With American Express, there are a few limitations to product changes. The first one is that you cannot product change a cash back card to one that earns Membership Reward points. For example, you can't product change a Blue Cash card to an Everyday card.
The second rule is you can't product change a charge card to a credit card. This means that you can't product change an Amex Platinum card to an Everyday card. However, you can downgrade an Amex PRG or Platinum to the Green card.
You also can't product change a business card to a personal card. For example, you can't product change an Amex Business Platinum to a personal Amex Platinum card. Not being able to product change between business and personal cards is standard practice.
For co-branded cards, you can only product change within their respective group. For example, the Amex Delta Gold card can be product changed to any Amex Delta card.
The Mercedes-Benz and Charles Schwab cards have their own set of rules. Since both offer variations of the Amex Platinum card and a regular Amex card, you can product change within their respective brands.
Given these rules, this means there are limited downgrade and upgrade options. For example, the Amex SPG card doesn't have a product change options.
American Express often gives you promotions to upgrade from one card to a higher tier card. It may seem like a good offer, but once you upgrade, you will never qualify to get the signup bonus for the higher tier card. Amex has a once in a lifetime rule for signup bonuses, meaning you can't receive a signup bonus for a card you previously or already have.
When does it make sense to upgrade or downgrade?
With a card like the Amex Platinum card, there's not a free downgrade option. The Amex PRG and the Amex Green both have annual fees.
Regarding upgrades, the main reason to do it is if there's an offer attached and if it gives you increased value. For example, if you have the Amex PRG and you get an upgrade offer for the Amex Platinum, upgrading would save you a hard inquiry. I recommend this if you're inquiry sensitive and are applying for a mortgage or buying a car in the near future.
The other potential reason to upgrade is if the signup bonus for the card itself isn't worthwhile.
Want to get the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018-2019? Here's when to apply and how to time the minimum spend requirements.
Is Bora Bora on your wishlist of places to visit in 2018? Costco Travel is having a deal for Bora Bora. Here's our analysis.
Want to get a $15-$20 gift card every time you dine at select restaurants? Here's our review of the Seated app.
A step-by-step guide on how to use transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Want to get free hotel upgrades and skip the check-in lines in Las Vegas? Here's how to status match your way to free upgrades.
Timberline Steaks & Grille at Denver International Airport was recently added to the Priority Pass restaurant network. Here's our review.
How much time should you spend researching credit cards and cash back? Here's our formula to calculate your ROI.
For Q4 2017, the Discover It 5x cash back categories are Amazon.com and Target. Here's how to get the maximum cash back.
Walmart and department stores are the Q4 5X categories for the Chase Freedom card. Here's the optimal strategy to earn maximum cash back.
Priority Pass recently added Timberline Steaks & Grille to their network of restaurants. Here's how to get a "free" steak the next time you visit Denver Airport.