Posted by Chuck on December 6, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on December 6th, 2018 | by Chuck


American Express Denies Some Signup Bonuses Against Pop-Up Indicator

A handful of reports indicate that American Express may deny your signup bonus, even if you did not get the pop-up warning.

By way of background, American Express added a pop-up box to tell you when you are not eligible for the signup bonus due to your history. They’ll even give the pop-up if you have too many recent cards. There are ways around it, such as putting spend on your cards or possibly using a special type of preapproved offer.

One commonly asked question we get is: if I did NOT see a pop-up, does that mean I’ll certainly get the bonus? Until a few weeks ago, I assumed the answer was the affirmative – if Amex went to the trouble of creating the pop-up system, presumably it always works.

However, there have been numerous data points indicating that this is, unfortunately, not the case. Multiple data points from readers (1, 2) and on Reddit (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) tell of people who did not get any pop-up warning, yet, they still got a signup bonus denial for eligibility reasons, e.g. “misuse of rewards program”.

I’m honestly perplexed by this: if they have coded in their system some sort of restrictions to limit signup bonuses, why wouldn’t those parameters be added to the pop-up programming? I can think of two possibilities. (1) Maybe they updated their denial algorithm but failed to carry over the update to the pop-up box. (2) Perhaps it’s only when there are eyes on the account manually deciding to withhold a signup bonus from a given individual that this issue occurs, e.g. they were reviewing your account for some other reason and they added a flag to deny the signup bonus. (One report states that initially they got confirmation of the signup bonus being attached to the account – that would sound more like theory #2, not theory #1.)

It’s still a fair bet to assume that if you don’t get a pop-up then you’ll get the signup bonus, it’s just not an absolute sure thing. I think this is legit CFPB claim territory (with the added note that since you didn’t get the pop-up, the bonus is confirmed).  Not sure it’ll actually work, but at least it’ll force a reply from Amex.

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Isn’t this the type of stuff that’ll get them fined by the FTC?

yeah the ftc and cfpb are not fans of the we’re denying this because fuck you

But people who got the popup 20 times and finally no popup on attempt 21 don’t have a super strong case: they were clearly being informed that they were tripping up the rewards abuse sensors…

Yes, but it could also be argued once the individial signs up the 21st time, both parties are entering into a legally binding contract where amex MUST honor the sign up bonus.

I wonder if this will happen to anyone that applied for the pre-approved offers that went out at the end of last month. I applied for a second gold with one of those links (first gold is still open) and hope I can get the bonus. Also hoping it doesn’t affect any of my other triple-dip card openings…

Doc, I think your theory 2 holds water. In all these cases, the applicants called or SM’d Amex and asked whether the offer is attached. That should be the way in which they received extra scrutiny by rewards abuse team. I’m inclined to think if these people had never called, they would have received the bonus with no problem.

I think it’s particularly stupid to ask such questions from Amex when you apply with links with no lifetime language (for a bonus that you’d be otherwise disqualified to get). Just meet the MSR and see what happens, people!

some people have a hard time meeting MSR and want to confirm it beforehand. but yeah, Silence is golden…

Yup, sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut

I am one of the people who is dealing with the bonus offer being denied. I did not call in to ask if it was attached, I asked how long I had to meet the spend as I had a purchase coming up in a bit and was curious if it would count. I was told immediately (less than 10 seconds later) that I was not eligible. I understand the recommendation to not call in to ask, but I am confident this is is being determined separately from calling in, as I had not called Amex for months prior. I also think we will hear more about this in the coming months, as people who haven’t called in will also realize they didn’t get their bonus.

So I think a valid question would be: If it only took them 10 seconds, is it that easy for them to see that on your account there was no “bonus offer” attached or if your account has a big red flag (or something) on their system and therefore they knew that you were ineligible?

It seems like when I’ve called other banks about a bonus for a CC it takes them 3-5 (or more) minutes to find out if the bonus offer was attached to the credit card.

File a complaint with the FTC and CFPB. youve got nothing to lose at this point.

Does the CFPB even still exist anymore? I read it was gutted.

It does exist, enforcement action isn’t nearly as strong but it’s still useful for resolving cases.

