What Does American Express Consider A Lifetime? (5-6 Years)

Update 6/11/22: Seems like it’s now more like 5-6 years rather than 7+ years.

Original post 1/19/17: On the majority of American Express credit card application pages you’ll see that it states:

  • Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

This is known as the once per lifetime rule. The question is are you really limited to one bonus per lifetime? or does American Express consider you to never have had the card after a set period of time? From the data points I’ve seen, if you haven’t held this card for seven years or more, you’ll be eligible for the bonus again.

Keep in mind that positive accounts can stay on your credit report for up to ten years, negative accounts can only stay on your credit report for up to seven years. This leads me to believe that American Express base their bonus eligibility on what is found in their own internal systems rather than what is found on your credit report.

Some readers have also reported that American Express chat representatives will give you a list of cards you’ve previously held before if you ask and this list should match up with what card bonuses you’re not eligible for. Keep in mind targeted offers and upgrade offers often don’t have these bonus restrictions, so this is another way to get the sign up bonus on cards again.

You can view the rules for getting the bonuses again with other card issuers here. You can also learn more about American Express credit cards here. Please share your data points on getting the bonus on an American Express card more than once in the comments below.

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ps (@guest_1605024)
April 24, 2023 12:15

just got approved for gold card. 75k offer and no popup so i should be getting the bonus. Last card closed Aug-16.
Current Amex cards – Platinum , Hilton no fee and blue no fee.

Jake N
Jake N (@guest_1594846)
April 10, 2023 19:30

FYI the disclaimer language currently reads:
Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or previous versions of The Platinum Card®. We may also consider the number of American Express Cards you have opened and closed as well as other factors in making a decision on your welcome offer eligibility.

HN (@guest_1476266)
October 31, 2022 04:28

Closed my previous Amex platinum in Sept 2016. Applied again today , approved. 6 years and 1 month.

Jim Li
Jim Li (@guest_1585290)
March 26, 2023 16:48

did you get the bonus? does Amex definitely give bonus if the card gets approved?

Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown (@guest_1426973)
August 17, 2022 20:35

I just received a upgrade offer for business platinum from blue card even though I already have a business platinum. It was for 15,000 + 1000 for adding employee. I clicked on the link and it said approved. It now shows 2 business platinum cards on my account when I log in. I have been a business platinum holder for more than 7 years. Will I get this bonus that they offered?

Knd (@guest_1394870)
June 13, 2022 19:35

This may be incidental. but yesterday I was approved for Amex Hilton Business card, when within the last year I’ve been given the No Bonus for You pop-up on all personal applications.

Knd (@guest_1394871)
June 13, 2022 19:36

– (How do I delete a comment?)

steve (@guest_1394522)
June 13, 2022 09:48

I and my family we banned by american express not because of any credit score issues but because of our non specified “behaviors” which probably means we did not keep previos cards long enough. How can we get off the black list? Maybe get added on as an authorized user with a friend?

Esquiar (@guest_1393986)
June 11, 2022 21:04

I’m sure Amex is capable of “remembering” which cards their customers have had for an indefinite time period. Clearly, they’re making a business decision to “forget” a customer’s previous account when they believe that particular customer is likely to be profitable.

andy (@guest_1394026)
June 11, 2022 22:57

This. Amex has clearly shown that they have some algorhythms in place to ID profitable customers, and are clearly against churners. There is no black and white answer to this. Sad part is, other banks should be getting to this level soon enough. Then again, Citi IT is legendary for a reason…

as always, churn and burn baby. Between devals and banks tightening up, its a race to the bottom…

P (@guest_1393963)
June 11, 2022 19:07

Does this rule apply to the Starwood/Marriott cards as their existence is not really continuous the last 7 years?

Jenny (@guest_1394244)
June 12, 2022 15:22

Good question! It does

JA (@guest_1393866)
June 11, 2022 13:54

I’m @ 6 years 10 months on a gold, got previous bonus pop-up

Jesse (@guest_1393871)
June 11, 2022 14:06

6 years 10 months since card was closed?

JA (@guest_1394041)
June 11, 2022 23:42


sdsearch (@guest_1394116)
June 12, 2022 11:01

The popup is just not just for opening cards “recently”, it’s also for closing cards “recently”, and it’s very often for “sock drawering” cards. If you have Amex cards that you haven’t been spending on regularly, put regular spend on ALL of your existing cards (it doesn’t need to be big spend), and that might get you out of “popup jail” after a while.

Meanwhile, the lifetime limit is since you closed the card, not since you opened the card and not since you got the signup bonus.

lorem ipsum
lorem ipsum (@guest_1393812)
June 11, 2022 11:26

Wonder what David Byrne thinks of this. Does he use points and miles to get to another part of the world?

Thom (@guest_1393992)
June 11, 2022 21:24

And you may ask yourself, “How do I get approved?”
And you may ask yourself, “Where is that large signup bonus?”
And you may tell yourself, “This is not my platinum card!”
And you may tell yourself, “This is not my annual fee!”

Letting the days go by, let the pop-ups hold me down
Letting the days go by, RAT team working underground
Business Blue again, into the hilton cards
Once in a life time, there is hope Amex forgot

john goodman
john goodman (@guest_1394062)
June 12, 2022 02:34

this comment isn’t getting enough accolades

Thom (@guest_1394909)
June 13, 2022 20:49

thanks john means a lot coming from you