One of the lesser known features of the American Express Membership Rewards programme was the ability to transfer your points to someone else for a £15 fee. Unfortunately, Amex stopped offering this a couple of months ago.
One of the benefits of this is that it allowed to transfer your points out of your account if you were planning to cancel your card. It saved you from having to make an immediate redemption, and hold off for a potential future transfer bonus. This is no longer possible.
The terms and conditions of the Membership Rewards programme explicitly allow you to transfer your points to someone else when you close your account.
Whilst Amex may have removed the transfer option in general, the ability to transfer on cancellation is is written into rules of the Membership Rewards programme.
The exact wording – this is from the terms and conditions (go to the last page) of the Preferred Rewards Gold card - is:
If you end your Card Account agreement and there are no other Linked Cards on your Points Account, or if you end these Terms and Conditions, you will have 30 days from the date you request this to redeem your Points. You can also transfer them to another Points Account, including transferring to a Points Account held by someone else (for a fee that we will inform you of at the time). If you do not transfer or redeem your Points within 30 days, they will be forfeited.
It is worth noting that the Membership Rewards rules are not technically part of the terms and conditions of your Amex card, and that Amex can change the MR rules without giving you any notice. However, the terms above are the latest version.
So … as far the terms and conditions of the Membership Rewards programme are concerned, you can still transfer your points to someone else as long as you are closing your account. Amex could charge a crazy fee, but in reality I assume it would be the usual £15.
I know of someone who has managed to get Amex to do this. However, it was a struggle. Numerous telephone agents and supervisors refused to do it, and this person had to make a formal complaint to American Express – enclosing a copy of their published terms and conditions – before they agreed to it. It did get done, though.