Be Aware – New AMEX Membership Rewards Rules Are Now In Force

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Back in June American Express announced a number of changes to its card offerings and Membership rewards which were to be phased in over a number of months. The key change to the Gold Card from American Express kicked in on 6 June but the main changes to Membership Rewards only came into effect over the weekend and a further change is coming at the end of the month – here’s what you need to know.

Amex Membership Rewards

AMEX Membership Rewards Changes

From 1 September 2019 authorized users of Membership Rewards earning cards will have to have been authorized users for a period of 90 days before their loyalty program accounts can be linked to the primary Membership Rewards account. This applies to personal cards as well as business cards.

Essentially, new authorized users/employee cardholders will have to wait 90 days before any Membership Rewards points can be transferred over to a frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program in their name.

Up until now, Membership Rewards points have been transferrable to an authorized user’s loyalty accounts from the moment the authorized user’s card was activated.

From June 2019 new employee cards (cards associated with a primary business card) have not been permitted to have their own Membership Rewards account which is separate from the Membership Rewards account of the primary cardholder, and now existing employ cardholders will see a similar restriction imposed.

From 28 September 2019 holders of employee cards who have their own Membership Rewards accounts (associated with their employee card) will see thier Membership Rewards accounts closed and all future points earnings credited to the Membership Rewards account of the primary cardholder.

Employee cardholders will have until 31 October 2019 to redeem/transfer out any Membership Rewards points in their accounts or their balance will be forfeited.

Also, from 1 September 2019, American Express will have the right to claw back any Membership Rewards points earned on a card (in a given billing period) where payment is not made by the official payment date.

a close-up of a credit card

Bottom Line

The biggest hit here will be for genuine employees of small businesses who, up until now, have been able to earn Membership Rewards points of their own courtesy of any American Express business cards they have been given by the companies they work for – going forward all the points earned will be pooled into the primary cardholder’s account.

The 90-day rule for linking an authorized user’s loyalty accounts to the primary Membership Rewards account may be inconvenient for some but, in the grand scheme of things, probably won’t affect all that many people – if you think you’d like to be able to transfer over some points to someone else’s loyalty account(s) you should make them an authorized user as soon as possible.

[HT: TravelWithGrant]


    • I haven’t heard or read any news about AMEX offers being removed from employee cards so I’m not in a position to comment with any authority.

  1. Well, I guess I will Start using my AA visa or Delta card and file for reimbursement instead of tyhe AX card. What a shame that AX is doing this. I suspect some big account s are requiring this so the boss cand take a cruise ore pretend to give a reward to someone that they feel can use it and NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR IT.. American Express, shame on you

  2. Who “owns” the points from travel and expenses? The person who charges for them or the company who pays for it?

    That is question that has never been answered even by the IRS. I can see, as business owner, wanting to capture the kickbacks from their spending. I can also see how an employee would want to keep those perks.

  3. You report this as a change for the Membership Rewards program, which is huge and covers many card products. However, your links only reference a change for your particular Blue Business Plus Credit Card product.

    Do you have a source that shows it’s being applied more broadly (say, to the very popular Corporate Card product)? I haven’t heard of such a change.

    • The change relating to employee cards affects all AMEX Business cards – I haven’t heard (or seen) if the changes apply to corporate cards.

  4. AMEX is over; only reason for changes that ‘tax’ your customer – poor returns and poor fiscal performance. Black cards… 10 years ago, the new metal card with a $700 fee and declining value proposition… nice try. KODAK!

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