It still exist. And now that Auntie Maxine and the Dems are back in power it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

happened to me with the Amex Business Gold card

Same here, I called the reward team yesterday and they said will assist me to submit a ticket to the backend marketing team.
I read an post from other forum, the guy met the same issue and sent complaint letter to CFPB
however got AMEX response stated they have the right to decline the welcome offer within 72 hours of the application. Orz

What was the situation? No lifetime language or anything?

In my case it was a standard offer with lifetime language. it was a self-referral (for which I at least got those points, mercy be!). They revoked the business post-acceptance and said their T&Cs allowed for it

thank god, i got mine with Lux card, in fact, i canceled majority of my cards before next AF hit

Happened to a good friend who only have two personal cards from them. The bonus attached to the second (Hilton) is denied due to only sporadic spending after receiving the bonus on the first card.

Is the first one also Hilton or another card?

Another card.

Keeping my fingers crossed I get my Green Card bonus. Last Amex app was May 2017 and my existing Amex cards do have ongoing spend on them.

My friend applied for an Amex Business Gold via an Amex representative and got the sign up bonus again because its considered a new product and no waived annual fee.

It’s because the new card is Business while old card was Personal. Getting a Personal new Gold card while having an old Gold card in the past will not get the bonus.

How do you know what card her friend had before???

Can you confirm that they previously had Business Gold Rewards and now got Business Gold?

Applied for Schwab platinum in October. Had received pop up many times before but put some spend on a card for a few weeks and then didn’t get pop up. Chatted with rep after seeing this post and was told bonus declined. Met minimum spend last week.

So I’m the one with report DP in this. Few more points based on questions I read below

– Message was sent via live chat and answer was instant that bonus is denied on the account, so I don’t see asking confirmation would flag anything for review and then they approve/deny

– I didn’t try eligibility checker for pop up prior to applying so the fact that someone keeps trying till pop up no longer shows doesn’t apply either

After meeting spend organically one month after I get notified by MR team that’s it’s denied.

For me the issue is deceptive bait and switch with no notification telling me about bonus denial on apply and constant affirmation by phone reps that everything is good whereas chat reps had different story

I can attest to this. I applied for the Amx Gold and got the pop up saying I wouldn’t get the bonus. I then put some spend on my other Amex card and shortly thereafter got a snail mail offer for the Amex Gold (50000 bonus with 2000 spend in 3 months). I used this code to apply again with no pop up this time. Just to be extra sure I contacted Amex via the online chat on their app to confirm my eligibility. They confirmed that I was eligible and I took screen shot of the chat. This turned out to be a good thing because they called me two months after issuing the card (and over $2900 in spend on the card) to tell me I wasn’t eligible for the bonus. I demanded to speak to a supervisor and explained all the due diligence I did and the screen shots I had kept. I also told them it seemed fraudulent to deny the bonus. Then they put me on hold for 20min before reluctantly saying telling I would get the bonus. buy brware

Kory, absolutely brilliant move to open a live chat during the application process and confirm eligibility (with screenshot proof of this). I know there’s a risk of them at that point (in theory) telling you you’re ineligible, but I think it’s far more likely that they will say you’re eligible if you ask in this mid-application context. I may consider this strategy due to the stronger protection it seems to offer.

I still think this is spend-related and the people just drifted from “good” to “bad” territory in Amex’s eyes over the course of meeting spend, but hard to say for sure.

Here is my DP
Applied for Everyday card and didn’t get popup while submitting the application…
Contacted Amex chat after seeing this post and was told that Bonus was declined with reason as old cards have been Opened and Closed… I closed only Amex Green card and I am already paying annual fee for my Gold & BCP…

It’s what we feared from the beginning. Just an excuse for spotty IT bonus tracking, if you’re not lucky enough to have your bonus track they can just cite this clause.

i dont think thats the case, because most DP’s here are people who wanted to confirm before the spend happened. i have never heard of an SUB not tracking properly

Then you haven’t been reading around long. Not tracking happens to a small percentage consistently and has for a long time. And Amex makes it miserable for them as they fight for their bonus.

I received $500 from AMEX within 2 weeks. $150 for Amazon deal. $150 spend requirement bonus and $200 ATT deal.

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