New Restrictions For Amex Business Card Welcome Bonuses

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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Update: This article contains mentions of the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express and the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express whose terms have expired and are in the process of being updated. All other offers reflect accurate offer terms. Learn more about the current offers here.

Over the years, credit card companies have been getting stricter when it comes to the terms of their welcome bonuses. It’s a pattern we’ve seen across the board, where those who are repeatedly applying for cards just for the welcome bonuses aren’t eligible anymore. For example, in 2014, American Express changed the terms of the welcome bonuses on their personal cards, to make receiving the welcome bonus much more restrictive.

It looks like Amex has now made the same change to their small business credit cards, as they’ve updated the verbiage on their card applications. Under the old system, Amex had the following verbiage on applications:

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product within the last 12 months

Now Amex has updated the verbiage to the following:

Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product

As you can see, based on the terms you can now only earn the welcome bonus on an Amex small business card once per lifetime (and I believe that’s based on your social security number and not based on your tax ID).

You’ll see this reflected on the applications for all Amex small business cards, including the following:


This is definitely a drastic change, and it remains to be seen how strictly it will be enforced in practice. I suspect long term there will be some middle ground, between allowing people to welcome for the card every couple of years, and allowing them to only earn a bonus once in their lifetime. For example, over the course of their life, people may own multiple businesses, so even if they close a card account, they could legitimately have a need for the same card a decade later, and still be a very profitable customer.

Bottom line

You’ll want to be even pickier with your Amex business card welcome bonuses now, given that you can only earn a bonus once “per lifetime,” whatever that actually ends up meaning in practice.

(Tip of the hat to Miles To Memories)

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  1. So I have the platinum amex. I have never had the small business gold amex would I be eljible for the sign up bonus ? I just got an offer for 75k sign up bonus for it. Is this per card product or more broader ? Thanks

  2. This is horrible. AMEX business had by far the most rewarding bonuses, with Platinum offers of up to 150,000 points. First Chase, now this. I am concerned that points travel for those of us who don’t fly much may soon no longer be viable.

  3. One thing that remains to be seen, though, is whether this applies to cards obtained through all targeted offers. I have gotten Platinum offers recently that had no restrictions at all (except you can’t currently have that product). And I have gotten Gold offers with different restrictions (last 12 months, last 24 months etc).

  4. Like @gill, I have also gotten targeted offers that had no restrictions. I was able to sign up for a product less than 12 months after cancelling the same product using the targeted offer. I bet those will continue.

  5. Welcome to the European land of Welcome Bonus restrictions. We European enthusiasts of the mileage game already have to live with about 1l10 of the US Bonus miles for years…

  6. If I was an authorized user before for someone’s card X, can I start get sign-up bonus when I apply for card X myself?

  7. @ Allen — Having been an authorized user on a card shouldn’t prevent you from being able to get the bonus yourself.

  8. I had tried to get the targeted 75k on Amex Bus Gold Card recently but seemed to not be eligible based on Doctor of Credits findings. Did for my wife at 50 k 6 months ago. I don’t believe I have had the card before just personal accounts. But, maybe 5 plus years ago, probably without a bonus I did, can’t recall. Just got Starwood Amex Business, is that why?

  9. I just got a solicited offer for 50K on the Premier Gold Rewards Card. I think I got this promotion about a year ago, but I honestly do not remember. Where does this new rule say in the terms and conditions? What number? Is there a way to find out if I qualify?

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