It looks like American Express Canada is putting an end to churning. American Express United States has already put an end to churning. Churning is signing up for a credit card, cancelling it so that you can sign up for it again. Generally to re-take advantage of the sign up bonuses.
Below are two examples of the new wording for new applicants:
- This offer is only available to new American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Cardmembers. For current or former American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Cardmembers, we may approve your application, but you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.
- If you have already applied for The American Express Gold Rewards Card without using this recommendation, you will not be eligible for the bonus Membership Rewards points.
The wording for credit card referrals is somewhat different:
- This offer is only available to new American Express Gold Rewards Cardmembers. For current or former American Express Gold Rewards Cardmembers, we may approve your application, but you will not be eligible for the welcome bonus.
This essentially means that you can only benefit from the sign up bonus once, unless you are referred to the credit card by someone else. There are two ways that you can look at this. Of course it sucks, because it puts an end to churning. But it also means that there is less chance for abuse.
Regardless of the pros and cons, it means that avid point collectors will need to change up their strategies. This is why I always stress the importance of diversification of your points portfolio. You never know what can happen, so the best way to prepare for such scenarios is to diversify your portfolio.