Since 2014, American Express has restricted personal credit cards bonuses to once per lifetime. Yesterday, American Express silently announced another blow to the points game. American Express is now restricting sign-up bonuses on all small business cards to once per lifetime. Prior to yesterday business cardholders could earn another sign-up bonus 12 months after closing their previous card. All American Express cards are now once per lifetime.
Thrifty Tip: There are many Amex offers sent in the mail which do not include the once per lifetime language in the terms and conditions. You may be eligible to receive multiple sign-up offers with these mailers!
The new rules impact several of my favorite cards including the Delta, Starwood, and the many Amex Business charge cards including the Platinum and Gold Rewards card. I had been applying for these cards every year and earning the bonus and then cancelling them again after 3-6 months. It was an easy way to earn a stockpile of points! American Express business cards are also some of the easiest to be approved for. You can apply for an American Express business card even if you only sell items on craigslist or eBay!
Everyone should expect more bad news as banks tighten their rules in an effort to multiple applicants for cards per year. I imagine Citi will start to implement once per lifetime rules for their credit cards in the near future.
The glory days of the points game where you could apply for 3-5 of the same credit card in one year are quickly coming to an end. If you're new to the game there are plenty of opportunities to earn an incredible amount of points, but those of us who have been doing this for 5-7 years, our options are becoming more limited. Keep following to Thrifty Traveler for more info!