How do I get the best possible welcome bonus on an American Express Card?
If you want the absolute best welcome offer on an American Express card, you might have to hunt around. The best welcome offers available on American Express cards are often not available through affiliate links, or even directly on the Amex website. They are targeted that sometimes show up when you browse in private mode, log into the Amex website, or click through a personal referral link.
Here’s what you need to know to find one of these secret offers.
Incognito and Private Browsing modes are your friends
Sometimes Amex will target you for a better offer if they know who you are. Sometimes you’ll only get targeted for a better offer if Amex doesn’t know who you are. If you aren’t seeing the best offer you know about in your browser, try opening the link in a web browser in private mode.
In Chrome, to open a link to an American Express card application in Incognito mode, you can simply right-click on a link and select “Open Link in Incognito Window.”
In Safari, you can open a New Private Window from the File menu. Then paste the link to the credit card offer page in there.
Be sure to go incognito before navigating to the application page for a card.
Ways to find better targeted offers
Get a referral link from a friend
Referral links are a way for an American Express cardmember to invite friends to apply for a card, and earn a bonus if their friend is approved. I love applying for American Express cards through a friend’s referral link. Not only can I occasionally find a better-than-public offer on some cards, but my friend gets a bonus when I’m approved!
Referral links will usually be linked to a specific card product, but you can often find offers for a bunch of other Amex cards under a referral link. After clicking on the link, click on “View all Cards with a Referral Offer” at the top of the screen. Depending on the card, you might be able to view other co-branded cards, other business cards, or every card that Amex offers.
Referral links to cobranded cards like the Delta SkyMiles or Hilton cards will only let you select and apply for cards from that family of cards. But referral links from American Express-branded cards like the Amex Platinum or the Amex Blue Cash Preferred will let you browse cards and see a bunch of targeted welcome bonus offers. Some referral links from business cards may only show you other business cards, but most will let you browse welcome offers on personal cards as well. Look for “View all Cards with a Referral Offer” at the top of the page to browse cards other than the one you were referred to.
Referral links that go directly to better offers
Some people can generate Amex referral links to welcome offers that are better than the best public offer. How exactly Amex decides who can generate referral links to what offers is a mystery, but if you have a friend can do this, these links can unlock a better-than-public offer
On the Amex website, when you generate a referral link, you’ll see something like the screenshot to the right.
The offer displayed under “Each friend can earn:” is guaranteed to display for that referral link if that promotion is still available. You don’t have to use incognito or private browsing mode to access this offer.
Referral links with incognito/private browsing mode
Like with other methods, opening a referral link in Incognito or Private Browsing mode can yield a higher offer. If you’ve decided you want a specific card and are just hunting for the best offer, try opening various referral links in incognito
The offer you see might vary by browser, computer, or even location. If you’re not seeing the welcome bonus you’re expecting, try opening the application page in a different web browser.
Here are some of our referral links. Use these if you want to go hunting for better offers
- Business Platinum referral link – Explore all personal and business cards
- Business Gold referral link – Explore all personal and business cards
- Delta SkyMiles Business Platinum referral link – Explore all personal and business cards
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card referral link – Hilton Honors cards only
- Blue Business Cash Card referral link – Business cards only
Visit direct links to the Amex website in incognito/private browsing mode
Sometimes American Express shows you increased offers if you simply shop for cards with your browser in Incognito, Private Browsing, or the equivalent mode. In most browsers, right-clicking on a link should open up an option to visit the link in the stealthy mode of your choice. Here are the direct links to the Amex website for both personal and business cards:
- View American Express Personal Cards on the Amex website
- View American Express Business Cards on the Amex website
Here’s an example. While writing this article, I found an offer on the Business Platinum Card for 150,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000. At time of publication, the best available public offer was 120,000 points after spending $15,000.
American Express sometimes will give you a better welcome offer if you open an application using a different browser or a different computer. Anecdotally, I see the best American Express welcome bonuses when I open links to application pages using Safari on a Mac in Private Browsing mode. Even on the same computer, I frequently see different offers in Chrome than I do in Safari. Unfortunately for Windows users, I find that I often see lesser offers when browsing on Windows.
Find new card offers through Amex offers on your existing cards
American Express serves up targeted promotions to cardmembers through Amex Offers. These offers are a great way to score a rebate or additional savings on things that you might buy anyway. But Amex sometimes includes welcome bonuses for credit cards among its offers. Often these targeted offers allow you to get a welcome bonus on a card more than once.
To see if you are targeted, log into the Amex website, select one of your existing cards and scroll down to “Amex Offers & Benefits.” Click on “View All” to expand the section. If you are in luck, there might be a targeted offer for you under there. Often, only one of your cards will be targeted with a specific offer. So if you are hunting for a new cardmember offer, look under Amex offers under all of your cards.
Last year, I was targeted for an “expand your business membership” offer on the Amex Business Platinum. I was able to get 150,000 points for opening an additional card, even though I currently held the Business Platinum. (In fact, the targeted credit card offer came under my existing Business Platinum account!)
Offers by direct mail
Most American Express cards will not offer you a welcome bonus if you have ever had that specific card before. But targeted welcome offers that Amex sends to you via direct mail frequently do not contain these same restrictions. Sometimes these direct mailings contain some of the best Amex welcome bonuses. Often these offers are the key to getting another welcome bonus on a card you previously held.
You can increase the chances that you receive these targeted offers by changing your American Express marketing preferences. If you are currently an American Express customer, log into your account at americanexpress.com, select “Account Services” and then “Security and Privacy.” You’ll be able to change your marketing preferences under “Privacy Preferences.”
Another thing that you can do is to opt in to getting prescreened credit and insurance offers. If you have previously opted out of receiving prescreened offers of credit or insurance, you can opt back in at optoutprescreen.com.
Check for personalized offers through Amex online.
American Express lets you check for personalized offers online through its website. If you don’t have an American Express card or haven’t logged in to the Amex website, you’ll see a form to fill out your name, address, last four digits of your Social Security number, and your income. If Amex already knows who you are, you’ll see personalized offers based on your profile.
Call American Express
Some people have had success calling the American Express application line and asking if there are any targeted offers on specific cards.
- American Express personal applications phone number: 1-888-297-1244.
- American Express small business applications phone number: 1-800-519-6736.
You can find both of these phone numbers on American Express’ website here.
Finding the best American Express welcome bonuses can take a bit of searching. Try referral links, use incognito mode or try a different computer or web browser if you know there’s a better offer out there.