Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.
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 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.
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.