There’s nothing more frustrating than applying for a card only to be denied. You try calling the reconsideration line, only to find that they still won’t approve you for the card. Whatever the reason for the denial, it can be discouraging to feel like you wasted a hard pull on your credit.

Rather than deny you, American Express started deciding to show you if you’d be eligible for the welcome bonus before you apply. This dreaded pop-up at least stops you from applying, so you aren’t getting a credit pull. But once it shows its little head, it can be difficult to shake the Amex pop-up.

Let’s take a look at what the Amex pop-up is, and some strategies we’ve seen that have helped it go away. This isn’t a one size fits all solution. For some people, just one of these may work. For others, you may have to try a bit harder. It will be worth it, however, in order to be eligible for some lucrative Amex welcome bonuses again.

dining or restaurant spend during travel

The American Express Green Card offers 3X Membership Rewards at restaurants worldwide, including delivery services.

What Is the Amex Pop Up?

Over the past few years, American Express has been trying to crack down on people just opening their cards for welcome bonuses. Amex really wants to be the “go to” brand and prefers long term loyal customers rather than people simply trying to get as many bonuses as possible.

While there’s definitely a case for some Amex cards long term, there are others that you really may just want for their bonus.

Amex started the pop up to tell you after you had submitted your application if you aren’t eligible for a bonus, and offered you the opportunity to cancel it rather than proceed. After all, just because you’re not eligible for the bonus may not mean that you don’t want the card.

Over time, this pop up has been showing up with increased frequency. Many readers have been reporting that they’re seeing it more frequently.

The pop up isn’t tied to just one type of card. Typically once it shows up, it keeps showing up no matter what card you try to apply for.

Although this isn’t a full shut-down, like we see with Chase sometimes, it definitely feels like it. If you’re unable to open any new American Express card, then you’re locked out of many lucrative bonuses.

Let’s explore how to beat the pop up, and what you can do in the meantime while waiting on it to go away.

Banks aren’t in the business of losing money. By putting more spend on your Amex cards, you’re helping Amex make money.

Wait

Once the pop up shows up, unfortunately the biggest thing you can do is wait. You won’t be able to eliminate the pop up instantaneously, or even in a few weeks. More likely it will take a few months.

I know that can seem like a lifetime in the points and miles world, especially when limited time welcome bonuses show up. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a 100k welcome offer for the The Platinum Card® from American Express only to then see the pop-up denying you the bonus. It is taunting at its best.

While you’re waiting, there’s plenty of other things you can do to help your chances of the pop-up going away.

put more spend on cards

Put More Spend on Amex Cards

The biggest action that we’ve seen help the pop-up go away for people is spending more on their American Express cards.

Remember, American Express is trying to create long-term users of their cards. What better way to show them that you’re the prime customer that they want to target than by being that customer.

It helps to keep in mind how card processing companies make money. They get a transaction fee with every swipe you make. Typically this is between 2-3% of the purchase price. This is how they’re able to offer rewards at 1-2%. If offering you those rewards encourages you to use the card more, the bank will make up the difference on the spread. When you’re just opening the card for the bonus and not putting any more spend on the card, you’re costing the bank money.

Banks aren’t in the business of losing money. By putting more spend on your Amex cards, you’re helping Amex make money.

I know that you may want that spend to go towards a bonus on another card. But thankfully Amex has some cards that offer some pretty good rewards on everyday spend. The American Express® Gold Card earns 4X Membership Rewards on the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets every year, and 1X points per dollar after that. It also offers 4X Membership Rewards at restaurants .

The American Express® Green Card offers 3X Membership Rewards at restaurants , including delivery services. It also offers 3X Membership Rewards on travel, and that isn’t limited to travel booked through American Express Travel that you’ll find on most other Membership Rewards earning cards.

If you’d rather earn some hotel points, the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card offers 6X Hilton Honors points for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.

These generous bonus categories can take some sting out of putting more spend on your American Express cards. Plus, this can be a great opportunity to let your credit report cool off and fall below 5/24 so you’ll be eligible to open some Chase cards as well. Think of it as a win-win in those regards.

Don’t Start An Application

This may seem counterintuitive, but if you’ve gotten the pop up already, don’t start a new application for a new American Express card for awhile.

When applying for a new American Express card, you’ll either log in before starting or be prompted towards the end of the application process. This is how Amex can decide if they want to extend the bonus to existing cardmembers.

Like most things in the points and miles world, we can’t really prove that Amex is tracking this data but it is reasonable to think that Amex would be. It is easy for them to see how often you’re applying for a card with this data. Since they already think you’re potentially abusing the bonus system, if they see you’re trying to apply for lots of cards, they’re less likely to allow you to get the bonus.

