Rookie Wednesday: PSA – Why you should NEVER call to apply for a travel / credit card!

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

warning NEVER call for card apps

One of the hands down best travel cards for us as Delta travelers is the non-Delta AMEX Platinum Business card. Why? It really is simple when you do the math. It gets you:

my 50 percent points back delta air lines booking

These perks alone make the fee for the card to me well worth it even if you don’t ever charge anything on the card. But when you go to apply for this card do you notice one of the choices? Yep, they want you to call them.

Please do not EVER do this for ANY card from ANY bank!

Why? Very bad things can happen and the worst of these bad things is that you may not get the points you were expecting for the card you are going for. Why is that? The list is long of what can go wrong. Let’s take a look:

You may not get the bonus points. This one is the most simple and a phone rep is highly unlikely to take the step to check to see if AMEX says you have ever had whatever card before. You can check for yourself to make sure THEY say you have never had it.

Phone reps can say anything and do give bad info. I can not even begin to tell you how many times a phone reps has given me either wrong or information that directly contradicts what the printed info says on the cards website. Even on a recorded line your chance at getting what a phone rep simply told you is almost zero.

You can not do an offer screenshot. There have been any number of events of the past few years where some bank offer has been better than it should have been. Or, the T&C exclude wording that would prevent you from getting the new card bonus again. The point is a screen shot of every card you ever apply for is just smart and you can not do that over the phone.

You can not read the full T&C. While touched on above this also really matters. It can be not on the main offer page but somewhat buried in the T&C about the card offer that you are either included or excluded from some offer. Clearly over the phone you will likely not be able to read over this carefully and print a copy to go along with the screen shot of the offer you just made.

Miss out on a 1x in a lifetime offer. With AMEX you can officially only get an offer 1x EVER in your lifetime and that means once you have EVER held that card (bonus or no bonus) you can not get the new card bonus for that card – period! We are coming to learn this may or may not be your lifetime, but the point is let’s say you have a card and try for an “upgrade” and the phone rep promises you some number of points. What if you don’t get them? Oh, just cancel the card? Great but understand you are not going to get the new card bonus for that card ever again. Sorry!

Really there are a number of other reasons but these are the main ones that are the most important part to you and me. I follow these steps each time I apply for a card and you should too. Bottom line is the banks are making it harder and harder for us to reap huge rewards from a number of travel cards over the years so it is up to us to make sure we get what we were hoping for! – René



Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


  1. Hi Rene,

    What are the chances that the 50% refund makes its way to the personal platinum? I really want that perk, but I know I wont hit the current $10k spending bonus for the current signup bonus…. maybe I should wait until they lower it, or hope they bring the 50% to the for the personal platinum, or maybe enable 1.5 cpp on the PRG.


  2. @Max – I doubt it. They are focused on the earning side. For me, the business Platinum is a much better choice.

  3. Is it worth asking for a lower intro bonus…. one that I’ll hit, wait until it changes, or go for the biz gold, and upgrade in a year? Really want a dining category. Thanks for your opinion.

  4. @Max – You would have to run the numbers if worth it at the current offer but you never EVER upgrade when the time comes to go from GOLD to PLATINUM. You get the new card then cancel the old. You run the same no-points when you upgrade.

  5. Rene, I think you may have covered this somewhere else, but when I apply for the AMEX platinum business card, should I use my SS# or the FEIN for an LLC I own, but is dormant, ie I only use it occasionally for freelance consulting work?

  6. @Pauldz – Before it really mattered as you could, many times, get a card bonus AGAIN with an EIN. Now, they really don’t do that as much. In other words it does not really matter nor should it impact your approval or not.

  7. Few years ago I got a better than online offered deal only through a phone rep. I received extra 25k miles on top of the current offer and waived the first year payments. Of course it might had to do with long term biz with Amex and having a legit business with huge Amex spend already. It is amazing what the banks are willing to do for you when they know you make them money. And that you only get in branch or over the phone.

  8. @marboy – For every 1 better phone offer success story I can point to 10 fails with no points and the lost chance to EVER get any bonus again.

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