So, just how big a deal was the 75K AmEx signup bonus?

If you believe the bloggers, the latest sign-up promo might have been the most significant news this year. It certainly gathered the most posts in a 24 hour period of any story I have tracked this year (and I’ve been tracking a lot of them, thanks to the site). In the past 24 hours no fewer than 21 posts were published about the deal, often using terms like "amazing" or "incredible." And, to be fair, it is a good sign-up bonus, though the $5000 spend threshold is also on the higher side. And I don’t really fault the bloggers who are making money from the signups for sharing the information; it is actually news.

But how many times does it need to be shared?

Four different bloggers felt it was so incredible that it deserved to be talked about more than once in the same 24 hour period. One felt it deserved three separate posts. At that level I start to wonder just how much of it is trying to help readers versus themselves.

Here’s the full list I have of headlines (in alphabetical order by the blog) and who wrote them. Did I miss any? And which is your favorite headline??

  • Limited Time Offer: 75,000 Points for The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN — Deals We Like
  • 75,000 point AMEX Business GOLD card up from 50,000 after $5000 spend! — Delta Points
  • 75,000 Bonus Membership Reward Points With the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN — Doublewides Fly
  • CREDITCARDS: That amazing 75k sign up offer for AMEX Business Gold Card is still active — Frugal Asian Man
  • American Express Gold Business Offering 75,000 Points — FrugalTravel Guy (Ariana)
  • 75,000 Point American Express Business Gold Rewards Sign-Up Offer — Live and Let’s Fly
  • 75000 Membership Rewards Points for Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN — lovetofly
  • Top 5 Questions on the 75,000 Points American Express Business Gold Rewards — Million Mile Secrets
  • Won’t Last! 75,000 Points (~$750+ in Travel) With The American Express Business Gold Rewards Card — Million Mile Secrets
  • Big Points – 75,000 Points From The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN — MJ on Travel
  • Amex 75,000 Points ($750+) Offer Still Alive and Kicking! (Now Expired) — Mommy Points
  • Great Deal: 75K Membership Rewards for Amex Business Gold Rewards Card w/5K Spend! — Mommy Points
  • Answers to a few common questions about the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card 75,000 point sign-up bonus — One Mile at a Time
  • Amazing 75,000 Membership Rewards point sign-up bonus on American Express Business Gold Rewards Card! — One Mile at a Time
  • How I Got the Incredible 75K AMEX Business Gold Offer to Work & Why You Should Take Advantage — Point me to the Plane
  • Amazing Deal Alert: 75K Bonus For the Amex Business Gold Rewards Card — The Points Guy
  • Business Gold Rewards Offer: What Do 75K Amex Points Get You? — The Points Guy
  • Amex 75,000 Point Business Gold FAQ and My Top 10 List of Other Credit Cards for the Last Minute App-o-ramas — The Points Guy
  • Limited Time 75,000 American Express Offer With The Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN — The Weekly Flyer
  • 75,000 Membership Rewards Points with the Business Gold Rewards AMEX Card after $5,000 spend — Torsten Jacobi
  • Big Deal: Limited-time 75,000 Membership Rewards for American Express Business Gold Rewards — View from the Wing

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. overkill to say the least, it’s all about the money, money, money

  2. This shows how much the focus has turned to affiliate commissions. AmEx has come out with other spur-of-the-moment bonuses which did not receive nearly as much press because there want any affiliate commission available. I’m not against for-profit travel bloggers but this fiasco did put a few things into perspective (even for the bloggers that take the moral high ground to defend themselves often).

  3. A good deal, certainly, but you could basically see the dollar signs in the bloggers’ eyes under the onslaught…

  4. It’s really pretty sad. Most of the blog community (present company excluded) has turned themselves into easily-bought touts. There are still a few bloggers out there who provide original and new material, but the rest just exist to push cc affiliate offers.

  5. I’m of the opinion that at some point some of our favorite bloggers will face FTC slap downs on these types of advertisements that are not labeled as such.

    Yet I still jumped on the amazing offer after thinking about it overnight – Mommy Points got my referral because I happened to be on her site when I decide to give it a try. That was just dumb luck for her, I probably scanned six to eight of the posts over the 24 hours it was active.

  6. It is overkill, but what’s the alternative? Everyone take a turn and only 1 blog cover each signup bonus?

    It was a great deal — I didn’t apply for one (nor did I advertise it on a blog) but I know many people who did.

