Capital One Adds 48-Month Bonus Eligibility Rule


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Capital One has updated its language regarding eligibility for welcome bonuses on cards, as flagged by Danny the Deal Guru. I’d view this as being positive clarification more than anything else.

Capital One limits bonuses to every 48 months

Every credit card issuer has rules regarding who is eligible for the welcome bonuses on cards. Along those lines, in the “view important rates and disclosures” portion of Capital One applications, it used to say the following regarding eligibility for bonuses:

“Existing or previous cardmembers may not be eligible”

Now that has been updated to state the following:

“Existing or previous cardmembers are not eligible for this product if they have received a new cardmember bonus for this product in the past 48 months”

What should we make of this change?

Capital One’s old policy was incredibly vague, and simply stated that you may not be eligible for the bonus on a card if you’ve been a previous cardmember. Personally I very much appreciate the new language, which makes the rules very clear. You’re now not eligible for the bonus on a card if you’ve received a bonus on that exact card in the past 48 months.

This more or less puts Capital One’s policy in line with Chase’s 48-month rule and Citi’s 48-month rule. It also means that Capital One has a more generous policy than Amex’s “once in a lifetime rule” (though anecdotally that seems to mean seven years after you’ve canceled a card).

Frankly I wasn’t previously sure what Capital One’s policy around bonuses was, since it wasn’t published, and I didn’t see too many data points. I had assumed the issuer had some sort of a “once in a lifetime” policy, so I’d consider this new rule to be an improvement.

Does anyone know if this actually represents a policy change, or if it’s simply clarification? Did we unofficially know of a 48-month rule before?

Bottom line

Capital One has clarified its rules regarding welcome bonuses on cards. The terms of card applications now state that you’re not eligible for the bonus on a card if you’re a previous or existing cardmember who has received a bonus on a card in the past 48 months.

What do you make of Capital One’s 48-month rule?

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