-DDF user shmebeble was the first to report being told that effective May 1st you will only be able to earn a signup bonus from an American Express card if you have never had it in the past.
–DDF user Drago then learned from their Twitter reps that starting May 1 there will be new ‘acquisition incentive control rules’.
–DDF user Redbull3 then confirmed with their chat agents that something is in the works as well.
I jumped onto the American Express chat to learn more. I asked about the exact language for the new ‘acquisition incentive control rules’.
I was told that,
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.
The rep continued,
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.
I pressed on and the rep said,
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.
All of the above is only for consumer cards. I got conflicting information about business cards about whether this is eventually coming, whether the status quo remains, or whether it might even get easier to get a business card bonus, so I’m not going to speculate on what’s going on there…#Developing!
So there you have it. At this point nothing is 100% confirmed and we won’t really know anything for a few more months to see if this will be enforced. But we have confirmations from phone reps, Twitter reps, and chat agents that changes are likely coming.