A question for Keith or anyone who has been paying attention to Amex for a long time. The partner bonus points offers (for spending at partners, not for sign up) seem to be very thin on the ground recently.
Is this a long trend downwards in points offers by Amex, or is it more of a cyclical thing where offers come and go over the years?
I realise no one would have actual insights into what's going on at Amex, more curious as to peoples' impressions of the historical trend of quantity and quality of bonus points offers? The shop small promos, account credits seem to be more numerous these days.
I'm not sure about the long-term trend of AMEX offers, but the fact that they recently resurrected their referral program (thanks Point Hacks!) is a sign that they haven't forgotten about the importance of customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals.
Have been following Amex promos since 2011 and there has been a real trend towards statement credits over bonus points. Last decent bonus points offer was the 5000 points for $150 MS donations.
I think Amex has used statement credits extensively in the US for some time and is importing the trend. Shop Small is a rare case where it is more generous in Australia than the US (it is limited to three statement credits in the US versus ten here). I know Amex has made a big deal to governments about how Shop Small supports small business so perhaps they consider it a lobbying expense.
I also expect for the average cardholder a statement credit, which stands out in bold on the monthly statement, is easier to appreciate than bonus points for a future redemption.
Apart from offers, points allocation for Australian Amex cards seem to generally be more generous than the U.S. counterpart. Our additional sign-up points are generally much higher than in the US (currently double for the Platinum card) and Amex AU also offers extra points for supermarkets, restaurants, etc. which you often don't see in other markets.
I think because of this they limit their bonus points offers in Australia in an effort not to devalue points.
That said, our statement credit offers also seem to be better -- just check out the terms for our shop small promos compared to the same offer in the U.S.