Many Head for Points readers find themselves in the following dilemma from time to time. They want to close their American Express Preferred Rewards Gold or American Express Platinum card, but they do not want to empty their Membership Rewards account.
One of the great benefits of Membership Rewards, after all, is its flexibility. You can transfer the points to a large number of airline partners and hotel partners or even redeem for something totally different. If you don’t need to book any travel in the short term, you may find that you transfer them to the ‘wrong’ programme.
One option for Amex Gold cardholders is to downgrade to the little-discussed American Express Green card.
Amex tries to pretend that this card no longer exists, hiding it away at the bottom of its website. The benefits are certainly not designed to excite, because there aren’t any. There isn’t a sign-up bonus either.
You pay a £60 per year annual fee. The marketing material suggests that you must also pay a £24 annual fee for being able to participate in Membership Rewards but the comments below from readers suggest otherwise. You earn 1 Membership Rewards point for every £1 you spend. That’s it.
When the annual fee on Amex Gold was £125 per year, it made little sense to downgrade to Green. You were, admittedly, swapping a £125 fee for an £60 fee. However, as you were giving up your Lounge Club passes and the other benefits of Gold, it didn’t seem worth it.
Now that the fee for Amex Gold is £140, you may want to reconsider. An Amex Green card with Membership Rewards activated will save you (£140 – £60) £80 per year. That is worth more than the lounge passes.
If you are in two minds about cancelling an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, you need to choose between the following three options:
pay £140 per year for Gold, keep your Membership Rewards account open, keep the benefits of Gold
pay £60 per year for Green, keep your Membership Rewards account open, lose the benefits of Gold
There is, of course, the little known 4th option.
Amex still includes the following language in its terms and conditions: “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).“
I wrote this article about what happens if you try to request this – it isn’t pretty. Legally, however, you should be able to enforce Amex, kicking and screaming, to do it.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
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 credit cards 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.