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Last week, we found out about a new AmEx rule

Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card. 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.

The first sentence has always been in there.  We knew about that.

The second sentence is new, and is much more restrictive for people who like to apply for lots of credit cards.  This narrows down AmEx’s “once per lifetime” much further, and seems to imply that American Express will be looking specifically for activities it doesn’t like during the approval process.  Mind you, they might still approve you for the card, but this rule will keep you from getting the welcome offer.

a close-up of a credit card

Think twice before you apply for that new American Express card…

We now know that AmEx is actively enforcing this rule, check out Reddit for the details.  The good news?  It’s some kind of internal check to American Express, and they’ll let you know if you’re going to be ineligible prior to pulling your credit report.  You’re then given the option to proceed, or to withdraw your application.

We also get to narrow in on the reason AmEx won’t give us the welcome offer on the card:

If you’ve had the card before, the pop-up will note “Because you have or have had The Platinum Card, you are not eligible to receive the welcome offer. We have not yet performed a credit check. Would you still like to proceed?

If AmEx wants to deny you the bonus due to your customer history, they’ll tell you “Based on your history with American Express welcome offers, introductory APR offers, or the number of cards you have opened and closed, you are not eligible to receive this welcome offer.  We have not yet performed a credit check. Would you still like to proceed?

While not particularly welcome in this community, both messages are helpful.  If nothing else, you’ll know why AmEx won’t give you the welcome offer, which will clear up any questions about which cards you’ve had, and how long those take to “fall out” of the records at American Express.  There are some instances of folks getting the bonus on the same card twice, 7 years after closing seems to be the lucky number.

What Next?

Now, until someone gets these messages, applies anyway, and meets the spend, we won’t know for sure if the system will deny you the welcome offer.  I’m not going to bet my next application on the offer coming through, but it’s possible that this is simply a scare tactic.

I’m also waiting to see how this will play along with application links that don’t include the “once per lifetime” rule, which come along occasionally.  Will those applications bypass this new language?

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this as we get more data points.

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