American Express Changes Its Membership Rewards Policy — Will Give Canceled Customers 90 Days To Redeem Rewards

American Express’s Membership Rewards policy has changed. The changes by New York-based American Express will be detailed in a letter that customers should be receiving soon. Instead of cardmembers forfeiting all of their points, which has always been the policy at American Express, canceled cardmembers will have up to 90 days to redeem their rewards. American Express is quick to point out, however, that cardmembers must be in ‘good standing’ at the time of the account closure. What does good standing mean? An American Express spokeswoman, Desiree C. Fish, says that American Express defines ‘good standing’ this way: ‘We look at a number of factors to define good standing including that the account is current and the cardmember hasn’t filed for bankruptcy.’ Until now, cardmembers who got their accounts closed had very little recourse. American Express’s previous policy was simple. If we cancel you, for any reason, all of your accumulated membership rewards points are forfeited. ‘If for any reason we cancel any Linked Account including because of your death, bankruptcy or insolvency, any points accrued in your program account will be forfeited,’ according to American Express’s previous membership rewards disclosure see rule here. That was especially harsh for long-standing customers who had racked up hundreds of thousands of rewards points. So why the change in policy? ‘Our Membership Rewards terms and conditions state that if for any reason we cancel your card, any points accrued in your program account will be forfeited,’ Fish says. ‘However, given the economic environment, we have made the decision to make accommodations for cardmembers who we have canceled for risk reasons, but whose accounts were in good standing.’ Emphasis mine.The new policy covers rewards points. Does the new policy cover cash-rebate cards, too? ‘We are also making accommodations for any of these cardmembers canceled in good standing. We are providing the cash rebate as a statement credit, or if their rebate is larger than their account balance we will issue a check for the cash rebate amount,’ Fish says. Remember the woman who forfeited her $500 Costco rebate check link here? I’d give American Express a call if I was her.So, to recap: ‘If American Express cancels an account that is in good standing, we allow those cardmembers to redeem their rewards within 90 days of the cancellation date as long as their account remains current,’ Fish says. Additionally, says Fish, ‘cardmembers who were canceled in good standing and want to redeem their points should call American Express Membership Rewards customer service to do so.’Finally, what about customers who may have been canceled not so recently — not within the past 90 days? ‘Any cardmember who was canceled in good standing in the past can still contact American Express Membership Rewards customer service and we will review the request,’ Fish told me. In other words, if your account was canceled well beyond 90 days ago, you may — or may not — get your rewards restored. Still, it’s worth a shot. Related Articles:•Read More American Express Stories Here

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0 thoughts on “American Express Changes Its Membership Rewards Policy — Will Give Canceled Customers 90 Days To Redeem Rewards

  1. CM-I wonder if this means that lady in your story with the LARGE costco rewards will be able to collect them?$500 is $500 (I think that was the amount). You can sure as hell bet I would make a phone call for a $500 Costco cash certificate!

  2. Enigma, yes. It means that, if her account was in good standing, she would be able to get the rebate check.

  3. Enigma, I updated my story to include a link to the woman who forfeited her $500 check.

  4. Hmmm – A lawsuit is filed against Chase and they back off their $10 a month fee. Suddenly Amex is doing the right thing, I wonder if a lawsuit was filed somewhere causing their change of heart.

  5. FLT, I am not aware of a lawsuit in regard to the MR policy. That policy has been in effect for a long, long time. Perhaps AmEx decided to change its policy before a suit was filed. I’m curious to see what people who lost their rewards in the distant past (1 or 2 years ago) are going to do.

  6. I don’t think Amex started discarding ‘in good standing’ clients until recently, so the policy never had a need for the situations that seem to be popping up lately.

  7. AmEx has been conducting financial reviews — requesting IRS form 4506-T — since the early 2000s. Many of those customers were in good standing. I guess we need to define ‘recently.’ :)

  8. Hmm.. I wonder if many people stopped using Amex as frequently due to the numerous negative stories that have been published in various places over the past few months. This might be Amex’s attempt to lure people back to using their Amex cards. I know the Costco story made me question things for a bit.

  9. I’m not sure I mind companies pulling this stunt as much as I do charging annual fees and then cancelling cards a few days later. The points have always been forefeited per the agreement. It promotes bad business IMO but it is in the agreement.

  10. At least with AmEx it refunds on a pro-rated basis.As for the disclosure about forfeited points, yep. It’s always been that way. The news is that it is no longer doing that.Hope you’re doing well, Green.

  11. Not only have I stopped using my AmEx Platinum, I am now seriously considering whether it's worth the annual fees ($800 including AUs).And I'm sure I'm not the only >25 year cardmember doing the calculation

  12. Bob isn’t all about whether you are getting more in rewards than you are paying in? You’re doing that math. What’s your calculation tell you?

  13. I’m not getting enough back in rewards.But, I have some AUs who don’t fly business, and do like the perk of the lounges.

  14. CM are you asking what I consider to be the ideal profile for a Platinum member?I don’t think I fit the profile of the ideal Platinum member.I don’t spend NEARLY enough nowadays on my AmEx.

  15. What I am trying to figure out is how much someone would have to spend to get their money’s worth out of the platinum card. I wonder if most people get at least $450 worth of rewards.

  16. I think the ‘ideal’ Platinum member spends over $25k per year, minimum.I say that because it takes $250k to qualify for Black, and I estimate less than 10% of Platinums would qualify.Now *IF* AmEx offered me a Black, I’m probably vain enough to bite 😉

  17. Haha. Actually, I deleted that post and then added the word ‘who’ to the next post. I have the same problem that all of you have.

