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AmEx Introduces “Waterfall” Lifetime Language on Amex EveryDay Card

American Express, a key player in the credit card industry, recently introduced a concept known as “waterfall” lifetime language to its Amex EveryDay Card. This seemingly innocuous change has significant implications for those looking to maximize their rewards and enjoy the benefits of American Express’s Membership Rewards program.

Understanding “Waterfall” Lifetime Language

The term “waterfall” may conjure images of cascading streams, but in the world of credit card churners, it signifies something quite different. This new language is all about limiting your eligibility for signup bonuses based on your previous card history within the same family. To put it simply, if you currently hold or have ever held a higher-tier card in the same family, your eligibility for a signup bonus on a lower-tier card is restricted. The reverse, however, is not true.

In practical terms, if you’ve had the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card, you won’t be eligible for a signup bonus on the basic Amex EveryDay Card. This applies not only to the current moment but extends to any point in the future when you might consider reapplying for the Amex EveryDay Card.

You may not be eligible to receive the welcome offer, intro APRs, and intro plan fees if you have or have had this Card, the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card or previous versions of these Cards. You also may not be eligible to receive the welcome offer, intro APRs, and intro plan fees based on various factors, such as your history with credit card balance transfers, your history as an American Express Card Member, the number of credit cards that you have opened and closed and other factors.

Fine print from AmEx (emphasis added is ours)

The Evolution of “Waterfall” Language

This trend began a few weeks ago with the personal Delta cards and was later expanded to include the Amex Gold and Platinum cards. However, business cards are yet to be affected, so if you’re yet to pick up bonuses on popular AmEx business cards, you still have time to do so.

Historically, the EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred cards have not been known for their extravagant signup bonuses. Therefore, the impact of “waterfall” language on these cards may not be as alarming as it is on cards like the Delta card family and the AmEx Gold/Platinum. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that this trend seems to be spreading rapidly throughout AmEx’s portfolio.

Navigating the “Waterfall” Strategy

If you’re an avid points collector and are starting from scratch, the best strategy is to progress sequentially within a specific card family. For instance, begin your journey with the AmEx Green Card, then move up to the Gold Card, and eventually set your sights on the Platinum Card. By following this order, you can maximize your signup bonuses “on the way up,” ensuring you receive the most value from your card applications.

Bottom Line

The introduction of “waterfall” lifetime language on the Amex EveryDay Card is part of a broader trend in the credit card industry, making signup bonuses more difficult to come by through churning. While these particular cards may not have an earth-shattering impact, the potential consequences for other card families and their associated signup bonuses should not be underestimated. As the credit card landscape continues to evolve, it’s essential for enthusiasts and churners to adapt and strategize, ensuring they make the most of the rewards available while staying one step ahead of the game. So, if you’re thinking about applying for an Amex EveryDay Card, make sure to read the fine print and consider your card progression carefully. Happy collecting!