American Express extends new cardholder welcome offers for 3 months

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American Express has announced it’s extending welcome offer earning periods for new cardholders, making it the first issuer to do so.

“Due to the impact of COVID-19, for eligible Card accounts approved from December 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020 for which you are eligible for a welcome offer, the period to make eligible purchases to earn your welcome bonus will be extended for an additional 3 months. Eligible Cards are U.S. Consumer and Business Cards issued by American Express National Bank to a Basic Card Member,” said Amex in a statement.

This means if you were approved for an American Express credit card starting December 1, 2019, through May 31 of this year, you’ll receive an additional three months on top of your card’s original timeframe to earn the welcome offer. Both consumer and business cards apply.

If you were approved for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express in February, for example, you’ll have until August — rather than May 2020 — to meet the $1,000 spending requirement and earn a $200 statement credit.

What the extension means for you

An additional three-month earning period may be a relief for cardholders attempting to cut back on spending or for those who were approved for a travel credit card but might not get much use out of it in the next couple of months.

“As long as it’s money you would have spent anyway, I think this is a great idea,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate. “The extension makes it much easier to hit that threshold without overspending. Whether you’re stockpiling points for a future trip or looking to earn some quick cash back, Amex has a lot of good options.”

Rossman highlights the American Express® Gold Card, Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Everyday as cards that might benefit you most due to their grocery store-centric rewards structures.

In today’s climate, the Blue Cash Preferred may be particularly convenient as it offers a 6 percent cash back category on U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent) and 6 percent on select U.S. streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix and Spotify.

Even if you’re completing most of your grocery shopping online, American Express categorizes spending at Instacart (an online grocery pick-up and delivery company) as a U.S. supermarket purchase.