AMEX Changes – No Sign-Up Points for Former Card Holders as of May 1st

This would be a huge loss if the rumors turn out to be true…It seems that American Express (Advertising Partner) representatives are openly discussing  new “acquisition incentive control rules” that will go into effect May 1, 2014 that will invalidate the current “once every 12 months rule”. Dan from DansDeals had an online chat with a representative and received the following information:

“Effective for consumer card applications on May 1st, acquisition incentive control will be declined if the Card Member has ever had the same card and cancelled it. We no longer limit the timeline to look back 12 months”.

“You may be wondering why we are doing it. I know it’s a great loss to people who genuinely take advantage of it. Of recent though, we have seen some misuse of it. I.E. people getting Cards, spending the required spend limit, and then canceling. In the meantime, we are trying to work on something else. To see if we can offset it. No eta as of yet. For example, if a Cardmember has been with us for a while and does not have a history of hit and run, so to say (I’m using my own language), then that requirement may be relaxed. I can’t guarantee that will be one of them. But it’s a possibility.”

Just to confirm I asked “So all consumer card bonuses will be once in a lifetime starting may 1st?” And the rep answered:

“Basically, yes. Now, that’s not to say that won’t change or that exceptions can’t be made.”

Just to be certain I jumped onto chat one more time with another rep who wrote,

“Let me provide you the details. Accounts opened before April 30, 2014 – bonus will be declined if the Card Member: Has the same Card or Cancelled the same Card in the last 12 months.
Account opened on or after May 1, 2014 – bonus will be declined if the Card Member: Has the same Card or cancelled the same Card”.

There’s been no official word from AMEX but it appears that their phone, online, and Twitter representatives are all aware of the proposed consumer changes. There’s also been no word on business card changes. I’ve reached out to AMEX Corporate for a response and will post it here as soon as I hear back. Hopefully some of you are almost at the 12 month mark for some of your cards and can apply again.  SPG personal card here I come again!

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Comments

  1. Sucks, saw it last night. Wish they’d meet in the middle like once every 3 years or 5 years or something, rather than once in a lifetime.

  2. It sucks but they are correct in doing this. Travel bloggers promote all types of strategies for people to get pojnts by siging up for new credit cards and many peop

  3. The horror! People will no longer be able to take advantage of a system that was unnecessarily tilted in their favor.

    The simple fact of the matter is that there are certain individuals out there who abused the system by signing up for cards on a yearly basis and as a result now everyone is being punished. Just another reminder that the points game is a marathon not a sprint, but don’t tell that to the bloggers. If they didn’t encourage everyone to abuse the system then they couldn’t make money off their referral fees.

    No doubt many people will make a stink over this. Afterall, when things are tilted in our favor it is ok, but if a company wants to level the playing field it is unfair.

  4. So, let me get this right … because AMEX doesn’t do enough for us to keep their cards beyond the sign-up bonus, they’re going to send us elsewhere for our credit card needs?

    Besides, any executive who calls their customers “hit-and-run” probably won’t last long.

  5. The comments here are already proving my point about the self entitled backlash that is coming. This is not about Amex doing enough to entice cardholder to keep their cards. This is purely about individuals being greedy about sign up bonuses and wanting more more more in the shortest period of time. Many Amex cards offer the same benefits as cards from other issuers. Do you really think offering an extra point or two on certain categories of spending would prevent people from churning cards?

    As for the use of the term “hit and run,” the use of that phrase was by a low level customer service representative, not a corporate executive. It might not be the most eloquent phrasing, but I think it sums up the unethical cardholders well. Perhaps the reason the use of the phrase hurts so much is because of the truth in it.

  6. Not great news but “hit and run” is appropriate. I can live with this on personal cards for the most part but Amex will need to step up with retention offers when it comes time to look back and justify the annual fee on some of their products. For instance I will keep a slot open for their no fee Hilton card until the cows come home BUT a personal Platinum charge card will receive extra consideration, especially post benefit devaluation.

    Business cards will need some special rules. I have a couple of businesses and if I decide to drop my Amex charge card for business “A” for a few years and take advantage of a similar card offered by Chase I don’t want to be penalized as a “hit and run” customer. I want to be able to pick up the same card for business “B” after 12 months or so and still receive the bonus. Current rules allow this as long as I pause for 12+ months.

    Chase allows this with their Ink products no problem as long as it’s a legitimate business with separate bank accounts and Federal ID# – even if I operate both as a sole proprietor. My business spends are 15-20x my personal spend and I can calculate roughly what they are making off the swipe fees alone. You want to keep that going? Entice me to stay with retention offers or allow me to ebb and flow with solid business card offers.

    I can go back to writing checks anytime, or take advantage of cash back credit cards for eternity. Heavy continual use customers should be rewarded, not treated the same as “hit and run” customers.

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