  7. Thanks for this post, Seth. I was tempted to count the posts at one point yesterday. Many of these blog(gers) no longer reside in the “Travel” category of my RSS reader because they don’t actually talk about travel or further my knowledge of travel. Many have been deleted, most are in the generally unread “Misc Junk” category now. I still see them in the “New Threads” list of MilePoint, though. Time to ignore the Boarding Area user there, I guess.

    1. @Oliver: I ignored that user a LONG time ago. Cleans up the MilePoint site quite well. I’ve actually lobbied to have it removed or changed but I keep losing.

      @Amol: Like I said in the post, I don’t think there is a problem with covering it in general as it is arguably news. Covering the same thing 2 or 3 times in ~12 hours, however, doesn’t make much sense to me. It isn’t like it was a major developing news story where things were changing minute-to-minute. As for an alternative, I’m trying the curated content approach. I actually think it has been reasonably successful so far.

  8. I jumped on the 100k for 3k spend Amex Plat offer in January, and didn’t even flinch at this one, especially since it requires you to ‘fake’ a business. 5k spend for 75k is pretty hefty, I’m sure there are quite a few out there who will have to make use of a balance transfer to finance the manufactured spend for a while 😮

  9. What’s funny is that from a value perspective, not as good as the play 100K deal. Even if the plat deal were 50K it’s probably a better value.

    Lower spend threshold; better benefits all around; higher level of service, etc.

    I’m surprised that Amex is pushing the 75K given the latest write down for increased award acceleration. Then again, if they are looking to increase cards in force, I’m sure the affiliates are getting a pretty penny.

  10. It’s the best public offer there’s been for this card. They’ve offered 75k before, but with $10k minimum spend. It also qualifies, I think, as the very best credit card bonus in the market.

    And it was clearly not going to last given Amex verbiage and experience.

    So a short term deal offering what I believe is the most lucrative current credit card bonus?

    It would almost be malpractice for any miles and points blogger NOT to post about it.

    And it was something of huge interest to readers. Way above average in comments, and frequently whether affiliate link or no i track clicks on links to gauge what resonates with folks and this was frankly one of the most clicked things I’ve seen. Readers WANTED to know about this.

    Which bloggers, do you think, should NOT have covered it?

    1. Read what I actually wrote, Gary. Covering it makes sense. Doing so repeatedly in the short period of time is, IMO, ridiculous.

  11. I’d say its about equal to the 100K Plat.

    -Annual Fee waived 1st year
    -Category multipliers on spend
    -OPEN Savings

    -Fewer points
    -Higher spend
    -fewer perks

    I grabbed both, and had been waiting specifically for a 75K offer.

    But quite the frenzy.

  12. I just don’t get why Amex would put an offer out there with an expiry of Aug 12 when they already know it will be blogged all over the place. If it was meant to be a one day deal, then put the correct expiry date on it. If the campaign was meant to continue through Aug 12, then honor it. I would have gone for it on Aug 1 as I need to wait a bit for another AOR. This isn’t a card I would normally consider without the big sign-up bonus as there are much better offers on other cards.

  13. @Seth Miller “Read what I actually wrote, Gary. Covering it makes sense. Doing so repeatedly in the short period of time is, IMO, ridiculous.”

    Seth, I think I did read what you wrote, and you were making two separate points.

    First, that the coverage being everywhere was itself overkill. You wrote, ‘In the past 24 hours no fewer than 21 posts were published about the deal, often using terms like “amazing” or “incredible.”‘ and then you provided a full list comprising 2/3rds of the space ofthe post of all the blogger mentions.

    You didn’t just mention those who wrote about the card more than once.

    And then second you also wrote one paragraph, three sentences, suggesting that covering it more than once was especially egregious.

    I was responding to point number one, not addressing point number two.

    As I say, even in a world without referral income.. long before I had any… I would write about just such an offer, and excitedly. It’s the best signup bonus in the market, the biggest publicly available bonus ever for this card, and appeared highly highly likely to be a very limited time opportunity.

    Was it for everyone? No. But was it big news? Yes.

    The long list of mentions, I think, is a bit overkill since giving it a post is almost REQUIRED for a miles/points blog. (If your focus isn’t primarily loyalty programs then of course it’s optional.)

    1. “[G]iving it a post is almost REQUIRED for a miles/points blog. (If your focus isn’t primarily loyalty programs then of course it’s optional.)”

