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Does American Express Have Pre-Approval?
Just this past year, American Express implemented a pilot pre-approval program that allows customers to know whether they are approved for a specific card, without having to worry about the inquiry affecting their credit score.
American Express announced this new program on November 21 and should greatly influence how you apply for credit cards. Before the announcement, you had to submit a full application to know whether you were approved for an Amex card, including a hard credit check that knocks 5 points off your credit score. Although this may seem miniscule, applying for multiple cards can quickly deplete your credit score.
With the introduction of this new pre-approval process, you can be told with 100% certainty whether or not you have been approved for a credit card, before having the chance to accept the offer and without an effect on your credit score.
How Does It Work?
While this new offer will affect the process of many new possible applicants, many current Amex users will be excluded. The program is not available if you apply for a card after you log in to an existing card member account.
However, the program is available to current card members applying for another customer card. Here are the basic steps to take:
- Visit the Amex website – If you are interested in getting an Amex card, go to their website and look at all of their card offerings. Select which card is the best fit for you and your needs.
- Apply for a card – Directly after applying for a card and providing relevant information, a soft credit inquiry is made on you. This is not the same as a hard inquiry, which affects your credit score. However, this soft credit check is the key part of the preapproval process, and after completed, will tell you with complete certainty if you are approved.
- Accept the offer – Once you are preapproved, you will have the opportunity to accept your offer, which will then result in Amex pulling a hard inquiry on your credit. This is to generate a specific interest rate and credit limit for the card. This hard inquiry will have an impact on your credit score.
How to Get Pre-approved?
The American Express preapproval process is fairly straightforward. The section above gives a brief overview as to what the steps are in getting pre-approved.
With this being a fairly new program, American Express has implemented a degree of flexibility into the pre-approval process. One of the most interesting features is that you can be pre-approved without even having to apply!
Lets get into a few of the ways that you can be pre-approved.
1. Go to the Amex Website And Provide Your Information
The simplest way to get preapproved is to go to the Amex cards portal and select “apply now” on the card you want. Once you press this button, you will be asked to provide a set of personal information, including your name, date of birth, SSN, and annual income.
Once this information is submitted, you will automatically be told if you are approved for the card, without your credit score being affected. Only after you choose to accept the card, will there be an impact on your score.
2. Apply And Provide Info
If you have no relationship with American Express and you would like, you need to provide basic info.
Amex use the info to perform a soft credit pull and let you know your application status just after you've entered the details:
3. Submit Application And Check Your Mail
Now it's time to submit your application and wait for an approval:
Current Amex Users: Check Passively Or Apply Proactively
If you already have an Amex card, it may be easier for you to get pre-approved. Here are two ways for pre-approval:
If you are a current Amex user, you may already have a pre-approval offer waiting for you without having to apply. American Express wants to incentivize its users moving up in card status, and one of the ways they do this is by preemptively offering pre-approval status.
For example, if you use the Amex Green card very often, always pay your balance off on time, and have improved your credit situation and income since when you initially got the card, Amex might want you to upgrade to a higher tier card. If this is the case, you may have a pre-approval offer for the Gold or Platinum card.
To check this, simply log in to your American Express account, navigate to the cards tab, and click on “View My Card Offers.” If there is a pre-approval offer waiting for you, all you need to do is submit the application and you will be accepted!
The first way of being pre-approved for exclusive to users who already have and use an Amex card. However, you can proactively get pre-approved similar to non Amex users.
The primary reason for an existing user to do this is to upgrade their card, and there are many benefits that come with this.
Each increased tier of card has higher perks and rewards, so if you feel that you can benefit from these without suffering from the higher annual fees, then try to get pre-approved!
American Express Minimum Requirements
The requirements necessary to be eligible to receive an Amex card are very similar to those of other major credit card providers. There are essentially only four major requirements.
- 18 years old – You must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible to apply for an American Express card.
- Social security number – Amex needs a social security number to be able to run a credit check on you. If you do not have a credit history in the US, you may not have a SSN, but you can submit your international credit history. In these instances where you have a credit history but no social security number, you can still be approved but the process may take longer.
- A US address – This must be a permanent home address in the United States. A P.O. box address cannot be a substitute for this.
- Less than 5 Amex cards – American Express does not permit any cardholder to have more than 5 consumer of business Amex cards. If you do, then you will automatically be rejected. Additionally, you can only apply to a maximum of 2 cards in 90 days, so if you exceed this limit, you will not be approved.
What Credit Score And Requirements Do You Need For American Express Cards?
