American Express has long had a rule that only allows customers to get a credit card welcome offer “once in a lifetime,” which in practice means once every 5-7 years. However, the various flavors of Amex Platinum cards were traditionally considered different products, thus allowing folks to get the welcome offers on each version of the card.
As of last month, that’s no longer the case. The consumer and Schwab Platinum cards now have terms which state that previous or current cardholders of any of the three Platinum cards are ineligible for a new cardmember bonus. Morgan Stanley applicants continue to be eligible for a welcome offer whether or not they have the consumer or Schwab Platinum cards.
Today, Amex expanded that “family rule” even further, extending it to the Gold card. You’re now ineligible to receive a welcome offer on a new Gold card if you’ve previously had the Gold, Platinum, Schwab Platinum OR Morgan Stanley Platinum cards. That’s a big family.
The American Express Gold card now has the following language in its terms and conditions:
You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express Platinum Card® by Charles Schwab, The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards.
It’s important to note that the terms for the various Platinum cards have not changed. You’re still eligible for welcome offers on any Platinum if you’ve already had, or currently have, a Gold card.
I gotta say, for me, this one came straight out of left field. The last card that I thought would have a “family” rule attached to it was the Gold card…primarily because there’s only one card in the family! Amex surprised us though, letting us know that it’s evidently a long-lost, distant relative of the Platinum cards.
The Gold card is very distinct from the Platinum cards and it’s strange that Amex is lumping them together. The $250 annual fee is less than half the Platinum’s $695 yearly tribute, and the card serves as a daily spending workhorse due to its 4x earning in both dining and supermarket categories. They’re such different (and potentially complimentary) products, that it seems odd to disincentivize Platinum cardholders from getting a Gold.
Amex has done a similar thing here as it did when it added family language to the Delta cards: getting a more “premium” card is encouraged, downgrading to a less-expensive card is not. For folks getting started, it’s still possible to earn three welcome offers from the familial quartet: start with the Gold card, then get either the Schwab or “vanilla” Platinum, then get the Morgan Stanley Platinum last. However, those Platinum cardholders who’ve never had the Gold are now left out in the cold.