Credit Cards

I just lost out on 25,000 SPG points – a WARNING about AMEX new card bonus!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Just when you think you know the rules… As readers who followed my last round will know, I keep very good records on when I apply for AMEX cards as the rule in the past has ALWAYS been 24 months since you OPENED the card (i.e. that date). Well, now, they are 100% looking at the CLOSE DATE. If you have had the card (EDIT: all 3 DELTA AMEX cards are looked at as the “same” card), ANY of that SAME card, inside 365 days – YOU WILL NOT GET THE NEW CARD BONUS!

The NEW key date you MUST always keep track of with American Express is the CLOSE DATE! So, is the 24 month clock OUT the window and can we get a new bonus every year now? Sorta, but the math still works out to 24 month range. Here is why.

If you, say, get the card, get the bonus, and cancel real quick, not only may they pull the points back, but it looks very very bad. So you get the card, keep it for however long you want, then start counting from the DATE you CLOSE and make sure you hit  366 days  before you apply for THAT SAME card again if you want to get the new card bonus again!

I hate it when I lose out on 25,000 points! But the funny thing was I did get the BUMP THE BONUS deal so at least I got 5000 to make me feel a little better (but not much I must say)! – René 🙁


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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Hello there. What if someone has a personal SPG and wants to apply for a business? It’s not considered the same card right?


    • @ngls – great question. THE BIZ card is NOT NOT NOT the same as the personal card! You can get the BIZ if you have not had it for 366 days!

  2. I dont have spg card and applied and got approved.But AMEX says i am eligible only for 10K after 1st purchase.
    But when i applied i was offered 25K points.Where to escalate this ?

  3. I have read that Amex treats the Amex SPG 1st purchase bonus of 10k and 20k after spend $5k bonus differently. Even if not 366 days since last canceled, they supposedly will still give you the 20k for meeting the spend bonus, just not the signup 10k bonus. So you may want to inquire if that is indeed the case for you.

    • @greek2me – hummmm THANK YOU for your comment. Ya know, I will do the spend and find out. I have only run $2500 of my $5000 in the first month. You have my BIG TIME DeltaPoints thanks if it works out. I will post and SHOUT OUT to you if it works! – Rene

  4. ChineseScouse Reply

    If they’re looking for a close date, does that mean if you currently have an SPG Amex card you wouldn’t be legible for the 25K bonus? From what you’re saying it sounds like you’re expected to close the existing account then wait 1 year before you can reapply.

    • @ChineseScouse – YES- You must WAIT 366 days AFTER YOU CLOSE the SAME CARD to get the new card bonus again. It is the CLOSE date that is the NEW STANDARD with AMEX!

  5. you’re welcome. I really hope it plays out that way for you.

    • @greek2me – either way, we all learn. It is well worth twice that many points if I can help readers out! Txs again – rene

  6. Why do you keep saying “366” if you have to wait 24 months AFTER CLOSE date? Thats 365×2+1. Not 366

    • @Mike – the NEW RULE is you must not have, ie have the card OPEN, for the past 12 months. So, to be 100% safe, you DO NOT want to apply for that SAME card for 366 days to be 100% safe. Clear? Rene

  7. I met the $5000 cap.They say that i have signed up with out the 25K bonus.I spoke to supervisor but no use.

    • @Bill – nope, if you check, I got the card. I got the promise that i would get points when activated and when I called back to ‘bump the bonus” and got my 5000 bonus to MATCH the current 30k offer, but then when the statement hit, I was told NO NEW card bonus as i was 7, again 7 days too soon! If I had waited for 8 more days I would get it. But will spend $2,500 more this month and see what happens on next statement!

  8. Interesting. As far as I and other bloggers noted. AMEX card since 2011 can be approved AFTER at least 2 years AFTER CLOSING an account. Not 1 year.

  9. So if what you say is right, cant i just apply for spg personal at year 1. Cancel.
    Apply business year 2. Cancel
    Apply personal year 3, repeat?

    • @ Mike – 🙂 uh, well.. what you just said is JUST what I will be doing, forever from now on. You may do what ever you want! 🙂 But I will be 100% sure to know my CLOSE date. I may just add about 1 month to that date as this round of 7 days too soon makes me want to say words that are NOT NICE grrrrrr… Rene

  10. Is there a way to find out when my one year will be over as I do not rememer the exact date of my last cancellation

  11. Harlan Vaughn Reply

    This is off topic! But I just found a fare for $286 that would earn 5690 MQMs/miles. It has two connections each way: LGA ATL SLC ONT on Oct 9, ONT SLC MEM LGA on Oct 10… It comes to exactly 5cpm. Is this a worth a mileage run? New to this and thought I’d share. I took screen shots of everything if you want to see. I’m sure there are better MRs, but all the connections are an hour and you’d earn the MQMs in a little over 24 hours. Leave at 1pm on the 9th, back home by 6:30 on the 10th.


  12. Harlan Vaughn Reply

    Oh one more thing! I didn’t play around with it too much, but if you can connect in ATL both ways, you’d earn nearly 6000 MQMs.

