One of the most frustrating moments is when you apply for a new credit card, one that comes with a juicy welcome offer… only to be ruined by a pop-up message that says you’re not eligible! Ugh!
This is most common with American Express and is known around the web as being in Amex Pop-Up Jail.
Specifically, the message states that you’re not eligible for a welcome offer for various reasons. This may be due to your history with American Express with balance transfers, welcome others, introductory APR offers, and/or the number of cards you have opened and closed.
This is a screenshot of what the Pop-Up Jail message looks like:
If you get this message during your application, it means you are still able to open the credit card but American Express isn’t willing to sweeten the deal by including the welcome offer (usually points or a statement credit).
Why am I in Amex pop-up jail?
Unfortunately, American Express doesn’t share exactly why someone is in popup jail. As the message above states, you are most likely in pop-up jail for the following reasons:
- Your history with balance transfer offers
- Your history with introductory APR offers
- Your history as an American Express card member
- The number of cards you have opened/closed
If you have recently made a large balance transfer, had recent late payments, or have recently opened other American Express cards, that is likely causing the pop-up message.
How to get out of Amex pop-up jail?
If you are getting the pop-up message while applying for an Amex, even though it is frustrating, don’t worry. It won’t last forever. My best recommendation is to wait and increase how much you are using your existing American Express cards. Do that for 3 to 6 months and try again.
Alternatively, you can still apply and get approved if you get the pop-up (without the welcome bonus, of course). This may be something to consider if you want the card’s other benefits. For example, the Amex Aspire Card comes with automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status, which may be beneficial for an upcoming trip. Those types of perks will still included.
Alternative Cards to Consider If You’re in Pop-up Jail
If you’re stuck in Amex pop-up jail, you may want to consider cards from other companies:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve
- Citi Premier Card
- Capital One Venture X
You can also consider asking Amex for a retention offer, which is a bonus to keep your card open for another year.
There’s no way around it – the Amex pop-up jail sucks! But it is not the end of the world. Give it time and increase your spending with American Express, and you will likely be eligible for the welcome bonus again in 3 to 6 months, though this isn’t guaranteed. If you’re unable to get out of pop-up jail, consider cards from other credit card companies like Capital One, Chase, Citi, and U.S. Bank.
Have you been in pop-up jail with Amex before? How did you get out of it?