Your Guide to AmEx’s ‘Once Per Lifetime’ Rule – NerdWallet

American Express has an impressive batting order of rewards credit cards with goodly welcome offers and useful perks. While American Express doesn ’ thymine have a “ 5/24 ” rule like Chase does, the issuer does limit welcome offer eligibility based on your card history — nominally, you ’ re eligible for one welcome offer per credit calling card “ per life, ” but it ’ s not inevitably vitamin a dim-witted as that. here ’ s what you need to know about the “ once per life ” rule.

What is AmEx’s once-per-lifetime rule?

American Express restricts each wag ‘s welcome bonus so that it can lone be earned by one per person, per life. In other words, if you apply for and earn the welcome bonus on the american Express® Gold Card, that ’ second it. You can ’ t gain that bonus again. You can still apply for the circuit board again at some point down the pipeline, but you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be eligible for earning another welcome bonus.

Which cards are affected?

An easy way to tell which cards are affected by the once-per-lifetime rule is to check the terms and conditions for the keep up linguistic process : “ Welcome offer not available to applicants who have or have had this Card or previous versions. ” sometimes there are variations of this language and extra restrictions, depending on the number of American Express cards you ’ ve opened and closed. For model, the terms for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card go further by limiting the welcome bonus to those who have never had a Starwood, Ritz-Carlton or evening a Chase-issued Marriott card like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card.

How can I find out if I’m eligible for an AmEx bonus?

You credibly have an theme of which American Express cards you ’ ve applied to over the past few years, for which you ’ d therefore be ineligible to earn the welcome bonus again. But if you ’ ve forget, American Express seems to have a safeguard in place. When you apply for a card you ’ ra ineligible for, you ’ ll receive the follow message after filling out your application and hitting “ put in : ”

What are the workarounds?

occasionally, you ’ ll find that the terms on certain offers do not contain once-per-lifetime linguistic process. For exemplar, I used to have a Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, which converted to the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card ( no longer available for applications ). recently, I keep receiving offers to upgrade to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. When I access the poster terms, there is no language restricting my ability to earn the welcome bonus. That ’ randomness likely because AmEx wants to upsell me to this card, and removing the welcome bonus limitation is an incentive for me to apply for it. meanwhile, when I check the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card product foliate on a private/incognito browser, the language restricting the ability to earn welcome bonuses to once per life appears in bold letters. That tells me American Express is targeting me specifically to re-earn this welcome bonus while otherwise enforcing the once-per-lifetime rule.

digression from this, the most foolproof workaround to the AmEx once-per-lifetime rule is to make surely you ’ ra applying for an AmEx circuit board with the highest welcome bonus possible to earn. Do a promptly Google search for the batting order name and “ highest offer. ” You may come across articles that are a few years erstwhile, but they ’ ll give you an estimate of how high a welcome bonus offer has historically been, which can help you decide how good the current put up is. If you ’ re not in a first-come-first-serve to bank a new AmEx card welcome bonus offer, it might be worth it to hold off until a higher bonus comes around. After all, you ’ ll likely only qualify for it once, so waiting could be worthwhile.

The bottom line

AmEx ’ s once-per-lifetime dominion on welcome bonus offers is restrictive, but still feasible. The fact that American Express keeps track and seems to notify applicants when they ’ re ineligible before an application is submitted is surely helpful. That helps minimize the number of accredit pulls, which could otherwise tug cardholders closer to ineligibility for a Chase calling card under that issuer ’ mho 5/24 rule. If you ’ ra interested in a sealed AmEx card, it ’ s worth it to check the terms and conditions to see if you ’ ve been targeted for an put up that excludes the once-per-lifetime restriction for earning a particular circuit board ‘s welcome bonus. The best way to ensure that you ’ rhenium being “ tracked ” properly is to look at these recognition card offers while logged into your american english Express score. That manner, American Express won ’ thymine get you mixed up with another cardmember who may use the lapp calculator. This will ensure that the terms and conditions you pull up for a specific put up accurately reflect your eligibility. If there ’ s a confusion, at least AmEx seems to catch it before your application is submitted. All information about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what ’ s important to you. here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for :

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