  13. Last summer (2011) I applied for an SPG Amex under the 30,000 point bonus. I figured out later that it had been 34 months since I had last opened that same card type (closed it after about a year), and while I did not receive the 10,000 point welcome bonus, I did receive the 20,000 point spend bonus for spending $4,500 in 3 months.

    It sounds to me like Amex is actually being more lenient than before. But I really do think you will receive the spend bonus once you finish the $5,000 spend.

    I have cycled through the Delta cards twice, the second time I applied for the personal, it came with a spend bonus of 45,000 Skymiles for spending $3,000 in 3 months, which I did receive after meeting the minimum spend. I like to think the spend bonus is separate and more reliable than the welcome bonus, but I only have my own personal experience and rumor from Flyertalk to back up my opinion.

  14. mommypoints Reply

    Greek2me is right. I haven’t churned this card myself, but I have also repeatedly read that it is just the first 10K the is really on a strict clock. The 20K attached to the spend bonus may very well work out for you. No guarantees, of course, but worth a shot.

  15. My wife is an authorized user on my AMEX SPG card. Now, if she apply for her own AMEX SPG card, will she get a bonus or not? In other words, does “12 month rule” apply only for primary cardholders only or for everyone?

  16. I love this since I got my personal Platinum Skymiles Amex in March, so by closing it at the end of December after my MQMs post I’ll be able to get onto a January-December churn cycle and I won’t have to lose 2 months of every earning period!

    • @Gideon – ALL Delta AMEX products gold, plat & reserve are looked at by AMEX as the “SAME” type card (ie a Delta AMEX). So I would wait for 366 days. Or, get the BIZ card and go back and forth with personal and biz every 366 days.

    • @VG – don’t 100% know on co-branded cards. It may be up to Citi more than AMEX on those or both CiTi and AMEX rules may apply. Any feedback from readers on these?

  17. Grant Thomas Reply

    I opened my SPG personal card in May and as soon as you spend the $5,000 dollars and pay it off, the SPG points show up in your account. You do not need to wait for the billing period to end, so assuming you spent the $5,000 in the first few days, paid it off, the points should show up in your account.

  18. You mention that “if you, say, get the card, get the bonus, and cancel real quick, not only may they pull the points back.” Can you give more details on this? How long do you need to keep it open before you know they’re not going to pull the points back? Do you have to wait until the renewal and pay your annual fee?

    Just got a couple of AMX Skymiles Gold cards for my college age kids to get the 35,000 mile bonus after $500 spend, and I’d sure hate to lose those miles once they get them.


    • @Shuffles – there is no hard and fast rule that I am aware of. But since there is no fee, or extra fee, to wait for almost a year, I would suggest that time range if you do not plan to keep the card. This goes for not just AMEX but all cards. It looks BAD to cancel quickly. No reason to have any of the banks look at you as someone who is abusing the system. We want the banks to make money or they will not keep doing nice things like this for us! 😉

  19. @Delta Points – Thanks for your reply. Is this how long you typically wait? Just under the one year renewal point?

  20. This is posted on the application page when I applied:

    † Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months.

    • @Alex – yes, such wording in the past had to do with application date. Now, this rule is on the CLOSE date. A big change but now we all know! Txs – rene

  21. @rene, do you always hold one biz and one personal amex delta and if so, are they on the same churn cycle? or 3-6 months apart?

    • @D – in a perfect world, get one or the other. at 10 months call for retention bonus, at 12-ish month, cancel and get fee back for new year, then get biz. I will be checking my CLOSE date very close from now on and wait 366 days. I have held my BIZ reserve forever just to get my 30k MQM each year. So, for me, it is churn every other year with the personal card and get 10k MQM bonus, then wait, etc etc. so every other year I get a nice bump in MQM.

  22. AFAIK the new rule with the Delta cards is that you can receive the bonus if A) it’s been a year since you closed the same card and B) you haven’t had ANY co-branded Delta Amex card in 91 days. I don’t think they count Gold/Plat/Reserve as one product, and I spoke with a CSA at Amex last week to confirm this. I’ve had the Gold card since Dec ’11 and want to apply for the Plat in the coming months for the MQMs. The CSA confirmed that I could close or downgrade the Gold card, wait 91 days, then apply for the Plat and receive the bonus. Have you heard different?

    • @GH83 – Yes. From what I have been told by a very reliable source, AMEX looks at all 3 Delta cards as the same family of cards so you could say get the GOLD today and cancel in say 6 months and get the plat next and so on and so on. Now that is not to say that it NEVER happens. I have been shown by readers that they got the plat card after gold and had both and got bonus for both but I sure would not bank on that. – Rene

  23. ChineseScouse Reply

    Well I guess I can’t churn this card every 3 months (as ppl suggest) then, and since I have an SPG Amex account card already it looks like I may not be able to take advantage of the 30K promo.

    I’ve actually reached out to Amex through the secure email seeing if they would be able to match the promo on my existing card but they refused! Any suggestions?

    • @ChineseScouse – just get the business card. I am sure you have sold or things on Ebay or such now and then. Why not have the BIZ card to keep track of such sales and buys!?!

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