Unless you are living under a rock, you know that, when it comes to sign-on bonuses, American Express follows the once in a lifetime rule.
Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.
Now, here’s what happened.
- Dave had the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card. He decided not to renew the card, but had Membership Rewards he did not want to forfeit.
- I suggested that he apply for the Amex Everyday Credit Card, which earns Membership Reward points and has no annual fee. The current welcome offer for the Everyday card is as follows:
Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months
3. Dave then applied for and was approved for the Amex Everyday card. He activated the card and was well on his way to spending the $1,000 minimum spend. Yesterday, Dave called American Express to check on his spend progress.
4. To his shock, the agent told Dave that he was not eligible for the Welcome Bonus because he already has the Everyday card. He had no idea what the agent was talking about.
5. Unbeknownst to Dave, American Express had replaced his Blue card with an Everyday card a few months ago. It was sent to him and he didn’t really even look at the card. He had simply thought American Express had sent him an updated Blue card and put it in his sock drawer with the old Blue card.
5. So he was now informed that he was ineligible for the welcome bonus because technically, he already had the Everyday card, even though:
- he never applied for the Everyday card, but received it as a replacement for a different card;
- he neither activated nor used the Everyday Card; and
- he never received any promotion, or bonus or welcome points for the Everyday card.
This didn’t seem very fair. I agree that Dave should have paid closer attention to his mail. But should he be penalized for not doing so?
The facts look nothing like the purpose of American Express’ rule. Dave was not churning cards to get multiple sign-on bonuses. He was simply applying for what he thought was a card he never had, and was trying to complete the $1,000 minimum spend so he could get the 10,000 point welcome bonus.
Dave called American Express this morning and handed the phone to me. I explained the circumstances to the agent, Maria, in the Fort Lauderdale call center. She was sympathetic to Dave’s predicament, and said she will send a note to the Marketing Department to see if they would place the welcome offer back on his file.
Maria said that the answer might take as long as 60 days.
What do you think should happen?