (likely because of browser cookies):
You have been identified as a current American Express Card Member. You may have seen an offer advertised for this product previously, but the offer is not available to current American Express Card Members.
- It’s how others do it already. Years ago Chase would give you the same bonus for the same card over and over and over every few months, even for cards you already had open (you could earn the bonus on a United Visa when you already had a United Visa). Then they changed to only award a bonus once per product in a lifetime (unless a product was considered ‘new’) although they’ve certainly made exceptions to this.
- It’s how Amex used to do it. When I got started in this hobby American Express would only award a bonus once. The exception was that if they increased the signup bonus for a card, they would give you the difference between the new offer and the one you previously received.
- American Express signup bonuses have been pretty modest recently anyway. Except for targeted offers, we haven’t seen really big American Express offers in awhile. The new Amex Everyday cards, receiving big marketing push with TV ad buys during the Oscars, are launching with bonuses of 10,000 and 15,000 points for the two products.
Obviously a willingness to give fewer people signup bonuses isn’t a good thing from the perspective of a consumer who likes being given lots of miles. But this doesn’t signal a significant new shift in the hobby.