Recent Credit Card Changes, AMEX Business Card Offers!


At some point before Feb 20, the policy language for AMEX Business Card Offers switched from this

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

to this:

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

This latest American Express shenanigan has not exactly put us in a precarious position, but surely added to our misery. The pain is not here yet, as AMEX doesn’t have many non-targeted business card products with good current bonus offers. Actually, the only public AMEX business card offer that doesn’t suck is the Business SPG card with a 25,000-point bonus.

It’s interesting that AMEX went in the exact opposite direction than our own “pundits” have predicted. The common expectation was that after epic failures of the last year (loss of COSTCO, JetBlue and Fidelity), and with the uncertain future facing its partnership with Starwood (due to the merger between SPG and Marriott), AMEX would remove one-per-lifetime bonus restrictions off the personal cards. Instead, they went in a completely opposite direction and tightened the screws on business cards. Why would they do that?

I have no idea! But neither does anyone else who’s writing about it at great lengths. Here is what I said at TBB.

Banks are bullish. Airlines are bullish. Hotels are bullish. Understandable. Things are good for them right now.

Push WILL come to shove one day, and they will again, as it was in 2010, appreciate customers who don’t default and pay on-time religiously even if it means [much] smaller profit margin to them.

“Normal” people won’t give them the volumes they need to keep up appearances for their shareholders. They’ll need us again.

We just need to sit this one out. Have a little faith.

Nothing in this game is forever other than the game itself. I don’t subscribe to the theory that blogs are killing the hobby. Blogs can kill a deal, yes, but banks do not get their information from blogs—they are not that stupid. If they are tightening the screws, it means they’ve run some data and believe they can get away with it, at least for now. Maybe they’re right, maybe not. I believe that micromanagement is not the way to go for giant corporations that have built their business models on a number game principles. I believe that they will inevitably throw out the child along with the bath water, at which point the pendulum will swing and we are in business again.

As long as there is a fierce competition among credit card issuers; as long as airlines and hotels are salivating over selling their virtual currencies for real cash, we will get something out of it. So… there.

In the meantime, here is an observation from Doctor of Credit. If you can get a referral for an AMEX card now that hasn’t been updated with the new language (and if you’re eligible for the bonus, of course), do it before it’s too late. 

New Credit Card Bonuses

My Best Cards for Free Flights and Best Cards for Free Stays have been updated. There are quite a few updates for the hotel cards.

  • Added the AMEX Hilton 70K offer.
  • Added the Citi Hilton 75K offer.
  • Added a working link for AMEX SPG Business Card offer with the 12-month language.
  • Added a link to the Chase IHG 80K offer. 
  • Ritz-Carlton spending requirement has increased to $4K in 3 months.

And if you are ready to apply for the SPG business card, check my tomorrow newsletter: there is a working link that still has that old 12-month language.

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“they are not that stupid”

Have you dealt with Citi before?

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