Amex Family Language: New 2024 Rules on Bonuses

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American Express, or Amex, has added new “family language” in the terms and conditions of their credit card applications.

The family language restriction means that if you have received a welcome bonus offer on another card in the same family, you may not be eligible to receive a welcome bonus offer on a different card in the same family. This in addition to the other Amex application rules, which include:

  • No more than five American Express credit cards at any given time.
  • No more than 10 American Express cards without preset spending limits at any given time.
  • Maximum of two new cards in a 90-day period.
  • Can only earn the welcome bonus on the same card once per lifetime.

For example, if you open The Platinum Card® from American Express, you may not be eligible to receive a welcome bonus offer on the American Express® Gold Card or the American Express® Green Card.

Amex already often has “lifetime language” restrictions in their application terms and conditions. If you have received the welcome bonus offer for a card in the previous 7 years, or you still have a version of that card open, you are not eligible for another welcome bonus.

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Amex Cards with Family Language

Currently, there are 4 families of cards that are affected by the Amex family language restriction:

American Express Membership Rewards Cards, also known as the “Amex trifecta”:

American Express Hilton Honors Hotel Cards:

American Express Marriott Cards

American Express Delta Cards

Amex Platinum Family Language

Here is an example from the terms and conditions when you apply for each version of American Express card. Note that Amex unhelpfully states that you “may not be eligible,” but doesn't make it clear if you are eligible.

Thanks to the Amex application pop up, you can start your application for any American Express card and you will be informed, before you apply, if you are eligible or not for the welcome bonus.

If you are not eligible for a welcome bonus, you may be in Amex pop up jail or you might just be caught by the new Amex family language rules.

American Express Green Card

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Platinum Card®, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab, the American Express® Gold Card or previous versions of these Cards.

American Express Gold Card

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®, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards.

American Express Platinum Card

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards.

Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab

You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Platinum Card®, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab or previous versions of these Cards. You also may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer based on various factors, such as your history with credit card balance transfers, your history as an American Express Card Member, the number of credit cards that you have opened and closed and other factors.

In other words, you may not be eligible for a welcome bonus in the following situations:

  • Amex Green card, you may not be eligible for a welcome bonus if you’ve had a Green, Gold, or Platinum card
  • Amex Gold card, you may not be eligible for a welcome bonus if you’ve had a Gold or Platinum card
  • Amex Platinum card, you may not be eligible for a welcome bonus if you’ve had a Platinum card, of any flavor

Strategy for New Amex Family Language Restrictions

Before 2024, it didn't really matter what order you opened your Amex cards in. Now, it matters a lot to maximize your welcome bonus offers.

The main thing to remember is to work your way up. Start with the lowest annual fee card tier, and work your way up to the highest annual fee card.

A savvy consumer then may be interested in starting at the bottom of the family, the Amex Green card, and working your way to the top (apply for Amex Green, then Amex Gold, then Amex Platinum) in order to earn all the welcome bonuses along the way.

  1. American Express® Green Card
  2. American Express® Gold Card
  3. The Platinum Card® from American Express

For the Amex Hilton cards, the strategy would be the same. Apply for the cards in this order:

  1. Hilton Honors American Express Card
  2. Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  3. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The new Amex family rules add an extra layer of complexity for smart consumers, but don't complicate things too much. There is still tremendous value to be gained from having these cards.

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  • Choose between the Gold or Rose Gold version when you apply.
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1 thought on “Amex Family Language: New 2024 Rules on Bonuses”

  1. Kind of bummed because I got the platinum card first in 2023 and now I can’t get the bonuses on the gold and green card anymore if I decide to apply. Going to focus on getting the Chase cards instead now

    Reply

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