  18. CM, as I mentioned, the main value for my AUs is the lounge access without having to shell out for a domestic 1st class, or overseas business ticket.

  19. BTW, when you get ready to upgrade, hook up with a Platinum member as a referral.The referrer gets 5,000 points.You get zip :-)

  20. I just took a look at my 2008 Year-End Summary.I only put $30k on Platinum last year.And it’s going to be even less this year.

  21. You know, I am SERIOUSLY considering it.AmEx needs to sweeten the pot, not reduce the rewards.Heck, why would I even put Costco on Platinum if I had the Fidelity AmEx paying 2% back?

  22. No, Blue Cash doesn't make sense when I already get 5% back on my Chase CashPlus card.I did the math awhile back, and figured I'd have to spend >$25k at Costco to make Blue Cash pay.When I get the Fidelity AmEx, Platinum won't even see Costco.

  23. BW, interesting. And very interesting that after almost 25 years that you may be leaving AmEx.

  24. AmEx has treated me well through the years, but their recent behavior has made me very gun-shy.I’ll probably keep the Platinum so my AUs don’t have to shell out $450 to get their own.BUT, if it were only I, I would be seriously tempted to give AmEx the boot.

  25. Now, that looks darned strange.Maybe it’s if it were only me.But, I hate using object pronouns with any form of ‘to be’

  26. See, it’s that calc that keeps me with Rewards Plus. Myself and my wife (who is an AU) spend together about $45K-$55K a year on average. I simply see no reason to go for Platinum. None of their perks appeal to me. In fact, the only thing I get for my reward points is cash (I convert at 20K points for $100, so I get $200 per year in cash, and the cards cost me only $140 in annual fees). I found the reward point shopping to be largely a scam – the merchandise is so expensive, it just totally wastes the points, and I’d end up paying more. So I just go for the cash. And Platinum got nothing I’m interested in – zero. Not their elaborately caveatted airline companion tickets and lounges, which after you’ve jumped through hoops and fulfilled various conditions, are just now worth it – I fly way cheaper booking tickets by myself. Their travel services – same. And concierge services – big deal, I can google better than they can anyhow. Guaranteed tickets? Pffft – I got my own sources for tickets to events I am interested in. So what do they really have? Nothing I have any interest in.Meanwhile, not a week passes that I don’t get one or sometimes 2-3 solicitations from AmEx to upgrade to their Platinum. Idiots at marketing – if I haven’t done so in all these years, it’s not likely that I’ll do it suddenly because they’ve been junk mailing me for years.

  27. I love how Amex flaunts how ‘good’ their rewards program is but in reality, it’s really not so good at all….My Schwab 2% cash back seems to beat up practically every redemption they offer.Here’s some Amex redemption’s: The value of points to Amex Gift Cards comes out to 0.5% of the amount charged, while for let’s say a Dell gift card it comes out to 1% of amount charged ot the card.A Bose® Companion 2 Series II Multimedia Speakers calls for 14,000 Points. Assuming I did not get any bonus points, that’s $14k of charging. Guess how much this Bose costs on Amazon? $99. That means I could alternatively charge $4950 to my Schwab and get $99 cash back.$4950 vs. $14,000? I think we have a winner.I’ve not been too impressed with Amex so far. When I can reach signature level on my Schwab card, I don’t see any reason to give much business to Amex.

  28. No credit given to the Washington Post who first brought this to the publics attention. Nor to the publisher of the post on creditboards that you gleaned info from?

  29. TC, you have it wrong. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.You say that I actually got the story idea from creditboards. You are absolutely incorrect. Although I published my story yesterday, I had been working on it over the weekend. My first interaction with American Express occurred Sunday morning. I emailed two spokespeople. The creditboards post was submitted on Sunday night. Therefore, I have NO reason to acknowledge the author at creditboards. Period.As for the Washington Post, I did not see a story there. If I had, I would have simply pointed to it. My blog is full of posts where I simply point to a story and call it a day. Fact is, I did not see a story there. A reader tipped me off to AmEx changing its rewards points policy. I then contacted American Express directly. I have access to spokespeople there. I used my access.Please provide a link to the Washington Post story. I have been on the Washington Post’s site today. I did a search for the story. I do not see it.Thanks.

  30. BW, Lots of other cards give great rewards (air, cash, points) with low or no fees. If all you want is lounge access, Priority Pass gives you access to many more lounges than Amex for $100-400 per year (depending on program).

  31. For what it is worht, after reading this article, I called and got my points reinstated by referring to this article and one on NBC. Only catch was I had to use them today. So I am getting a TV shipped in 2 weeks. Good enough for me. Thanks for the article.

  32. Amex has become the flaming assholes of credit cards. Been with them 23 years, never late, always paid up the account, and WHAM my card got cut off without notice. The jig is up when it comes to credit cards, but Amex is without a doubt the worst on record. At least Chase sent me a letter apologizing, and Cap One gave warnings and Citi keeps trying to ‘work something out’. At one point, I thought Amex was an exceptional company with exceptional people – now all they are about is pillaging and raping. Scum of the earth as far as I can see, plus they took OUR money in a bailout. Such assholes deserve to be hung from a lamp post. Or better still, tarred and feathered, then left to die in the gutter. Cretins, all.

  33. This weekend I get an email giving me a snap shot of my account which is good. Next my gold card doesn’t work (same day). They cancelled my account one month after I gave them the $150.00 annual fee, (student loans are giving me a problem at the moment and screwed my credit). That said Amex was always paid, they have changed and there new business model is out to only retain good little robots who are never a minute late and name their first born after the Amex CEO. I relied on my gold card a lot until this cancellation, when I called I got a lot of double talk and I told them that if they are going to treat their customers this way they can take their cards and shove them.