AMEX Improves Income and Credit Requirements

American Express recently updated their eligibility criteria for a charge or credit card. They currently have four charge cards earning Membership Rewards with improved bonuses – which are all historical highs.

American Express Eligibility Changes

There are two major changes. First, there is no longer a minimum income requirement to be eligible for any cards. Previously, you were required to have a minimum personal income upwards of $40,000 to be eligible for premium cards like the Platinum American Express, although there was definitely some leeway if you didn’t meet that requirement personally.

This is a major improvement particularly for students. When I was in school, I was thankful to be eligible for AMEX cards but I know that a lot of my friends weren’t. A lot of them who weren’t too familiar with financial products were also deterred by the minimum income. The change really evens the field and makes American Express Cards much more attractive. It’s also better than getting cards that give you a bottle of soda when you sign up. 😉

With other premium cards like World Elite MasterCards and Visa Infinite cards, there is still the minimum income requirement of $60,000-$80,000; however you can also include household income.

I’ve never quite understand the minimum income requirement for credit cards. Perhaps to underwriting, higher income applicants were less likely to default, but I still think drawing a strict line around income didn’t quite make sense. It is nice that financial issuers are coming around, and for a credit card promotion recently there was the income requirement or that you spent at least $3,000 a month of credit cards.

The other enhancement that American Express has made is that bankruptcy only disqualifies you for a credit card if it was in the past two years. Prior to this adjustment, it was seven. Anyone who has a bankruptcy on their record is going to be facing an uphill climb towards getting issuers to trust you with unsecured credit again, but at least you have more leverage to explain yourself now.

Which Cards Should You Get?

American Express Gold Rewards Card

American Express Gold Rewards Card

For those who are now eligible to get American Express Cards, I highly recommend the Gold Rewards Card. It comes with 30,000 points, with a first year annual fee waiver, which are transferrable 1:1 to Aeroplan or BA Avios.

Otherwise, I’d recommend picking up the American Express Platinum or Business Platinum Card.

American Express Platinum Card

American Express Platinum Card – Canada

The Platinum Card has one of the best travel benefit packages available to Canadian credit card holders with lounge access, elite status, and more. For more details, see my review of the card here. The Business Platinum Card has the highest signup bonus of any Canadian credit card – 75,000 Membership Rewards points, which is enough for a one-way business class ticket to nearly anywhere in the world for free.

What do you think of the new changes?

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  1. […] As I’ve mentioned before, I will not be collecting Aeroplan miles directly with the co-branded TD or CIBC cards, since locking myself into Aeroplan with the upcoming split is just not a wise choice. If you still do want to incur Aeroplan miles, I recommend picking up American Express cards which have the option to transfer to Aeroplan, but other partners as well in case anything goes south. They currently have four charge cards earning Membership Rewards with improved bonuses all at historical highs, and have just improved their application eligibility requirements. […]


  1. Great signup bonuses, Jeff 🙂

    I’ve been having (and actively using) a Business Gold Rewards card for nine months (and plan to cancel before the annual fee is charged). Do you know if AE allows a second card, or do you need first to cancel the first card?

  2. I seem to remember seeing a list of the Amex Business Platinum terms that included many benefits like a round the world ticket but also an annual fee of $899 or something. Does that ring a bell?

    I am a bit confused about which card is best. The co-branded aeorplan cards seem to have much lower sign up bonuses. Why would that be? I also can’t find a list of what constitutes “eligible purchases” for earning points.

    • The AMEX Plat an Biz Plat have discounted international business and first class fares, but you have to buy a full fare refundable ticket which likely costs more than just buying two tickets. I would not recommend the co-branded aeroplan cards because you are then locked into Aeroplan, Membership Rewards charge cards have a lot more options available. All purchases are considered eligible as long as they’re not a cash advance or ATM withdrawal.

  3. Hi, im 20, my current income is $55,000 and i have t4’s i currently have 3 credit cards 2 with $1000 limit each one with $1500 limit, my utilization is 3% and my credit score is 692 do you think i would be approved for an american express?

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