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I am writing this because I am currently in American Express Sign Up Bonus Jail…I have been trying my best to get through this pop up message for the past few months. Hopefully I can help you get some data points in terms of what has not helped me in my quest to break free from this…

What is the Pop Up Message?

For those who do not know what this is and are or planning to be American Express credit card customers, this is the DREADED message that will pop up once you fill out your information and hit “Next” or “Submit”. This message is driven by an algorithm and will let you know that you are not eligible for the welcome bonus for some reason. It is not known why it pops up, but it will still allow you to try and apply anyways. This does not restrict you from getting the card, only the welcome bonus.

What is important about this is that if you have not signed up for the card before, American Express has many rules regarding their credit/charge cards, one of which is the “Once in a Lifetime Rule” where in any scenario where you are the primary cardholder for any of their credit cards, you will no longer be eligible for that card’s bonus again. For example, I currently hold the American Express Gold Card. If at some given point down the line I cancel and apply a few months later, I will not be eligible for another sign up bonus, but I will be able to still get the card again.

My current situation is that I have the Gold Card, Blue Business Plus Card, and the Amazon Prime Business Card. Both the BBP and the Amazon Business Prime Card do not have annual fees (I do not count the Amazon Business Prime Card as having an annual fee even though I need a Prime Membership for it). I applied for the Gold card back in December of 2019. I currently see an upgrade offer for the Gold card to the Platinum card for 25k points after $2k spend in 3 months. However, I see offers for 100k points on the Platinum plus 10x points on groceries and gas. Amex may see this as an issue as the Gold card is coming up for renewal, but I also want the Platinum card…and as with any issuer, they reward loyalty. I know I am going to keep the Gold card especially after they announced they will be adding $10/month Uber credits. I may have to wait until I renew the annual fee…

What Have I Tried?

At the time, I had recently (about 6 months) opened the Blue Business Plus Card and was taking advantage of the 0% intro APR offer for the first 12 months and had not fully paid off the card. I figured this might be a reason why, and fully paid off the card. No luck.

Another attempt was to put more spend on each of my American Express cards (Note: Amex is my main driver anyways. Most of my spend goes here). I had put some of my tuition costs across my three cards with them….Still no luck.

I will keep trying and update this blog as I try more and hopefully, eventually, sooner rather than later, qualify for sign up bonuses. Credit cards are amazing for not only their perks and multipliers, but also their welcome bonuses. Without sign up bonuses, we, as the consumer, will tend to trend away from the company as we try to get sign up bonuses from other issuers. However, seeing that this gripe is with American Express, arguably the best credit card issuer at this time, I will continue to use them as my daily driver. But until next time…

We appreciate y’all for letting us be a part of your Break Time.

Checking out, Kenny

(12/9 Update)

I tried again to apply for the American Express Platinum card, and I FINALLY was approved. This has been about a month ever since I have seen the updated offer with the 10x points on groceries and gas. So what did I have this time around that I did not last time? I believe the issue for me was that I had the Gold card that was about to renew. The annual fee hit the previous night, and the following morning (today), I applied and no pop up message. I will contact an Amex representative to confirm my sign up bonus.

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