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Unfortunately, following a recent update to the terms and conditions that accompany the American Express® Gold Card, a significant number of American Express customers who do not yet hold this card, will not be eligible for a welcome bonus should they apply for the card in the future.
Thanks to its strong earning rates in a number of key spending categories, the card_name is a very popular card and it’s a card that a lot of people hold alongside other Amex card as part of a wider Membership Rewards strategy.
The card’s earnings rates (terms apply):
- 4 points/dollar on spending at U.S Supermarkets (up to $25,000 in spending/year)*
- 4 points/dollar on dining and takeout
- 4 points/dollar on Uber Eats purchases
- 3 points/dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel
- 1 point/dollar on spending in all other categories
*Any spending made above the $25,000 cap will only earn 1 point/dollar
The card also offers a number of benefits that can be useful in helping to offset the annual fee (see here for our full review of the card) but for most people, this is a card that they hold to help them gather as many Membership Rewards points as possible.
One key way that people get a head start on loading up on valuable Membership Rewards points is by making sure that they lock in whatever welcome bonus Amex is offering when they first apply for the card.
The current welcome bonus (terms apply):
Going forward, that’s going to be a lot harder to do if you’re already immersed in the miles and points world.
The new Amex rule
We’ve known for a while that American Express will not allow someone to earn a welcome bonus on any consumer Platinum card if they already hold a version of the Platinum Card card or if they have held a version of the Platinum Card in the past (this rule groups all varieties of Platinum cards issued by Amex under one umbrella).
At some point in the past week, American Express appears to have decided that the card_name should also be considered to be in the same ‘family’ of cards as the Platinum Cards and so it has re-written the terms and conditions of the card_name to include this:
“You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card, the Platinum Card®, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards.”
Put simply, even if you have never held the card_name or a version of the card_name in the past, just by holding (or having once held) a version of card_name you have made yourself ineligible to earn a welcome bonus when applying for the card_name.
Holders of a Platinum card can still apply for the card_name, they just can’t earn the welcome bonus.
Oddly, however, there doesn’t appear to be any new wording in the terms and conditions of card_name that prevents new applicants from earning that card’s welcome bonus if they hold or have held the card_name.
I genuinely don’t know what Amex is thinking here.
I can see where Amex is coming from when it says that you can’t earn welcome bonuses on different versions of the same card, because most people doing that are almost certainly just doing it to collect welcome bonuses and not because they actually need that may versions of one particular card (generally speaking, they all offer the same benefits).
With the card_name and card_name there’s isn’t, however, any major overlap and there are plenty of reasons why someone would legitimately want to hold both cards side by side. So why prevent them from earning a welcome bonus?
Someone relatively new to the miles and points world may be introduced to the joys of Membership Rewards through the use of card_name and then, having seen how great Membership Rewards points can be, want to expand their earnings opportunities by getting the card_name as well.
What logical reason can there be for not letting that person earn a welcome bonus on the card_name?
Sure, they can still get the card_name it’s just the bonus they can’t get, but by excluding that person from earning the bonus just because they hold the most expensive regular consumer card that it issues, Amex is risking annoying a potentially profitable customer and putting them off from picking up another card.
Logically, I would have thought that Amex would want to encourage more people to get immersed in its loyalty system but by bringing in this latest rule, it is doing the exact opposite.
I don’t get it. What in this for Amex?
If you hold or have held a version of card_name, American Express will no longer allow you to earn the welcome bonus on the card_name. I have no idea why Amex has felt the need to bring in this rule (in makes no sense to me), but as this is Amex’s game, there’s not a lot that we can do about it.
What do you think about this new rule? Can you make sense of it?