ARCC: a new way to keep your Amex points when cancelling Gold or Platinum

One of the downsides of cancelling an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum charge card is that you are required to empty out your Membership Rewards points account.

The Preferred Rewards Gold card is free in year 1 and comes with a sign-up bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points (read my Preferred Rewards Gold review here).  Platinum comes with a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points (read my Platinum charge card review here).  These convert 1:1 into Avios, Virgin or many other airline schemes or at up to 1:3 into various hotel schemes.

Having to close your Membership Rewards points account can lead to a dilemma over when to cancel.  You will be paying £11.66 per month after the free first year to keep an Amex Gold active and £37.50 for a Platinum.  However, this allows you to keep your Membership Rewards points where they are.  If you are forced to transfer them because you close the account, you may regret it later.  Because Amex points can be transferred to many different airline and hotel partners, they are more valuable than airline or hotel points.  You shouldn’t convert them until you need them.

There is a new solution that:

lets you keep your Membership Rewards points account open, and

allows you to stop paying an annual fee for either the Gold or Platinum charge card

This is the answer:

Amex Rewards Credit Card

You can now apply for the new American Express Rewards Credit Card.

This card has NO ANNUAL FEE and lets you collect Membership Rewards points.

(Strictly speaking this card is not brand new.  It was previously available exclusively via moneysupermarket.com as a trial – you couldn’t even apply via the Amex website.  The card IS now widely available.  It used to be Gold but has just been relaunched in Blue to avoid confusion with the Gold charge card.)

For the purposes of simplicity, I will be referring to this card as ARCC sometimes as American Express Rewards Credit Card is a  bit of a mouthful.

What is the American Express Rewards Credit Card?

It is a standard Amex-branded credit card.  It has no annual fee and no substantial benefits, except for the ability to collect Membership Rewards points at 1 point per £1 spent.

There are three versions of the card available:

LOW RATE – 5,000 Membership Rewards points bonus and a representative APR of 9.9% variable (click here)

or

BASIC – 10,000 Membership Rewards points bonus and a representative APR of 22.9% variable (click here)

or

PURCHASES – NO sign-up bonus but 0% APR on purchases for 18 months and a representative APR of 22.9% variable beyond that (click here)

The first two cards require a £500 (5,000 points version) or £1,000 (10,000 points version) spend within three months to trigger the bonus.

It is unlikely that many Head for Points readers will qualify for the bonus because you cannot have held any Membership Rewards cards in the previous six months.  That will exclude anyone who has, or has recently had, a Gold or Platinum Amex card.

Don’t worry about that.  You may still want to get this card even though you won’t get a bonus.

If you currently have an Amex Gold or Platinum charge card and want to cancel it but do not want to cash in your Membership Rewards points, this card is your answer.

Apply for the Amex Rewards Credit Card.  Once it is active, you can cancel your Gold charge card or Platinum charge card safe in the knowledge that your Membership Rewards balance is safe.

If you go for the ‘Purchases’ version, you will also get 18 months interest free credit on everything you buy.

The only ‘snag’ is that you will not have reset the six month clock on being able to reapply for Gold charge or Platinum charge and receive another sign-up bonus.  In order to do that you need to close down your Membership Rewards account entirely.

For a lot of people, though, being able to keep your existing Membership Rewards balance alive will be more important.

You can apply for the Low Rate version here (5,000 points), the Basic version here (10,000 points) or the Purchases version here (no bonus but 0% APR for 18 months).

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending financial products on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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Bits: Luxury Travel Diary deals, bargain at the new IC Perth, Etihad business sale
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Comments

  1. whats the benefit of holding this over just having a green charge card to hold onto you points?
    you can just downgrade platinum or gold to green at the end of the welcome period and still hold onto your points…?

    • The green card holds an annual fee..

      • OK
        Thanks for the clarification!

        I closed down all of my Amex charge cards in May, so i guess i am best to wait until November(ish) and then apply for another Gold card.

        Thx
        James

  2. Do we know which market (sub prime?) these cards are aimed at? Perhaps the continuation of Amex’s decision to drop their minimum income requirement?

    • guesswho2000 says:

      I’m not sure, but I definitely doubt Amex are in any way aiming for the sub-prime market. It’s a bit more mainstream though, granted, but the PRG is seemingly aimed at the masses too these days, given that they promote the use of MR points for gift cards.