Naturally, you won’t know if the pop up has gone away if you don’t apply for a new card. Just be sure you’re not trying every month. Once the pop us has shown its face for you, wait a few months before trying again. Six months may seem like a long time, but it gives you a buffer between applications that may help you beat the Amex pop up.

close cards you're not using

Close Cards You’re Not Using

Going hand in hand with putting more spend on your American Express cards, you should close any Amex cards that you’re not using. You want to show American Express that you’re an active user of their products, but keeping cards open that aren’t being used gives the impression that you’re not actively using them.

You shouldn’t worry about closing cards. Closing credit cards doesn’t really hurt your credit unless they’ve been open for a very long time. But if you did open a card just for the bonus, after a year of having the card you should look to close it.

What if you do have an American Express card that’s been open for a long time, but maybe it has a high annual fee that you want to get rid of? In that case, you’d be better off product changing. If you’ve kept The Platinum Card® from American Express open for a long time, but you don’t want to pay the high annual fee anymore (rates & fees) request a product change to a cheaper card like the American Express® Gold Card (rates & fees) or American Express® Green Card (rates & fees).

Don’t Abuse American Express Cards

This one should be straightforward, but I can’t stress it enough. You do not want to abuse American Express. Amex is more thorough in preventing people from abusing their products, but even worse than getting the Amex pop up, abuse could lead to Amex shutting down all of your accounts.

You might be abusing American Express cards without even knowing it. Some of the common ways people do this is closing cards within the first year or only using the cards for purchases when you have a credit or an Amex offer. Maybe you’re putting just enough spend on a card like the The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card to earn a free weekend night award. These are all ways that may seem innocent that can make Amex think you’re trying to game the system.

This signals to Amex that you aren’t trying to be a long-term customer. You’re only trying to get points and save money. While there’s nothing wrong with that, Amex wants you to be a long-term user of their products.

Don’t Apply for an American Express Card You’ve Recently Had

This may seem like a no brainer, since after all American Express limits you to one welcome bonus per lifetime, but don’t try applying for an American Express Card you’ve recently had.

What do we mean by recently? If you’ve earned the welcome bonus anywhere in the past four to seven years, that’s recent.

This will very likely trigger the pop-up, telling you you’re ineligible for the bonus because you’ve earned a welcome bonus on the card in the past.

That being said, there is an exception to this rule. Every now and then you’ll get a targeted offer via email or snail mail to open a card that you’ve recently had. Be sure to read these carefully, as the terms and conditions often have wording indicating that the bonus is restricted to once per lifetime. These targeted offers will be more likely than a public offer to not have this wording. After all, Amex knows you’ve had these cards in the past and they’re specifically reaching out to you to open them again.

Beyond this exception, you should avoid reapplying for an American Express card you’ve had recently if you’re seeing the pop up.

Be Proactive in Avoiding the Pop up in the First Place

Rather than trying to beat the Amex pop up after it shows up, your best course of action is to try to avoid the pop up in the first place.

The first thing to do is follow all the advice above. Don’t abuse Amex, put regular spend on your cards even after earning the bonus, and don’t start applications just for fun. There’s a few more ways that you can proactively stay on Amex’s good side so that you can avoid the pop up in the first place.

Slow Down With Opening New American Express Cards

The first thing that you should be doing to avoid the Amex pop up is to slow down with opening new American Express cards. For starters, you should familiarize yourself with the American Express bonus and application rules.

Although the rules say you can open two personal cards every 90 days, this may not be the best course of action repeatedly. Rather than viewing this as permission to open two new cards every 90 days, you should not do this more than once every six months. Sprinkle in some business cards, or cards from other banks in order to slow down the velocity at which you’re opening Amex cards.

Look for Upgrade Offers Instead of Opening New Cards

Another great option to earn bonus points without actually opening a new American Express card is to keep an eye out for upgrade offers.

Similar to product changing from a higher end card to a middle or lower tier card, you can also move up the food chain. From time-to-time, American Express will offer you the opportunity to upgrade to a higher card and give you a bonus to do so.

These upgrade offers won’t exclude you from welcome bonuses in the future. If you want the perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express but the welcome bonus isn’t as high as you would like, you can upgrade instead. This way you’ll get some bonus points, get the card you want, and not be excluded from opening the card for the welcome bonus in the future.

Utilizing upgrade offers really is a great way to help prevent the amex pop up. It shows Amex that you’re interested in their products, that you’re actively using their cards, and it slows down new applications. Upgrading your card is taking everything that you should be doing to beat the pop-up, and proactively doing it in advance. Plus, you can get some bonus points along the way.

Final Thoughts

If you’re seeing the Amex pop up whenever applying for a new card, it isn’t the end of the world. There’s a lot of things you can do to make the pop up disappear. The biggest resource you’ll need is time.

Rather than wait for the pop up, you can be proactive in preventing it from happening in the first place. Space out your applications, use your Amex cards regularly, and look for upgrade offers rather than opening new cards.

Whether you’re getting the pop up, or trying to prevent it, these strategies will help you stay a happy customer of Amex cards for years to come.