Always Ask for a Credit Card Signup Bonus Even If You’ve Already Signed Up

Let’s say you’ve just signed up for a credit card, and a few days later, the same lender offers a new signup bonus that’s better than the one you have: can you call them and ask if you can claim instead new bonus? Most of the time, the answer is no, but there are exceptions, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.

The sooner you contact your lender, the better.

You are more likely to receive a retroactively applied bonus if you ask earlier, ideally within a few days of opening your account (to make a request, use the customer service line, which should be listed on the back of your card).

The greater the difference in the amount of the bonus, the easier it will be to defend your position. After all, the difference between a 60,000 bonus and a 100,000 reward point bonus can be worth several hundred dollars, and you are missing out on just the wrong timing.

Some lending companies are stricter than others

Some lenders have very strict rules regarding signup bonuses, so you may want to read the fine print in their terms and conditions before calling. For example, American Express’s official policy is that you are limited to only one welcome bonus per card, while Chase and Citi limit borrowers to one bonus if you have already received one in the last 24 months.

Whether or not you have some wiggle room in interpreting these rules will depend on the lender and when you ask (for example, Amex has periods when they are more likely to match bids). And since many of these decisions are made on an individual basis, it is difficult to get reliable information on how likely it is that a lender will provide bonuses. Either way, the only way to know for sure is to ask: the worst that can happen is that they say no.

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