Amex question

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by bluefire, Nov 1, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. bluefire

    bluefire Active Member

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    I'm an RTFM kind of girl, and have spent the last two days reading and reading and reading on soooooo many sites. I want to have a clear plan before I start my credit card rush but I'm pretty sure I'm overloaded on info right now.

    One of the things I can't get straight has to do with Amex cards. I have a Green card; it's my first (and therefore oldest) "credit" card. Opened in 1995, so... holy cow that was a long time ago. I also have a Blue card, which I never use and always forget about, but it's a long-standing card so will keep it. Those are my only two Amex cards. (I have many other cards, none of which are travel-oriented, and a 770+ credit score).

    I'm trying to work out a strategy for getting credit cards but right now my question is specifically about Amex. I'm interested in the Amex Platinum and the Starwood Amex card.

    My confusion is... I keep reading that if you already have an Amex card, you won't qualify for the bonus on another card. Yet I also keep reading examples where it seems like that's what people are doing.

    These are all related questions and maybe even the same question, but it's really late and I'm super tired, so I'll just ask them all. My questions right now are:
    1. Will having an active Green and/or Blue card preclude me from MR bonuses if I were to apply for the Platinum and/or Starwood cards?
    2. If I can and do get the Starwood card, would that card prevent me from a Platinum MR bonus?
    3. Do Amex cards have to be completely closed before you can successfully get a bonus on another one?

    One of my goals (in the long-term plan) is to get a Platinum card and my fervent wish is to get it with a 100k MR bonus. I can wait for it but want to be sure I don't do something that will prevent me from getting it whenever the time comes. Or that I do whatever needs to be done beforehand so that I qualify for the bonus.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
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  2. miles and smiles
    Original Member

    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    If you already have a specific AMEX card or have had a specific AMEX card within the past twelve months you won't get the bonus if you apply for the same AMEX card. In other words, if you already have the SPG, you can't get another SPG bonus unless you cancel and wait at least one year.
    There is no restriction on getting bonuses from a variety of different AMEX cards. Over the years, I have had a Delta AMEX, an AMEX Membership Rewards, an SPG AMEX, a Hilton AMEX, an AMEX Blue Cash Preferred, etc.; and I have received the bonuses for all of them.
     
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  3. Counsellor
    Original Member

    Counsellor Gold Member

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    Answers:

    1. No. Having a "regular" AMEX charge card (Green, Gold, any other color, or even a Senior card) does not prevent you from qualifying for a bonus for getting a co-branded AMEX credit card.

    2. No. Not in and of itself, but if AMEX felt you were overextended they might refuse an application on that basis.

    3. For co-branded AMEX credit cards, you normally have to close the one you have and wait a set period before you can be considered as a "new applicant" for the same card. The waiting time is said to vary depending on the co-branding partner (e.g., churning a Delta AMEX may take a longer period after closing an existing Delta AMEX than getting a new Hilton AMEX after closing an existing Hilton AMEX).

    Some background:

    The co-branded AMEX credit cards (formerly called "Ultima" cards) are items unto themselves; each is separate, so a Delta AMEX and a Starwood AMEX and a Hilton AMEX are all separate and having one doesn't preclude getting a bonus for getting a different one.

    Now, sometimes AMEX itself will object to an individual having too many AMEX cards, but that's a different story than being precluded from getting a bonus from one co-branded card because you have a co-branded card from a different partner.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  4. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    AmEx has become more restrictive with this recently; during the past SPG 30,000 point promotion quite a few current AmEx cardholders who'd never held a SPG card were told they'd not receive the 30,000 point bonus because they were already AmEx members (I was one of them). It seems to be a fairly new policy, and they've been rather inconsistent in enforcing it, though - and people who were willing to do some simple browser tricks to keep the AmEx website from identifying them as current card members were successful in signing up for the full bonus. So YMMV.
     
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  5. miles and smiles
    Original Member

    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Interesting change. I hadn't heard about that change (haven't applied for any cards recently)
     
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  6. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    To me it's a change which makes little sense, as it actually encourages card churning. Bu then I don't run AmEx...
     
  7. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint. Do not close your old Amex account, as it greatly improves your credit score. You can get the bonuses one card if you haven't received a bonus on that type of card previously. After a certain period of time, I think you can even get the bonus more than once, as I have on several occasions. Just apply for the card that you want. I would not apply for more than one Amex card at a time, but you do not have to give up your other cards if you only have the two that you stated.
     
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  8. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    As others have said I think the co-branded cards are something else entirely, so you can get an Amex SPG and get the bonus despite having an Amex Green card. So the only issues with getting the bonus on an SPG Amex card are whether you've had that card specifically in the last 12 months. You'll generally see this pop up in the card application page. You may have to click on a little footnote next to the "30,000 mile bonus after spending X" text to see it. In some cases there may be multiple variants of one of these cards. So for example there are Amex Hilton no-annual-fee (NAF) and Amex Hilton Surpass (annual fee, better earning rates in certain categories) variants. I believe the rule with these is you can't have had the exact same card in the last 12 months. AND you can't have the other one(s) for the last 90 days. So if you had a current Amex Hilton NAF you couldn't get the bonus on an Amex Hilton Surpass.

    HOWEVER, the Amex Zync/Green/Gold/Platinum are all similar. If you've currently got any one of them, you can't get the bonus for getting one of the others. And you can't have had one in the last 12 months. That's what the text says anyway, perhaps someone else can clarify.

    The Blue however is separate for whatever reason, and won't prevent you from getting the bonus on one of the other cards.

    You can of course get the bonus on a Personal card even if you've had a Business variant and vice-versa.

    Now, this is how I understand it and if they're tightening things up as moongoddess mentions, then things may have changed.

