AMEX Introduces Welcome Bonus Eligibility Tool

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American Express has introduced functionality that lets you know whether you are eligible for a welcome bonus for a specific card as a part of the card application process. This function will alert you to your ineligibility before American Express pulls your credit.

How It Works

The welcome bonus eligibility checker doesn't require any effort on your part — all you need to do is go through a standard application process and submit it. At that point, a pop-up window will appear indicating if you are not eligible for an associated welcome bonus. Crucially, this happens before Amex performs a credit check (hard pull).

If you're not eligible for a welcome bonus, you have two options: Continue with your application (knowing you will not receive any associated bonus), or withdraw your application, and Amex won’t pull your credit, leaving your credit report untouched.

Needless to say, if you've collected a pile of cards with American Express your chances of getting a welcome bonus could be diminished. That said, we don't know the exact criteria in effect when deciding if you're eligible, other than the once-in-a-lifetime language Amex states. However, this functionality provides you an easy way to see if you're eligible for a welcome bonus on newer products like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — if you're eligible your application will go through. If not, you'll be prompted, so be sure to apply only if you want the card. Don't use this to “test out” if you're eligible or not.

Which Cards Are Affected By The Restriction?

All cards. American Express has a very restrictive policy when it comes to welcome bonuses; you are restricted to one bonus per card for life. As that stands, if you have had a card before and received a welcome bonus you will not receive it again regardless of the time between applications. This applies to all Amex cards including The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.

Our Take

If you have a diverse credit portfolio and you're not sure if you've ever had a particular card, this is a handy little function to figure out if you're eligible for an associated welcome bonus for a card for which you may show some interest.

Source: The Points Guy

AMEX Introduces Welcome Bonus Eligibility Tool
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Comments

  • Great feature! Hope others can follow.

  • How do you withdraw an application after you’ve clicked submit?

    • When you’re prompted to indicate that you’re not eligible for the welcome bonus (after you’ve clicked submit), you’ll be able to cancel/withdraw the application with a click. Yes it is after an initial click of “submit” but before a credit check is performed.

  • Appreciate the transparency. Both sides should always know what they are opting in for and their eligibility should be accurate and incontrovertible.

  • this is an AWESOME feature!!! Citi, Chase, and BOA need to get this

  • This is not true all the time for AMEX cards. I know, years ago, I applied for and got a Delta Gold card. I used it for a year or two, got the welcome bonus, and later closed the account. Just last fall, I applied for the same card after confirming with a customer service rep that I was eligible for the Bonus, met the spend and got the bonus. I think AMEX tracks the accounts back 5 or 7 years, then you drop off their system and you become eligible again.

    • The publicly accepted definition of “lifetime” and Amex’s operational implementation of it could be different in reality. That said, in your case, it was a win, but we can’t say that would be the case for everyone.

  • Barclaycard have been providing this for a while now, always good to know you will be accepted before a full,hard search is made on your file.

  • Good point about not using it to test eligibility, but it brings up a good point. Why not have something to test eligibility without having to send an application first?

    • I’d say that would open them up to other potential risks. You really only want to tell someone if they’re eligible or not if they’re really going to apply for the card. I’d think they don’t want a tool out there for people to fish around and play with.

  • Kind of on the fence about this one… while I’m not enamored with the fact that AmEx is looking that closely at past histories of credit line openings, it is useful to know off the bat that one will be eligible to earn a particular bonus. Best case would be that being “pre-approved” for the sign-up bonus will mean no funny business about actually receiving it after reaching the appropriate hurdles.

  • I think that this will prove to be a useful tool. I can’t remember which Amex cards I have had over the years.

  • Hopefully this eliminates ugly phone calls that have transpired about “where is my bonus.”

  • This I like! Very customer friendly enhancement.

  • Just got the platinum business card. Previously had it, but nothing came up saying I was not eligible. I plan on calling Amex as soon as the physical card arrives to make certain that I get the bonus.

  • Anyone have any dp as to how many cards would cause you to become ineligible for bonuses? I’m currently on my 3rd Amex of which one I had a long time ago which didn’t offer any bonuses.

  • charles j says:

    Something actually useful. Maybe they were getting too many calls from people complaining that they didn’t get a bonus they were expecting.

  • I think this is good in a sense they are being upfront about the sign up bonus.

  • I like the feature, am glad they implemented it!

  • This is great! No ambiguity – it will work well!

  • Excellent transparency. And good business practice. A new customer not getting their expected bonus is suddenly a very unhappy customer.

  • Great feature, hope others follow

  • This is great info for the consumer. I wonder how long it’ll take for someone to find a work around though?
    I wonder if this will help ease some restrictions? This way they won’t have a lot of people getting the bonus when they don’t qualify
    and frees up them to give more points other ways? I know I’m grasping as straws ;o) One good thing should follow another right?

  • This is certainly an enhancement. It is annoying to receive mailings from American Express about cards with bonuses that you have received in the past and it would be quite a bit of work to call to doublé check. I will definitely use this in the future and I will always take a screen shot when it tells me that I am eligible for the bonus. So there will be some evidence if the bonus subsequently does not appear in my account.

  • This is a helpful tool. There are some Amex cards I want to try signing up for.

  • Great tip. Just thought they would issue card not say anything about no bonus

  • Very easy tool!

  • @Maryjane says: “I will definitely use this in the future and I will always take a screen shot when it tells me that I am eligible for the bonus. So there will be some evidence if the bonus subsequently does not appear in my account.”

    Agreed. Taking screenshots of any online offer, credit card or otherwise, is always best practice, for if you ever need to make your case.

  • So I just got the “too many cards opened and closed” message from Amex during the online application for an Aspire. I’m not happy, but not surprised either. This will make my 11th card from Amex. Anyway, I went ahead with the card since I’m taking a Hilton trip and want the perks (29x and Diamond is crazy cool!), but there’s a data point.

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