Published on March 22nd, 2019 | by William Charles19
American Express Adds 24 Month Rule To UK Cards & A Look At American Express Restrictions Worldwide
Yesterday saw American Express add a new restriction to credit card sign up bonuses in the United Kingdom, Head For Points does a good job detailing the changes but basically speaking you can’t get the sign up bonus on an American Express personal card if you’ve held any other American Express in the last 24 months. The UK is obviously a different market to the US and changes were made to cap interchange fees to 0.3%. This means that transactions are less profitable for card issuers than they once were. I thought it would be interesting to also have a look at what sort of rules American Express uses in other countries. I didn’t do a deep dive on most of this, I simply searched for the Platinum product in that country and then looked at the fine print.
It looks like Australia has a rule similar to the UK, but the restriction is 18 months instead of 24. The fine print states:
Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer.
Canada looks to use the same system as they do in the US. You’re able to get the sign up bonus on each card once (not really one sign up bonus because even if you haven’t received a sign up bonus you’re still ineligible if you’re a former cardholder). The fine print states:
This offer is only available to new Platinum Cardmembers. For current or former Platinum® Cardmembers, we may approve your application, but you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.
Germany seems to employ an 18 month rule, but only for that specific card. For example the fine print reads (bad translation):
Only creditors who have not been registered as principal cardholders of a German American Express Platinum Card within the last 18 months are entitled to the credit
Fine print states you need to be a new American Express customer, but doesn’t really define what that means?
It looks like you can get the sign up bonus as long as you don’t currently hold that card and haven’t been a cardholder within the last six months. Fine print states:
Card Members who cancelled their American Express Platinum Credit Cards within the last six (6) months are not eligible for this promotion when they re-apply for The American Express Platinum Credit Card during the Promotion Period.
I think the cap on interchange fees is probably what caused this change from American Express.