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:
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
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.
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)