American Express offers a wide range of credit cards, each with its own distinct set of, benefits, rewards, requirements, and thresholds. Depending on your current financial situation, some cards may be a better fit for you then others.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – The Platinum card has the highest threshold for approval, with the average credit score for accepted applicants being at 715. Amex recommends scores above 700 to apply.
- American Express® Gold Card– The average credit score for approval for the Gold card is about 700. Applicants can be approved with scores are low as 680 but it is recommended that you apply with a higher score.
- American Express Green Card – To have a good chance of your application being approved, you should have a credit score of above 670. The minimum threshold seems to be around 630, but your income must be high to compensate for the low credit score.
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express– The recommended credit score to be accepted for this card is 670.
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – Amex recommends a score above 690 when applying for the Blue Cash Preferred card.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card– The average credit score for approval is around 680, but you can be accepted with as low as 650.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card– This is regarded as one of the Amex premium cards, with the average credit rating around 700.
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card – This card has a lower threshold compared to other Amex offerings, with average scores around 650.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card – With this being the more premium Amex Delta card, it has a higher approval threshold with an average of around 700.
1-6% 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and selected U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas stations, 1% cash back on other purchases
$250 $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months
$95 ($0 intro for the first year)
1X – 2X 2X at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each year), then 1x on all purchases
10,000 points 10,000 points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months
2X – 6X 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3 points at Worldwide restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points on all other eligible purchases
95,000 points 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership
1X – 2X 2X miles on delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide (including take-out and delivery in the U.S) and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1x miles on all other eligible purchases
40,000 Miles 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months
$99, $0 intro first year
1X – 4X 4X points at restaurants (including Uber Eats purchases in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
60,000 points 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership
1X – 5X 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases
80,000 points 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership
3X – 7X 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio, 5x points at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery) U.S.supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and 3x points for each dollar on other eligible purchases
80,000 points 80,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a Free Night Reward after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership
How To Improve Amex Cards Approval Chances?
The ways to improve your chances of approval for an Amex card are the same for every other major credit card provider. The main idea to focus on is simply improving your financial situation, and there are a few specific ways to do this.
Paying your bills past due is one of the easiest ways to tank your credit score, so if you constantly pay them on time, your score will slowly increase.
Even if you have a missed payment, pay it as soon as possible to mitigate losses.
Although this is easier said than done, more income when applying will increase your chances of being approved, even if your credit score remains the same.
Make sure to keep a close eye on your credit score to see whether unforeseen events hurt your score. American Express offer the Amex MyCredit Guide to check your score for free.
Credit agencies offer one free check per week, which doesn’t affect your credit score, so don’t over-check your score or it will be harmed. You can also consider Chase Credit Journey or Capital One CreditWise to get a free score.
When you apply to a credit card, the card company runs a hard inquiry on your credit score, which typically knocks a few points off the total. Do not apply to more than a few cards per year and only apply if you think you have a good chance of being approved.
Why Did Amex Not Approve Me?
It can be frustrating getting your application declined. The first thing to do if this happens to you, is understand why it happened. Once you have this information, solve the root of the problem. There are a few common reasons why your application could be denied.
- Low credit score – If your credit score is too low for the card you are applying to, Amex will not approve your application. If this is the case, you must work on improving your credit score, which may take some time.
- Insufficient income – Although Amex does not set a minimum income for their cards, they may deny an application if they feel the level is too low. The only way to solve this problem is to get your income up and try again.
- Too many cards – American Express only allows you to have a maximum of 5 cards at once, so if you apply to another card with 5 or more, it will automatically be rejected. You are also only allowed to apply to 2 cards in 90 days, so if you exceed this, you will be denied.
The Amex pre-approvals do not have a set limit for how long they last. Offers tend to have a set expiration date, but it may vary based on the offer.
Amex pre-approvals do not affect your credit score. American Express does a soft credit inquiry when you apply for pre-approval, but this has no impact on your credit score.
If you are pre-approved for an Amex credit card, this means that if you submit an official application, you will be accepted. This simply gives you more certainty when applying for a credit card.
If you’ve been pre-approved, there is 0% chance that you will be denied for the official application. However, if you are not pre-approved, your application can still be accepted.
American Express primarily uses Experian as its credit bureau. Although Experian provides most of the credit pulls, Amex still uses some of the other credit bureaus occasionally.
The Amex cards with the lowest credit requirements are the Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card and Delta SkyMiles Gold card. If you would like to get a higher tier card, you will need to improve your credit score.