The question of whether you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to a friend took another twist this week. January card statements contain the following text:
Effective 20 March 2014, we will be removing the ability to gift or transfer Membership Rewards points to a Membership Rewards account held by someone else. No other changes are being made to the Membership Rewards programme. You do not need to take any action, as this change will take place automatically.
Here is the story so far:
For many years, you could transfer your Membership Rewards points to another person by paying a £15 fee. There was even a page on the Amex website promoting this.
In June 2013, Amex suddenly stopped allowing people to do this. The relevant page on the Amex website disappeared.
In October 2013, I revealed a little ‘twist’. In the terms and conditions of your Amex card, it says specifically that you CAN transfer your Membership Rewards points to someone else if you are closing your account. As it is in the terms and conditions of the card, they are not allowed to remove this feature without giving formal notification.
Some Head for Points readers tried to get Amex to do a transfer. Amex tried to wriggle out of it, claiming that the terms and conditions on the Amex website were ‘out of date’ (despite being dated 2013). One person had to make a formal written complain to Amex before they allowed a transfer.
Amex has now given the required notice period, and will be removing this option as of March 20th.
It is not clear if they will – for this final few weeks – allow anyone to transfer points to another person, or if they will restrict it to people who are closing their accounts.
Hopefully the Amex call centre will now be more amenable, and will no longer give callers the third degree for trying to do this!
If you currently hold a Gold or Platinum card, you may want to have a think about your strategy in light of this development.
(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)