    • It may be aimed a people like a friend of mine who has just started to look into collecting Avios. She would only go for the free BA card due to the yearly fee and I feel she would be put off the PRG card (without my advice) as she would want to hold it long term to collect miles and would not want a £140 fee hanging over her. This would fit nicely into that casual collector range.

  3. Will you be eligible for the bonus if you hold the BA Amex premium card?

    • Yes, no problem.

    • As long as you did not hold any card with Membership Rewards for the last six months, you are eligible for the bonus. BA Amex is giving you Avios, which is not part of Membership Rewards. So, you should have the Membership Rewards bonus when you hit the threshold.

      I asked the customer representative some time ago, unless they change the rules.

  4. I got the previous free gold credit card under the spend £500, get 3000 points offer. I never got the points. Did this happen to others? Presumably I should chase them.

    • Late reply as I’ve been away, so hopefully you’ll see this…

      Yes, definitely chase – my points didn’t appear (Mrs Mzungu’s did, with the transaction that took it over the target). I chased, was told to wait for the next billing cycle, then they would add manually if they didn’t post. Then 1000 points posted manually, so another call… I think it took 3 or 4 calls in all 🙁

  5. Interesting question for the floor: my OH cancelled his Amex Gold but as his referrral link is still working I used this to apply for my AMEX Gold. Will I still get 22000 points and he will get 9000 (to his cancelled card)?

    Thanks

    • guesswho2000 says:

      You might get the 22k, but his MR account will be closed 30 days after his card was canx, so it’s unlikely he’ll get the 9k.

    • The referral link will still get you the enhanced sign-up bonus but he won’t get the referral bonus if he doesn’t have the card any more…

  6. Rob, how can both this card and the green card survive ?
    how to justify the 60gbp fee for the green card if this transparent card gives the same reward for free?

    • Well, this is a Credit Card; the Green is a charge card.
      I always thought businesses liked the Green card as their corporate card, or am I wrong?

    • The Green card is the traditional Amex card and I reckon there is too much emotional involvement to kill it. I doubt anyone has a personal one, but there are a lot of corporate ones about. If your employer does a deal with Amex you will get one – I had one at one point in my banking career.

      • I cherished my first green corporate card. If they ever tried to discontinue the green card I’d be tempted to go down to Brighton and give them the burning pitchfork demonstration.

  7. So this replaces the Gold Credit Card and what has happened to the old card? I remember reading about it and was inclined to get it for the extra bonus. May just end up moving my points to Avios anyway as my BAPP has just been renewed.

  8. Thanks for this article. I have had BA Amex card for a year but prefer the partners with Membership Rewards. Called Amex twice today to ask if I could apply for the new ARCC without a hard search (since the eligibility checker on their website has been saying a number of times now that I am ineligible for a second card), and just split my BA £4000 limit between the two cards. They can’t do it! I have to apply successfully for the ARCC. Very annoying.

  9. O/T
    In a bit a quandary here and hoping someone can help! We’re currently in the situation of myself having 106k MR points & 37k Virgin Miles and my partner having 38k MR points & 15k Virgin Miles. We’re looking to book an Upper Class flight next year, but AMEX can’t pool MR points into one place, I can’t seem to transfer MR points to a Flying Club Account not in my name and can’t justify the ridiculous Virgin miles cross-account transfer costs. Do we have any other options here?

  10. My wife signed me up for a supplementry card on her preferred rewards gold as it had a small 3k bonus points offer. I was about 3 months in the process of churning my gold card, will this affect my 6 month wait for the sign up bonus?

  11. How do the MR points transfer over to the new credit card once you close your charge card account?

    • Your MR account is totally separate to your cards. It has its own account number and its own life. You can, for example, have multiple Amex cards feeding into the same MR account – I had this once at the time I had a Green corporate card and a Platinum personal card.

      There is therefore nothing to transfer over. When you apply for ARCC Amex will realise that you already have an MR account and link it up.

  12. What’s the difference between this and the gold rewards credit card? I’m not talking about the preferred rewards charge card but this:

    http://www.headforpoints.com/2016/10/10/american-express-gold-credit-card-benefits/

  13. Hi

    Is there still a MR bonus if you apply for the accompanying CREDIT card to go along with the preferred rewards CHARGE card?

    Cheers