    So I believe that holding your Blue and Green cards you COULD get the bonus for an SPG Amex but NOT for a Platinum. You could however get a bonus for UPGRADING your Green Card to a platinum but generally these are only if they offer it to you (login and check) and the offers are lower. You can convert the card back to a green later when you feel like it.

    Got it?
     
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  9. othermike27

    othermike27 Silver Member

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    But, as I mentioned in an earlier thread, I got the SPG and the full 30K bonus a couple months back, despite having two other AMEX cards already, and without resorting to any browser tricks. So, go figure.

    But, if the OP's ultimate goal is Platinum with 100K MR points, I sure wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that. With all this confusion, my suggestion is go to the source - contact AMEX directly and tell them exactly what you want to do, and ask them for guidance. An easy rationale to back up your request is that you want your credit cards to support planned travel (or whatever). May sound like a naive approach to some, but I don't see a downside. And, a customer walking through the front door still gets attention in most places...
     
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  10. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Go figure, indeed. AmEx seems to be terribly inconsistent with this. One person gets the full bonus, another doesn't, with seemingly no rhyme or reason to the decisions. it's maddening - and it makes it very difficult to figure out the rules AmEx wants us to play by.

    Agreed. There's certainly nothing to lose from that approach if the OP is reluctant to cancel the Green Card and wait a year to reapply for the Platinum (and who wouldn't be reluctant to do that unless it's absolutely necessary).
     
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  11. bluefire

    bluefire Active Member

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    Got it, gconnery! This is actually what I was most concerned about. Thanks everyone for the clarifications on the co-branded Amex cards. Since I don't have any co-branded now, it shouldn't be a problem to get one.

    But as gconnery addressed, my bigger concern is the Platinum card and any bonus with that. Canceling my green card is not going to happen. Unless... I read something about Amex backdating your cards, that if you have any card from a particular year, any new cards you get can be 'backdated' (i don't know the actual term) so they will show on your credit report as being open just as long as your oldest active Amex has been open. So... if that's true, in theory I *could* close my Green and keep my Blue, which should dispel any confusion about qualifying for a bonus on the Platinum (after 12 months, or whatever the terms are) and I'd be keeping a longstanding Amex card open. Then if/when I got the Platinum, it should go on my credit report as being the same age as the Blue, so it'd replace the value of the green in terms of my credit report.

    Anyone have any experience with new Amex cards having the same age as ones you already held? Non-co-branded. I think this is true b/c I'm pretty sure my Blue has the same opening date as my Green, and I opened Green years before the Blue.

    I'll have to check on that. But if I cancel my Green and then a dream Platinum bonus comes along before I fully qualify for it, I'll be going crazy having to wait for the NEXT one after that.

    I think you're right, othermike27. Seems like I will just have to call Amex and find out straight from the horse's mouth.
     
  12. bluefire

    bluefire Active Member

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    Ok, I just checked my last credit report. It looks like my Blue is recorded as being opened 1 month and 2 days after my Green, which I know is not what actually happened, because I got the Green specifically before I went out of the country for 8 months. I definitely was not thinking about applying for credit cards while I was out of the country. However, I don't remember the true opening date of the Blue.

    It's odd because that 1 month 2 day difference seems awfully arbitrary. Maybe I opened it 1 month and 2 days later but in a different year, and they just took it back to the same year as my Green, but kept the month & day.
     
  13. bluefire

    bluefire Active Member

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    The current Platinum bonus offer - 25k - has these terms (among others): If you are identified as a current American Express® Cardmember, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any Consumer ZYNC®, Green or Gold Card account within the last 90 days.

    So looks like I need to dump the Green at least 90 days before something good comes along (why oh why am I not psychic?). If that were my plan, I mean. Still think I should call and find out what the terms are if you upgrade.
     
  14. othermike27

    othermike27 Silver Member

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    Very similar wording is what I saw on at least one page when I researched my SPG application. I also found other pages with conflicting (or confusing anyway) info. So, I just applied with no gimmicks and got the full bonus. I suggest that your question to AMEX be posed like this: "I have a long history of doing business with AMEX and want to keep the relationship, and want to earn that honking big bonus too so I can travel more using my new Platinum for everything but chewing gum. And I want to keep my credit history intact, etc., etc. Can I do that?" Worst that can happen is you get a CSR who can't/won't help with good info. You'll have to be the judge of what is good info and what is not - just like all these posts! Good luck.
     
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  15. adambadam
    Original Member

    adambadam Silver Member

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    Search for "upgrade" on the Amex website. My guess is you might be able to find an offer, possibly even better than the current 25k bonus off out there right now.
     
  16. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    Okay, so I'm learning something from this too. I had seen the stuff about Amex backdating your accounts before, but hadn't really paid attention. From looking at my Credit Report just now it looks like most of my Amex cards do in fact show they are as old (yearwise) as my oldest card. So I guess I can actually close that old Amex Green card and potentially qualify for a PRG at some point in the future. Awesome.
     
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  17. bluefire

    bluefire Active Member

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    Is it weird that I don't want to get rid of my Green card? I have an emotional attachment to it :), it being my first card and all. It's the only card number I have memorized and I'm pretty partial to it.

    But I think it would work to qualify w/ no questions asked for the Platinum if I don't have the Green. Sigh.
     
  18. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    You can count me as a fellow weirdo, then. I feel the same way about mine,
     
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  19. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    I'll need to make a point of keeping my 2nd oldest card (2000), a Citi AA World Mastercard. And I'll work on collecting a batch of cards I plan to keep forever--Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, maybe an Amex Blue, etc. Have the CSP and Freedom, thinking about the Blue still...
     
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  20. bluefire

    bluefire Active Member

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    Thanks, moongoddess, nice to know I'm not alone!
     

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