Amex tweak offer terms to allow bonus points on Charge card applications for existing credit card customers

American Express have made a small change to their offer terms and conditions which now ensure that some cardholders who wouldn’t have previously been eligible for bonus points on new cards will now be able to earn the bonus.

In short, the change allows existing credit card holders to earn points for charge card applications, and vice versa – as long as they don’t already hold a card of the type being applied for (credit or charge) – and haven’t in the previous 18 months.

This is a great win for existing Amex cardholders looking to upgrade (or downgrade) their existing cards – there are a number of scenarios it opens up for those looking to tweak the American Express cards they hold.

The other change is that Personal and Business cards have also been separated, allowing holders of Personal cards to be eligible for points bonuses on Business cards, and vice versa.

And of course we’re talking specifically about Amex-issued cards – i.e. those offered and managed by American Express directly, not by other banks.

What specifically has changed

The terms and conditions on offers for all American Express-issued cards should now specifically read (emphasis mine):

For Personal Credit Card offers:

  • Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Consumer Credit Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer.

For Personal Charge Card offers:

  • Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Consumer Charge Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer.

For Business Card offers:

  • Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Small Business Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer.

The implication is that by being more specific about which cards are ineligible for new cardholder bonuses, the cards and offers which are eligible are also clearer.

We have verified our reading and understanding of these new terms with American Express directly, and this meaning has been confirmed.

You will, of course, still need to meet the eligibility criteria to be approved for any of the cards you apply for, so consider carefully before you look to add a card or switch.

Example: earn bonus points for Platinum Charge card applications as an existing Edge, Velocity Platinum or other American Express credit card holder

American Express credit cards are more widely held than charge cards, yet the Platinum Charge card is the ‘hero’ of the American Express card range, offering a large number of features, benefits, (and of course points) for it’s high annual fee of $1200.

There’s 100,000 Membership Rewards points on offer with the American Express Platinum Charge for new cardholders right now, so this change in policy allows Platinum Edge, Explorer and other credit card holders tempted to try it out a confirmed incentive to do so.

So, if you’ve been tempted to try the Platinum Charge card, it’s clear that you should be able to also earn the bonus points for doing so.

Example: earn bonus points for Platinum Edge or Explorer applications an existing Platinum Charge cardholder

Are you a current Platinum Charge cardholder and considering your options, and don’t currently hold a Amex-issued credit card?

Then you should be eligible for the signup bonuses on the Explorer (currently 100,000 Membership Rewards Gateway points) or the Platinum Edge.

Many Platinum Charge cardholders also hold the complimentary Platinum Reserve card which has historically been on offer with the Charge card only. Holding this card, unfortunately, will probably exclude you from bonuses on personal credit cards, as it too is a personal credit card.

Example: earn bonus points for Business Platinum Charge applications as an existing personal or charge cardholder

Run your own business with significant advertising or office spend? Then the Business Platinum Charge card might be of interested, as it offers 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on spend with a number of advertising partners, IT equipment and couriers, for example.

There’s also a huge 150,000 Membership Rewards point bonus on offer, although the card does come with an annual fee of $1,500.

Existing personal Platinum Charge card holders would be eligible for the bonus, alongside personal credit card holders.

There no other business cards offering significant bonuses right now.

And of course, if you’re an existing American Express Business card holder only then you’ll be eligible for bonus points on personal credit or charge cards.

More about American Express Charge cards

Just what is a Charge card? Well, the main differences are:

  1. There’s no specified credit limit on a Charge card account – it’s somewhat unlimited credit, but American Express do have internal limits on your account which vary across cardholders to minimise risk of default and fraud
  2. You have to pay off the balance of a Charge card in full – this is essential to understand, as if you don’t you will lose all points earned on your account, and will incur additional fees and charges.

You may be able to get the points reinstated once if you make a mistake but otherwise this is a pretty hard and fast rule – you have to pay the full balance on a Charge card each month. Don’t forget!

The Charge card range consists of a handful of products, the most prominent of which is the Platinum (and Business Platinum) Charge. There’s also the Gold and Green Charge card variants which we tend to focus on less simply due to the lower points bonuses and earn rates usually on offer with those cards.

Summing Up

This is a great move by American Express to help clear up some of the grey areas around different bonuses crediting for some existing cardholders applying for new cards and not others. It now seems much more black and white.

The change also offers an incentive for existing cardholders to try other American Express card types, find out about and use the benefits, and see if they work better for their needs ongoing – just remember that bonuses are still not on offer from between different Amex-issued credit cards.

If you do apply for a different type of American Express card as an existing cardholder, then during the application process we’d recommend linking your application to your existing account to give Amex the chance to recognise and assess existing customers appropriately.