      An interesting take. My blog has loyalty programs as the focus but I didn’t see a need to cover it, for a couple reasons.
      1) While I’m focused on loyalty programs I’m not actually focused on CC churning from the consumer side of things. And, yes, one can do both.
      2) When 18 other people are writing about something in such a short period of time I trust that my readers will be able to get the valuable information from there; I don’t need to repeat it, just to prove that I also knew about it at that time.

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with covering it as news. I think making it out to be the most amazing thing ever is quite over-the-top. Maybe that’s a subtle gray area and I’m too far on one side. Maybe not.

  14. Lot of overkill on this one that’s for sure. $5K in 90 days is steep when there are other opportunities. And to have to fake a business. MR points are valuable but nowhere like they once were. Anyway, more than one post about it in 24-36 hours is just straight up pimping.

    Also could bloggers put some creativity into writing? There should be a penalty for each use of the word “amazing”, lol

  15. I thought the 100,000 plat AMEX back in January is a bigger deal than this one. Not everyone has businesses or ethically feel it’s right for them to apply for the 75k gold business card just for having an unofficial side business… whereas the 100k plat earlier this year is open to everyone.

  16. On another issue – the most peculiar blog heading in that list is Million Mile Secrets’ valuation of 75,000 Points as: “~$750+ in Travel”. At that price, I wanna know where he’s buying his Singapore Airlines A380 Suites tickets.

  17. I too thought it was overkill. In general I’m reluctant to write about credit cards to avoid any suspicion of conflict of interest.

  18. this is the case that referral link is better than public link, hence the craziness of yesterday.
    1. agreed repeatedly posting the same content is ridiculous and annoyed.
    2. I always use their content and go with public offer. I never let them get a penny from me, sounds good?

  19. yeah, i also found the stampede to be rather amusing. But i guess i lean more towards the Dave Ramsey approach to credit cards.

  20. Wouldn’t it be great if it now came back as a 100k deal with lower spend.

  21. I’ll side with Seth here. Several different kinds of *highly interesting* travel and loyalty related news break out from time to time, and you’ll see them in 1,2, maybe 3,4 blogs (let alone FT)… After that, it can be assumed that whoever is interested in a piece of news has already seen it (or should be paying more attention), so no one else posts about it.

    What happened here was extraordinary. This offer has come up before, too, *and with the same sign-up bonus AND msr, contrary to what Gary says* (I know cause I got it then), and it wasn’t all over every blog like this.

    This is because at the time there were plenty of new cc’s around, plenty of new people in the game, and bloggers were doing well with referral bonuses (they didn’t have to break their necks). And I don’t mind at all that they were doing well.

    This year has been slow with good sign-up bonuses or new offers. And many people have already done most of the existing good offers that have been out there for a while now. I can imagine how much slower the referral bonus business has been for those who hoped that it would stay this way.

    This has shown in more ways than this: more and more bloggers put out posts about the “best current offers” as if they were news… and it’s essentially the same list coming back in a different blog every 5 days. Some bloggers are coming across as needy/ desperate.

    Now this is their right and their choice. It is ours to judge them, theirs to respond etc etc. At the end, whatever is good business will show in practice. I personally intentionally use the referral links of bloggers whose posts I enjoy, because I want to help them keep doing what they do (including Gary by the way, who is one of my favorites). But I also mentally take points away from a blogger who ticks me off and boycott their links. It’s up to each of us to make our choices, bloggers and readers.

    At the same time I understand Gary’s frustration — it is true that he has always been one of the first to make such posts and once upon a time he was also one of the few that readers like me could rely on. Now there’s so many people in the blog game that his post came up fifth on my blog reader, middle of the pack in a sea of similar posts. Yes, Gary is doing his job like he always had, but the way the game has changed, it makes him look bad.

    Seth’s observation is, at the end, very astute. And also readers can choose to decide which bloggers are offering to the community and which ones are free-riders and reward them accordingly, which I do not think would ever be at Gary’s expense.

  22. I would like to point out that this offer WAS available in the past. I signed up for this exact same card with 75k points with 5k spend in march 2013. It was publicly available, but not widely talked about, I suspect, because of the lack of referral links. This was when the 10k spend link was going around and TPG was pushing it. The 5k link was even published in a comment to FTGs blog, but still wasn’t mentioned in the mainstream.

    Now that there’s a referral link, BAM biggest event of the year…

  23. It is substantially better than the 75k for 10k spend I did a few months ago… :/

  24. How is saying “Limited Time” considered “making it out to be the most amazing thing ever is quite over-the-top”

    Regardless, I’m flattered you mentioned Points, Miles & Martinis.

