Being Targeted For A Better Amex Bonus Without Knowing It…

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Update: Many details for The Platinum Card® from American Express have changed as of 3/30/17. The links below are expired, but you can learn more about the new offer and card benefits here!

Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.

All the major credit card issuers take different approaches to sign-up bonuses on their cards. I’d say my overall impressions of the current state of sign-up bonuses at Chase, Citi, and American Express are as follows:

  • Chase is consistently generous with big sign-up bonuses, clearly still trying to gain market share
  • Citi can be extremely generous with sign-up bonuses, though largely does so for specific products; that’s why we frequently see the offers on some cards change, and why some cards don’t even have any sign-up bonus anymore
  • American Express seems heavily focused on retaining their existing customers; they consistently offer sign-up bonuses on cards, though aside from promotional offers, they’re not over the top; Amex also frequently sends out increased targeted offers, which can be the most generous in the industry

Ford is looking at applying for a couple more credit cards, so I was putting some thought into which cards he should apply for. Late last week I sat down with him (on his computer) to look at applications for different cards, including the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card. The sign-up bonuses on those two cards are ordinarily 25,000 and 15,000 points upon completing minimum spend, respectively.

I was surprised when we pulled up both applications and saw very different offers. The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express had a special sign-up bonus of 50,000 points upon completing minimum spend…

Amex-Signup-Offer-1

…while the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has a special sign-up bonus of 30,000 points upon completing minimum spend.

Amex-Signup-Offer-2

He wasn’t logged into his Amex account or anything, so it’s fascinating that Amex seems to be offering different targeted offers to different IPs. I pulled up the offers on my computer, and didn’t see them. I figured that perhaps they’re targeting people in certain regions of the country, so maybe it was related to the ISP or location the IP indicated he was in.

The thing to note is that if you see the offer, it’s only valid for that web session. If you close the browser and go back later, the offer could very well be gone. That was the case for Ford, as he decided to think about it, and then later went back to apply, only to find the normal bonus.

I was in Toronto this weekend and was pulling up the applications on my laptop, and oddly saw the offers as well. That seems a bit backwards, given that presumably they’re not targeting potential cardmembers with Canadian IPs, since the cards can’t even be issued there.

Bottom line

The moral of the story is that if you’re considering applying for an American Express card, it pays to actually pull up the credit card application and see what the offer is, as it could be different than the standard offer. I don’t think there’s any way to get yourself targeted for these offers, but based on my experience so far, this seems to be somewhat random, and the offer you’re presented could change day to day or even minute to minute.

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card are the two cards where I saw the increased offers, though it probably also makes sense to check other Membership Rewards earning cards, like the Amex EveryDay® Credit CardThe Platinum Card® from American Express, and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.

Have you ever seen one of these seemingly targeted offers when pulling up an Amex credit card application?


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Comments

  1. Really? You were “surprised”? The PRG 50k bonus has been know for about 2 years now! A quick glance over on FlyerTalk will also show that EDP card giving 30k bonus offer if you try just a couple times in incognito mode.

    A lot of of us have been heckling you bloggers for not pointing readers to the highest signup bonus. You often just refer people to the bonus that is offered through your referral links so you can get paid.

  2. Another option would be to use incognito mode on your browser. Just tried this for the Amex PRG: in regular mode, got 25k offer. But in incognito mode, got 50k offer. Was not logged into my Amex account at the time.

    On related note, wondering what the usual range of offers is for the PRG? Is 50k a ‘special’ bonus, or do they occasionally get higher?

    Thanks for your great blog.

  3. You can also use sites like cardmatch.com which often have better offers than are readily publicly available, but bloggers don’t get a commission from that, so…

    I guess I will give you credit for being willing to even make this post, at least! Could cost you a lot of money. The Amex PRG 50K offer has been around for years on FT and I’ve never seen it mentioned here.

  4. I’m Canadian based (although I get US AMEX cards using my ITIN), and whenever I pull up a card, I almost always get the top offer that FTers complain they can’t easily get. Maybe they like Canadians more? 😉

  5. @ Bgriff — Actually, “bloggers” *can* get a commission through CardMatch, so that’s not it. I just rarely see better offers there to pass on. For example, when Ford pulled up these better offers we did a CardMatch search for him, and none of the offers showed up.

  6. @ Shaun — It has been a VERY long time since I’ve seen anything higher than 50K on the PRG.

  7. I saw a targeted bonus on the Everyday card about 6 months ago and now that i’m ready to pull the trigger it’s gone….tried all options but no luck 🙁

  8. @Chris – there are much better offers out there for Amex Platinum Business, but I suspect they are highly targeted. I have been sitting on their offers to me, first 100k, then 150k, now finally I signed up for a 250k Membership Rewards bonus. Very hefty spend and transaction requirements though.

  9. The question is, would you give ford a sub par offer with your affiliate link or a superior offer with no affiliate link.

    Please tell us how it goes so we know how serious you guys are 😉

  10. Right now the 75k MR for Amex Mercedes is still open links are all over the place. For a little more per year (then plat) you get 25k more points

  11. Thanks for the article! I was also looking for another card with a larger sign up bonus. I was approved and will receive the 50,000 points. The points offered on the Premiere Gold Card are the same points that I have with my Plat Amex, right? I can transfer the gold card points to the same partners as my Plat Amex?

  12. I just got the Premiere Gold Card so I’m wondering if I can take advantage of the Plat Amex bonus offer too. Is this possible.

  13. @ Janice — Yep, should be possible, as these are different products. Just be sure you don’t have more than four charge cards with Amex.

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