As some of you may or may not know, American Express changed their terms and conditions on May 1, 2014, to allow one sign-up bonus per card per person. I’ve seen some confusion going around about a warning message that appears on American Express’ website when you go to apply for a new Amex card that you’ve never held before. The warning states “You have been identified as a current American Express Card Member. You may have seen an offer advertised for this product previously, but the offer is not available to current American Express Card Members.” To some folks this reads like you’re not going to get the sign-up bonus simply because you’re already an Amex card member. This simply isn’t true. As long as you’ve NEVER held that card before in the past, then you will still get the welcome bonus offer from American Express.
I’ve been approved for 5 Amex cards this year, and not once have I been denied the bonus offer. Granted I’ve never held any of these cards in the past, but the miles/points have always posted to my account after meeting the spending requirement. I’m assuming that American Express is using your computer’s cookies / temporary internet files to detect if you’re already a card member. Maybe you’ve logged into your account recently or you haven’t ran a cleanup on your history files? Either way, rest assured you’ll get the sign-up bonus.
Still skeptical about the message. What can you do?
If you’re still skeptical about seeing the warning message before you apply for a new American Express card, there are steps you can take to make the message go away. I personally like to apply for a new American Express card in “incognito mode” on my Google Chrome browser. This allows you to browse the web without keeping information normally stored when you visit a website.
How to browse in Incognito Mode in Google Chrome:
This is how you’ll know when you’re in Incognito Mode:
Now when you go to American Express’ website you’ll no longer see the warning about already being a card member! Keep in mind, this does NOT work if you’ve already had the card before. This tutorial is only to get the warning to disappear. As for now, Amex business cards still allow you to churn every 12 month. Meaning after 1 year of canceling the card you can re-apply and get the bonus offer again upon approval.
If you’re using Internet Explorer as your browser, you can do the same as mentioned above. Just go to Tools >> InPrivate Browsing. This will launch a new window and you’ll avoid seeing that pesky warning when you go to apply for a new card.