  25. As one with no history (or intention) of churning or app-o-ramas (we don’t have to fake a business or manufacture spend), the “blog press” excitement actually provoked me to act, having been on the sidelines; so it was useful overkill to me

  26. I took the deal fro the 75K points. For me it is worth it at least for the first fee free year. I have a real business and I know others here mention “fake business” and the like. I did not talk to you at the FTU but you are a sharp guy and there were rumblings from people I talked to about the credit card affiliate things. I pointed out to some there a few ZERO fee products that are never promoted because nobody makes money on it. The Merrill Lynch Plus card gives a FREE 1 year Admirals Club or Delta club perk when you reach 50K in spend for a year. This is a benefit on top of the 50K points you generate for various things. Its a no fee card with excellent customer service. US Bank flexperks has some benefits but is not really discussed as to the same thing. I have held many cards for business and personal. Chase in my dealings is a very difficult company to deal with and IMHO one of the few banks that will try and close accounts (for any reason) and keep all points earned in all programs. (unless you put up a huge fight)Chase pays out alot so they are favored. It seems that AME and Chase pay the most so they get more play than Citibank. Frankly I think BOA should look into creating some real competition in this space.

  27. Seth,
    This is case-in-point why I recently stopped reading one, shall we say, bottom of your list blogger and subscribed to you.

  28. It’s only a big deal for those bloggers desperate for yet another credit card sign up commission. It really has become nauseating. I’m glad to see you calling it out.

  29. I agree with Seth. I reluctantly had to choose one of the bloggers. Was there a way to apply for this without going through an affiliate link? This amway style marketing was just frustating and has started to kill the fun in this game.

  30. Seth,

    You are exactly right, in my opinion 95% of the blogs are useless, they used to provide a great deal of info, not all they do is write article after article about credit cards. They provide no value anymore, I realize it is a business but call it what it is, they are in business to get credit card referral signups and not provide us with any relevant tips and tricks anymore. I stopped reading most at least 6 months ago.

  31. Well it’s not like it is a telemarketer pounding your cell phone and this is a capitalistic society we live in and I would guess one of the characteristics of our frequent flyer crowd is a bit of travel greed that is being sought so you can always hit the delete button……….And we are all big boys and girls and should be able to sift out what is right for our individual situation…….it is what it is………..

  32. Amex is just brilliant. They paid a bunch of bloggers to recruit people with fake businesses to sign up for this card, who will in turn use it to load up their Amex BlueBird with VRs, and then use the earned MR points to buy expensive (for Amex) awards.

  33. How much do these bloggers earn in affiliate commissions for each approved card? It must be lucrative given the explosion of these blogs in the last few years.

  34. @LAX you won’t find a (current) blogger tell you, but numbers I have seen were in the $100-200 range depending on the type of card. This being a higher end card would presumably be at the higher end of the range.

  35. Gary and Seth:

    Is there any way we can lock you two in to a room (OK, an upgraded fancy suite) at BAcon and have you two settle your differences in a knock down, drag out blogger battle?

    Perhaps you can play a game of ‘My amenity kit is better than your amenity kit’, since I doubt physical combat is either of your styles…

    Please make sure that Ric or Lucky is there to capture a video of the ‘conflagration’! 🙂



    1. I’m sure Gary’s amenity kit is better than mine, Lark; I don’t fly in F all that often internationally as I don’t think it is worth the extra points. Of course, if you go back a ways you can find another discussion between us about that topic, too. 😀

  36. Oh Seth if you would open yourself to the dark side and do a credit card churn then you would look at FC international through different eyes……I started a “very targeted” churn last December and 300k and 20 points higher on my credit report are the results from Gary, Frequent Miler, Points Guy and Lucky advice……….but I do appreciate you not taking those last two seats up front…………and everyone needs to develop their own individual plan at their comfort level………..but after reading the article below I feel righteous………..

  37. I agree that AMEX and Chase must be the referral kings, TPG touts Delta AMEX cards when he knows those points are the least valuable currency. Delta Points offers little or no content but his referral links are front and center. I have found valuable information at Boarding Area, the problem is that it is getting harder to find amongst all the noise. Every time a blogger uses the word fantastic or amazing, I just substitute the word bullshi*.

  38. IMO, Its an overkill. I simply don’t understand why bloggers have > 80% of their articles about credit cards. Maybe they don’t know about the REAL deals that are out there. Credit card is one of the way of earning free miles but its not the only way.

