New American Express Application Language
Tricky Ricky! No, not our own Rick. Someone at Amex named Rick (unlikely) came up with some new American Express application language you should be aware of. The good news for us, at least so far, is that it seems to be limited to only a few credit card offers. The bad news is that if people are not paying close attention when applying they may get a whole lot less points than they initially expected. That is why it is always best to take your time when applying for a credit card, or any financial product, and check all of the terms closely.
What Has Changed?
It appears the new American Express application language is showing up on some of the increased, targeted offers. People are seeing this on the personal Amex Platinum and Amex Gold in particular. These are for the elevated offers that you sometimes get targeted for when using a clean browser.
The difference from the normal welcome offers we see is slight, but it is important. These offers now will sometimes say Up To so many points in the terms. Here is an example
Notice how it says Up To before the points offer there. That is essentially saying you won't know what you are going to get until after you are approved. The good news, probably because of laws and all, is they still give you a chance to back out after showing you your welcome offer after “approval”. Here are the terms:
After you submit your application and before you accept the Card (if you are approved), we will tell you the exact amount of Membership Rewards® Points which you are eligible to earn, which will be an amount up to 150,000 points. To qualify for such points, you must spend $8,000 (the “Threshold Amount”) or more in eligible purchases on your Platinum Card® from American Express within the first 6 months of Platinum Card® from American Express Card Membership starting from the date that your account is opened.
What This Means For You
While this change is a bit sly, or tricky, it shouldn't hurt you as long as you are aware of it. It may catch some people off guard that are not aware of it though. If you see the 150K offer, get excited, just click through quickly and apply then you may unknowingly end up with less than what you expected to get.
Hopefully Amex makes it very clear what your offer is with the pop-up after the application is conditionally approved. I am glad they at least let you back out if the offer is not what you were expecting / wanted. I just know there will be people that end up on the bad side of this though. How do I know that? Because I have written enough articles to know that often times people don't slow down to read and digest something fully. It is simply our nature and American Express is doing their best to lean right into that flaw in my opinion.
New American Express Application Language: ToP Thoughts
While this new American Express application language is annoying, it doesn't have to trip you up. As they say, knowing is half the battle. Now that we know to be aware of this language it shouldn't change things too drastically for us. That is as long as we don't continually get low balled when we go to apply for these offers. I wasn't able to get this to appear on my own searches so I am not sure how wide spread it is. Hopefully this is a test case, Amex gets so blowback and decides against it long term. Fingers crossed!
If nothing else, this is a good reminder to take your time when filling out applications and ALWAYS take a screen shot of your offer. That goes for credit card sign ups, bank bonuses and everything in between. You can delete the screenshot once you have completed the offer and earned the bonus.
Let me know your thoughts on this new American Express application language over in the ToP Facebook Group.