AMEX Cracks Down On Credit Card Signup Bonuses Yet Again; History Of Signup Bonus Crackdowns From The Big Banks

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I’ve been blogging since November of 2004 and it has been fascinating to see the evolution of mileage hobby over the past 14 years. I got into blogging after reselling beanie babies for ridiculous profits on eBay as a 13 year old, arranging group flight discounts and renting out cell phone plans from my own corporate account as a 17 year old in yeshiva, and manufacturing over a million Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for free through the now defunct eBay Anything Points program.

In the good old days I went from figuring out how to 2BM which became 3BM and eventually got as high as a 24BM. I typically kept the specifics limited to the 15 seminars that I ran from 2012-2015. Over the years I’ve been able to travel the world with my family in first class countless times while burning over 20 million miles and banking tens of millions more along with lifetime elite statuses and other perks. It’s hard to think of a better hobby than that.

But the days of opening 24 cards in one shot or buying hundreds of thousands of dollar coins are gone, like all the good things that ain’t never coming back.

And today AMEX has added the following language to their card applications:

This effectively is AMEX giving themselves the legal right to do anything they want after you apply for a card. If you have closed any AMEX cards in the past you’ll be playing the AMEX lottery to see if you’ll get a signup bonus.

AMEX has been at the forefront of limiting repeat signup bonuses over the past 4 years, but this takes things to a new level. Do you think that other banks will follow their lead?

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45 Comments On "AMEX Cracks Down On Credit Card Signup Bonuses Yet Again; History Of Signup Bonus Crackdowns From The Big Banks"

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Point lover

Sucks for those turning 18 now. Between this and 5/24 from chase…. at least I got something from all this


Wow! That’s nuts.

You think if a person has signed up for a lot of amex cards but has a great history and has used the cards and not just opened and closed right away that they should be ok?
How will they run with this new rule?


I like that part “On about 5/24/15, Chase invented the 5/24 rule..”


Good thing they didn’t make that decision on January the thirty-first.




Too funny


I had a Amex Gold, that I was keeping open just for “emergency” and putting a small spend on it each month to build up the credit limit (got it uo to 100k). In April they gave me a 40k bonus, if I had a 2k spend, to bump up to the Premier Rewards, and last week they gave me a 60k bonus (with a 5k spend) if I bumped up to Platinum. Basically 100k for a 7k spend. Not bad.


One freedom only ?? Never knew about that
Guess the sub is small so no one bothers talking about it


Yes, I was recently denied a Hilton Business card based on this


You were denied the card itself or just the bonus?


the card


A couple things:
a) I still see a glimmer of hope in this post, “…like all the good things that ain’t never coming back.” 😉

b) Cute coincidence between the date 5/24 and the rule. 🙂

c) Where’s the link in the 4th bullet point??? >:(


Dan does this language leave amex vulnerable to class action lawsuit?


At this point, they might as well just state on the application “sign up bonus is awarded randomly and not in all circumstances”.

My biggest issue with this development is the “other factors” wording in the statement. They are giving themselves an out as Dan mentions on awarding it for any reason. If offering a sign up bonus, I’d like to see a requirement for banks to have to specify specifically what is required to get said bonus.


Is the freedom unlimited and freedom reg considered same product as sapphire??
Like can’t I get both sign up bonuses 2 after the other ?


What about targeted amex sign up offers – is this new language showing up on those apps as well?

Ben F

Can somebody please give advice on how to start earning miles and points for beginners?


I can’t imagine that kind of broad language would hold up in a court of law. Basically “We will give you a bonus in consideration of you opening a card, unless we decide not to”

Seminar attendee (not the stealing one)

@Dan, when you talk about being eligible for a new bonus every six years, is that 6 years from the opening of the card, or does that card need to have been closed for 6 years (or another significant length of time)?

Same with 5/24, would I be eligible for another sign up bonus for the same card after just 2 years?


Dang it, I was going to schedule tomorrow’s post but now I have to edit it…


Is that the reason for no more seminars?


there was also language that said something about abusing, opening and closing etc… this looks like a significantly broader term to give flexibility


@dan is the chase 3 points per dllar freedom unlimited still available


dan i never understodd chase is 5/24 or citis 24 motnh rule are 24 months from the time you opened the card? received the bonus with the points clearing into your account ? or closed the card? same for citi. if you can answer I would be very apprecaitive asthis question has been bothering me for 2 years already and I never got a straight answer from anybody the reps keep giving me diffrent answers the supervisor gave me another answer everything is not cut and dry.


Chase its 5 cards on your report that were opened in the last 24 months, Citi bank 24 months from when you opened or closed any card in a specific family (advantage=bronze platinum executive,Thank you card=Preferred Prestige etc).


With Amex, if you apply for a CC with a Bonus and you can’t get the bonus, they still open the card and another hit on your credit report. At least at Chase they do not issue the card and do not do a credit pull.


i upgraded to platinum got 60k then downgraded. then i got another offer to upgrade got an email that i should be getting (another)60k, nut never got it. should i even try to get it??


Good move by amex. Now all of you- go and get productive jobs that help civilization


So let’s say if I already have the Amex Hilton business and Alex Hilton ascend, am I likely get denied of the signup bonus if I apply for the Amex Hilton regular with no annual fee?


Also in May 2015, a blogger who attended a DansDeals seminar in June of 2014 took the BOFA Alaska 12BM/24BM information that I talked about at the seminar and then he wrote about it as his own with big yellow circles and arrows on his blog. And sure enough, BOFA cracked down on multiple applications after that. The blogger then deleted the post, but the web archive never forgets…

This line is freaken hilarious!


Do you think Amex has to tell you if you will not qualify for the bonus before approving the card? Or can they approve you, you use the card and pay the annual fee thinking you’re going to get the bonus, and then poof you’re left with an expensive card with no bonus?

Nick @ Personal Finance Digest

Dan, I have it on good authority that it was that particular post that killed multiple apps at B of A:


Amex also in recent years had a rule about having a max of 5 credit cards and 2 charge cards. Also, when you call the reps they seem to have more info on your history and are careful when they offer retention. I wonder if another bank becomes more generous with signup bonuses if that would affect Amex’s policies. Arent the signup bonuses a drop in the bucket for them?


So from now on the rule is “you sign in to our credit card, and then, if we want, we give you a bonus”?

n k

It’s the fault of all these miles/points businesses that advertise: Earn $8000 dollars at once! We will open the cards for you, do the spending, sell the miles, & send you the check. Just give us your social security #!… And you all know how trey are doing it… Abusing the system & killing it!