  39. Seth,

    You just became my favorite blogger by this post. I thought the exact same thing. At the same time I lost respect for Gary for trying to argue. Points guy had three posts…. Really?? Absolutely waste of time

  40. I am doing a post on this very topic.

    The only solution to this very annoying problem is the banks stop pumping out credit card offers. Not seeing it happen in the near future. Unless…a black swan comes out of nowhere…

  41. My attempt at seeing a sliver lining: it could be that the higher buzz is due to many bloggers chasing a shrinking fanbase or rather a shrinking pool of folks willing to do a churn or having credit and free cash remaining to do manufactured spend? 🙂

    I personally did all Barclay LH & US offers, the Chase UA/CO cards, the capital one, the sapphire etc. Now I only have the option of the fake business Amex OPEN cards and perhaps the Chase Ink nonsense. Or start spoiling my wifes credit with umpteen enquiries.

    I’m sure I’m in the same bat with a ton of other regulars?

  42. Yeah, you are right… Gary probably does have the superior F class bling…

    Perhaps you and Mommy Points can gang up on him and endlessly call him “Mr Fancy Pants”… 🙂

    I do hope that some / all of you share the goings on at BAcon, should be an interesting get together.


  43. I think Gary is right on this one. If the bloggers believe that the deal was amazing, why wound’t they share it? Nobody forces the readers to read it, or click on the links. Those bloggers got one of the highest number of visits on that day. It might be profit oriented, but what’s wrong with that? It’s definitely not ridiculous. They disclose upfront that they receive commission for the links. If the deal was crummy and they said it’s amazing, then I’ll be with Seth. But the deal was really great and I believe it was worth repeating a few times just in case someone was not following them all the time. Some of the repeated blogs also included extra information about how to use the MR points, etc.

  44. Worth comparing the hype over this to the hype over the launch of the Fairmont or Carlson cards, both of which continue, day in and day out, to offer a more valuable package than this Amex Gold deal (depending on how you value free hotel nights over airline miles)

  45. This reminds me of the old 60 minutes point/counterpoint and the ensuing parody on SNL. Seth/Gary, after reading your comments I have to say my recommendation for the next FTU would be to have a format for the pro/con on an issue. Any issue!!!!. It would be extremely fun and liven up what has become a repetitive event. You would have people hanging off the rafters for that one.
    I have a feeling that Amex is looking at this like a lab. It would be interesting to see what they learn and whether the cards generated from this short time offer produce a positive return for Amex.
    Maybe they should be invited to an FTU to speak. I hope they do a better job than SPG of showing up

  46. Seth,
    I’m not sure that its necessarily a bad thing that so many blogs posted it. To the same point, there is value in *not* posting it if everyone else is. Moreso, this is the most interesting post about that offer that I’ve read, and I enjoyed the debate with Gary as well. Multiple posts is overkill.

    In the big scheme of things, credit card sign on bonuses are great for everyone, and bloggers that post such bonuses (referral or not), are providing a service, that is “separating the wheat from the chaff,” in most cases. Of course, its all subjective.

  47. I’m sort of in the middle – I read credit card promo pieces and bite sometimes. I do about 6-8 applications a year, and they’re an important part of my points earning strategy. On the other hand, I haven’t done any manufactured spend and only have one fake business (a real business for which I’ve actually developed a plan, but haven’t had the time to implement yet due to my real job).

    Actually I didn’t find the aggressive pushing of the 75k AMEX as irritating as they way they all pumped the Barclay’s 50k for Lufthansa just a few days before. That one just isn’t a good product for most people, in my opinion, and some bloggers did acknowledge the reasons somewhere in their work. On the other hand, if I am going to make my applications intelligently, I do want to have the information, so it’s good the bloggers cover these things, and I can pay as much, or as little, attention as I wish.

  48. I have to agree I have no problem with the Bloggers making money. I also agree they probably made $100-200 per application so if you got a few hundred apps wow watch the money role in. But posting it more than once is just plainly being a PIMP. Put your own slant on it but in the end you can’t deny it.
    Seth you are my 1st blog to read from now on. Thanks

  49. Good grief, I’m starting to agree with Seth. What is this world coming to?

  50. As someone who actually works in the news industry, I resent an offer for a credit card with an increased sign up bonus being called news. It’s not. It’s a special, a deal, a come on, an especially sweet offer, but it sure as hell isn’t news.

    1. By that metric, David, nothing in any of these blogs is “real” news. I’m willing to use a broader definition of the concept.

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