Can You Apply for the Same Credit Card You Already Have to Earn the Signup Bonus Again? How does it work for Chase, AMEX and Citi, the issuers of the best travel credit cards?
Since there have been various changes over the past couple years, here are tips on which cards you can get again, and other rules to be aware of when trying to earn multiple signup bonuses.
It goes without saying that the reason there are some stricter rules in place for earning signup bonuses is that Chase, AMEX and Citi are well aware of how many “maximizers” there are, who want to churn credit cards just for the bonuses. Their job is to minimize churners who just earn a bonus and cancel the card, and instead encourage loyal clients to keep their cards, spend heavily on them, and even be late sometimes so as to be able to charge them interest fees and late fees.
Chase: Earning a Chase Signup Bonus Again
Chase currently has the most attractive travel credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred, and cash back cards such as the Chase Freedom with 5X categories, Chase Freedom Unlimited, and Ink Cash, that earn Ultimate Rewards points if you also have an Ultimate Rewards card such as the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred or Ink Plus.
Chase 5/24 Rule
A key barrier for many people is Chase 5/24, which applies to all of Chase's own cards. If you've opened 5 or more credit cards (with any bank, not just Chase) over the last 24 months, Chase will not approve your application.
The key exception is that business credit cards issued by AMEX, Citi, Bank of America, and U.S. Bank do NOT count for Chase 5/24. In fact, neither do Chase business cards. So if you have a business, this is great news.
Another exception to Chase 5/24 is if you receive a pre-approved offer in a Chase branch, or if you receive a special targeted offer in the mail with an invitation number. It used to be possible to bypass Chase 5/24 by becoming a Chase Private Client, but this is no longer the case. That said, a person reported on Reddit that his Chase Private Client banker put him in touch with the bank's Business Relationship Banker, who was able to submit paper applications for the Ink Business Preferred and Ink Cash cards. Ultimately these were approved, even though the applicant was well over Chase 5/24, as the specialized business lending department that reviews these applications doesn't abide by Chase 5/24.
Finally, there are some Chase affiliate cards where Chase 5/24 does NOT apply, namely the Hyatt Visa, British Airways Visa, IHG Visa, Ritz-Carlton Visa, IHG Visa, Marriott Premier Business Visa, and also the Amazon and AARP cards.
Chase Bonus 24 Months Language
If you're under Chase 5/24, then the other thing you need to worry about is the 24 months language that applies to most Chase cards. For example, here's the 24 month language for the Chase Freedom:
“This product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of this credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of this credit card who received a new cardmember bonus for this credit card within the last 24 months. ”
In other words, you have to be careful to ensure that you haven't received a bonus for this same card within the last 24 months, which is different from having applied for the card within the past 24 months. If you only know the date you applied, best to wait 27 months, to be sure.
An exception is the Ink Business Preferred and the Ink Cash; assuming you fall under Chase 5/24 (or are pre-approved or receive a targeted offer or have a BRM who submits a paper application to Chase's Specialized Lending Group) you can earn the bonus on these cards again.
Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred: Only One Bonus
The other thing to be aware of is that Chase now only permits you to earn a bonus for a single Chase Sapphire card, so if you don't have either the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can only earn the bonus for one of these cards. You also cannot have received a bonus for the other Sapphire card within the past 24 months.
How to Earn a Chase Credit Card Signup Bonus Again?
Given the above, you need to:
- Be under Chase 5/24 or have an exception, as above
- Wait 24 months from previously earning the bonus, or be applying for an Ink Business Preferred or Ink Cash card
- Not be applying for a card you already have (so either close it or product change it to another card)
AMEX: Earning a Signup Bonus Again
AMEX, after Chase, also has good travel credit cards, such as the AMEX Platinum, AMEX Business Platinum, SPG AMEX, SPG Business AMEX, and cards such as the AMEX Blue Business Plus that have no annual fee yet earn 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases.
AMEX Once in a Lifetime Restriction
Unfortunately AMEX restricts a signup bonus to once in a lifetime, or at least 7 years after you've closed the card
The main exception to this is if you receive a targeted offer that does NOT have the restriction “welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have or have had this product.”
How to Earn an AMEX Credit Card Signup Bonus Again?
- Make sure you're opted in to receive promotions from AMEX, and monitor your snail mail for potential targeted offers
- For targeted offers, make sure there is no lifetime restriction in the terms
- For an AMEX card that you had and closed 7 years or more ago, consider reapplying if it's an especially attractive bonus offer. Officially you aren't eligible for the signup bonus, but you may receive it anyway if you haven't had the card in the last 7 years
Citi: Earning a Signup Bonus Again
Citi has the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select, CitiBusiness AAdvantage, the Citi Prestige, and Citi ThankYou Premier.
Citi Application Restrictions
Citi will not approve more than one application in a week, or more than 2 personal cards in about 2 months, or more than 1 business card in about 3 months. To be safe:
- After applying for one Citi card, wait 8 days before another application
- Do not apply for more than two Citi personal cards within 65 days
- Do not apply for more than one Citi business card within 95 days.
Citi 24 Month Restriction
Citi's 24 month language is different from Chase's: you are not eligible to earn the bonus again if you opened or closed the same card within the last 24 months. That's an incentive to keep your card open (try to get retention bonuses) before applying for it again, so as not to have to wait longer.
Note that if you product change the card, it won't count as closing the card only if you keep your same account number. If the account number is changed in the course of the product change, it does count as closing the card.
How to Earn a Citi Credit Card Signup Bonus Again?
- Wait 24 months from opening an existing Citi card to apply for the bonus again, or wait 24 months if you've closed the Citi card.
- Circumvent this rule if you are receive a targeted Citi offer without the 24 month language. For example, see 65K Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Without 24 Months Language
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