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Generally speaking, whenever you come across a public welcome offer from a credit card issuer — which could be something like, say, an incentive of 100,000 rewards points to sign up for the card — what you see is what you get. That’s the offer, pretty much everyone is eligible to get the same offer, and that’s that. With just a little bit of extra effort on your part, however, that may not actually be the end of the story — because, every now and then, banks will target specific customers with even better offers than the publicly available enticements. 

It’s an interesting twist on the perks that come with all the different variations of card credit ownership that we regularly detail here, and these targeted offers come about in any of a few different ways. Issuers like American Express will often choose the most direct route of making these targeted offers available — by, simply, mailing out the details of limited-time offers that specific customers have been pre-selected for. Other issuers make those sign-up rewards available only in their physical branches.

Meanwhile, the CardMatch Tool from CreditCards.com is another channel through which these targeted offers are often found that you should definitely be aware of. The site uses some basic personal information (like your name, address, and part of your social security number) to match you with current card offers that you might be eligible for. The reason this site is one you definitely want to check periodically is that sometimes those offers can be much, much better than anything you’ll find being made publicly available.

How to use CardMatch

We mentioned above that you only need to make a little bit of effort because the site is super-easy to use. When you land on the CardMatch Tool page, it looks like this:

Enter the personal details that are required, and if you don’t want to be proactively contacted by CardMatch in the future, make sure the “Send me information” box is not checked. It’s also worth taking a moment to make sure you know that although what you’re about to do will result in a so-called “soft inquiry” on your credit history, this will have no impact on your credit score.

From there, all you need to do is then agree to the terms and conditions, and in no more than 60 seconds you should see a rundown of any targeted offers available for you. The first time you check, you might see some of those impressive offers that aren’t publicly available — or you might not. The number of offers you get, and how impressively they actually are, will not be constant, so don’t expect the same kind of list every time you come to the tool to check it out.

If you do like any of what you see and want to move on to the next step, no surprises there — click the “Apply Now” button, and that will send you to the bank’s site to finish out the application process.

A taste of what you might find

Here’s an example of how the offers that are sometimes available via CardMatch can be much more impressive than what you’ll find publicly. We’ve seen targeted offers appear on CardMatch for the Platinum Card from American Express that offer up to 100,000 bonus points when you make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months.

100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points are worth about $2,000 based on TPG’s most recent valuations. Which is a much harder-to-pass-up offer compared to the current public offer on the card of only 60,000 points when you spend the same $5,000 in three months. Based on the value of Membership Rewards points, those 40,000 extra points are worth $800 — so, again, it’s seriously worth it to check if you’re eligible for the higher offer.

In the past, we’ve seen elevated offers for the Delta family of American Express cards as well as the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. Likewise, we’ve recently noticed a 50,000-point welcome offer for the American Express® Gold Card — after you spend $2,000 in the first three months — that’s available by using the CardMatch tool. Compare that to the current publicly available offer for the Amex Gold of only 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

The final word

Again, it’s worth taking note of the fact that checking the CardMatch Tool shouldn’t be considered a one-time event. If you don’t have any offers at the moment or aren’t particularly excited about what you see, check back again later — because you might be then. The offers can change frequently and at any time.  

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to apply for a specific credit card and you come across an offer on the CardMatch Tool that’s better than what you’ve seen somewhere else, it’s certainly worth your consideration. As always, though, keep your own financial situation in mind as well as your travel goals and credit history when deciding whether to apply for a card — which also might come with spending requirements that you don’t want to unnecessarily change up your finances around. Also, the list of offers you’re presented with is just that — offers, not guarantees that you’ll be approved for the cards.