American Express Product Change and Downgrade Options

American Express has a wide variety of credit cards, co-branded credit cards, and charge cards.

One rule to be aware of is that American Express has a once in a lifetime rule, so if you receive a welcome offer for a card, you will not be eligible for another welcome offer for the same card again.

Regarding upgrade and product change options, I don’t recommend taking an upgrade offer unless you have previously received a welcome offer for the same card. Taking an upgrade offer first would disqualify you from receiving the welcome offer for the same product.

For example, if you currently have the Amex Gold card and you receive an upgrade offer to the Amex Platinum card (and you accept it), you will not be eligible for the Amex Platinum welcome offer. However, if you receive a welcome offer for the Amex Platinum first, you will also be eligible for the upgrade offer.

When to Downgrade an American Express Card

Some people might product change a card if they’re not getting positive expected value from an annual fee.

Downgrading a card is ideal to keep your credit history alive since you’re not canceling the card. I usually recommend doing this after having the card for 12 months if you’re not getting positive expected value in the second year to keep a good relationship with American Express.

If you cancel or product change a card before the first year, Amex has the right to claw back the welcome offer for “abusing the system.”

American Express Product Change Options

Below is a chart of product change options for American Express cards. A few rules to keep in mind before diving in:

  • Rule #1: You can NOT product change a business credit card to a personal credit card, vice versa.

  • Rule #2: You can NOT product change in/out of co-branded groups

    • For example (NOT allowed):

      • Hilton card -> Delta card (different group)

      • Delta -> Amex Platinum (different group)

  • Rule #3: You can NOT product change between charge cards and credit cards

The grouped colors in the chart represent the product change groups that are available. For example, the bright red box is personal Amex Delta card product change options, and the dark red box contains business Amex Delta cards. You can’t product change outside the respective groups.



Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

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