Beginning September 2019, it may be time to start looking at new points programs. Here’s why.
Historically, the high value of Amex Membership Rewards points (MR) was based on their ability to be transferable into a variety of frequent flyer programs and MR points could be transferred to an account in any person’s name, not just the credit card holder.
Some time ago, Amex changed the process for transferring MR points and only allowed transfers into frequent flyer accounts where the member was an authorized user on the Amex credit card account. Amex will be adding a new restriction very soon, which will make it more difficult to transfer the points to someone else’s frequent flyer account, which will therefore potentially impact their overall value.
Effective Sept. 1st, card-members will be required to add the recipient of your points as an additional cardmember on your credit card account and then will need to wait 90 days before card-members can transfer MR points to the new frequent flyer accounts.
Here’s how Amex describes what they’re changing:
We are changing the Membership Rewards Terms and Conditions to provide that an Additional Card must be issued to an Additional Card Member at least 90 days prior to linking your Membership Rewards program account to that Additional Card Member’s frequent customer program account.
Additionally, effective immediately, employee on business credit card account cannot have their own MR account. All points will be pooled into one MR account of the primary card holder. If you currently have a separate MR account for your employee card, these will be discontinued on Sept. 28.
What’s does this mean for me?
The changes that will take affect September 1st and those that have already been implemented will continue to reduce the overall value of Amex points. These changes will make it much more difficult to use the points for friends and family to book travel for as well. Individuals and businesses who have been redeeming their Amex points frequently should be aware of these upcoming changes and plan accordingly by evaluating different rewards programs based on their business and individual needs.
Additionally PEYD has been working tirelessly to stay abreast of the new changes and has put together a list of options and a plan of action to help businesses with significant spend and credit lines prepare accordingly.