Posted by William Charles on September 12, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on September 12th, 2016 | by William Charles


Everything You Want To Know About American Express Upgrade Offers

American Express frequently send out offers to upgrade your credit/charge card to another card with a higher annual fee. These targeted offers are typically an upgrade to American Express’ highest tier card (e.g Platinum) and show up on both personal and business cards. People always have a lot of questions about these offers, so I thought I’d answer those common questions in this post.

Is A Hard Pull/Credit Check Done?

No, the offers specifically state no hard pull is done.

Am I Eligible For The Bonus If I’ve Already Received The Bonus On The Card I’m Upgrading To?

Yes, if you’ve received a sign up bonus for a card previously and receive an upgrade offer to that same card you’re still eligible for that upgrade offer. For example, let’s say I received an upgrade offer of 50,000 points when I spend $10,000 within three months if I upgrade to the Business Platinum card – I can still get that bonus even if I’ve previously received a sign up bonus on the Business Platinum Card.

If I Receive A Bonus From An Upgrade Offer, But Haven’t Had That Card Before – Can I Get The Sign Up Bonus Again?

According to the fine print, this wouldn’t be allowed (Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product). But according to the following data points you can actually get the sign up bonus again:

What Happens To The Annual Fee On The Card I Currently Hold?

You’ll receive a prorated annual fee refund on the card you currently hold and be charged the new annual fee on the card you upgrade to.

Can I Cancel The Card I Am Upgrading To And Get A Prorated Annual Fee Refund?

Once you’ve upgraded to the new card, the normal rules apply to prorated annual fees for that card. That means you have 30 days to cancel the card to receive a refund. I wouldn’t recommend doing this as it’s a good way to get a financial review or your posts frozen with American Express.

Can I Downgrade The Card I Upgrade To & Receive A Prorated Annual Fee Refund?

As mentioned above, normal rules apply to the card after you’ve completed the upgrade meaning this is possible. More information here.

Our Verdict

Upgrade offers are fantastic if you’ve received the sign up bonus on the card you’re upgrading to before, if you haven’t then you’re usually better waiting for a higher sign up bonus on those cards as you won’t be able to get that bonus again and American Express Platinum cards frequently have targeted offers of 100,000-150,000 points, this is much better than the standard 50,000 upgrade offer.

If you have any additional questions then please ask them in the comments.

17 Responses to Everything You Want To Know About American Express Upgrade Offers

  1. Kevin P says:

    I have the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card and I never received a sign up bonus for the card (missed spending requirements). Because I never received a bonus on that card, if I cancel the card sand reapply would I qualify for a signup bonus?

  2. jf says:

    So does this mean its wiser to app for hhonors when its at 70k and surpass when its at 100k, and then still be able to upgrade and downgrade the original surpass?

  3. Pluto says:

    I hold Amex Hilton surpass about one year ago. Recently, I just downgrade my surpass to non-annual fee version. So I am wondering if I can get the upgrade bonus? If I upgrade my Hilton card to surpass again, can I get the sign up bonus for the non-annual fee version later?

  4. DaMoneyMan says:

    I’ve only had the HHonors Amex card. Never had surpass before. Got an upgrade offer to surpass for 75k. Better to hold off and apply fresh right?

  5. David says:

    Any insight on the travel credit? I received the $100 credit on my gold this year already, can I get another $200 this year if I upgrade?

  6. Beck says:

    A chat rep told me that I WOULD be eligible for the sign up bonus on a new Amex Plat Biz (I’ve never had it before) if I upgrade my Gold biz now for 50k. “You will be eligible for welcome bonus on AX Platinum Business if you have never had a new AX Platinum Business before.” And I did take a screen shot.

    Do you have any confirmation of ineligibility? Per your remarks above:
    “No, you wouldn’t be able to do this. For example, let’s say I received an upgrade offer of 50,000 points when I spend $10,000 within three months if I upgrade to the Business Platinum card. If I complete that offer and I’ve never received a sign up bonus on the Business Platinum card I wouldn’t be able to sign up and receive the sign up bonus on the Business Platinum card in the future.”

    • I think the rep misunderstood your question, you’d be eligible currently but after the upgrade you wouldn’t be.

      • Beck says:

        I don’t think the rep misunderstood. Though perhaps the rep didn’t know the T&C properly. Said basically that previously receiving welcome bonus rather than previously having card is the only issue to receiving welcome bonus. Not sure if it matters that I have a screen shot of the chat. Here is the comment in full: “If you upgrade your Business Gold Rewards Card to a Business platinum online and apply for a new Business platinum card you definitely will be eligible for the welcome bonus offer on the Business platinum card if you have not had a new business platinum card ever before. Only new business platinum card applications will make another new business platinum card application ineligible for welcome bonus offer not the upgrade from business gold to business platinum.”

        • secretary toaster says:

          Hey how did that work out with the new app? Did you get the bonus? Asking cause I’m in a similar position…

  7. 64bit says:

    Any datapoints on receive both the sign up bonus and upgrade bonus at same time?

    I just applied for the BCP, but have an offer to go BCE to BCP also. Think I can get both bonuses?

  8. David Hanson says:

    What if you get an upgrade offer to a card you *currently* hold?

    My friend has a Biz Plat now, along with a BRG. The BRG keeps offering him the 50K MR points for upgrading–which would leave him with two Biz Plats. He’s OK with that if he can be assured of getting both bonuses–especially now with the new 75k upgrade bonus out there.

    TIA for any data points or other guidance.

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