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Is the American Express Green card a viable alternative to cancelling an Amex Gold?

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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.

The home page for that card is here.

Amex Green

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

close your account, transfer your Membership Rewards points to a partner within 30 days, restart the 6-month clock on being able to apply for another Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum card

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? – August 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

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

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 offers:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (38)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Gavin says:

    What about the gold credit card option? I applied for this when I held my gold charge card (gaining the bonus points) and had the reward points linked to that cards account. I have now just cancelled the gold charge card. The gold credit card has no annual fee, and collects reward points.

    • Rob says:

      Recent reports from readers say that Amex is no longer issuing the Gold credit card to speculative applicants who use the HFP link. They are now insisting you must have been targetted for an invite.

      In any case, the rules of Gold credit state that it must be cancelled if you cancel Gold charge. Some agents do not understand this, however, and let you cancel Gold charge without cancelling your Gold credit.

      • opal says:

        I cancelled Gold charge card 5 days ago and agent insisted I keep Gold credit card at least until the aniversary: “It’s free until April, you’ll keep rewards points and you can even earn some more”.

        My question is now: Do I count 6 months from the date of Charge card cancellation or Credit card’s? They both were linked to the same Rewards points account.

      • Gavin says:

        Just over a week ago I cancelled my gold charge card. The CS rep said I would lose my reward points when I asked to cancel. But told her the points were linked to my gold credit card and she told me that was fine. Do I need to get this I writing? Will my gold credit card just be cancelled within 30 days and my points disappear?

        • Rob says:

          Just keep an eye on your Gold credit card online – as long as it doesn’t suddenly get marked cancelled you’re fine. You have 30 days to empty your MR account anyway so there is no real risk. Perhaps use the credit card for a purchase so Amex can’t actually close it without telling you as there would be money outstanding?

  • JQ says:

    Had a weird experience recently when cancelling my latest Gold.

    The phone agent (UK) didn’t seem to understand what I wanted, but then told me to cut up the card, and call again after the next statement, so I thought everything was ok. There was no mention of the Gold credit card or anything like that.

    After 1 month, there was no statement or fee refund, so I used the secure message centre (India) who said that it hadn’t been cancelled after all, but they agreed to refund an extra amount roughly equal to the extra month’s fee that I had been charged. In the future I will be cancelling cards by secure message.

    • Dynamo says:

      Whereabouts on the Amex account website is the secure message option?

      • Worzel says:

        Once into your account scroll to bottom of page. Company Information/Contact us-new page appears showing ’email us securely’ .
        There may be other ways of doing the same.

    • CV3V says:

      I tried to cancel a card by secure message and got a response saying it wasn’t possible and that I must phone!

      • Jason says:

        I’ve cancelled my wife’s card( SPG AMEX), via secure message, on Friday morning. She’s had a response but I haven’t checked it yet:(

        • Jason says:

          the secure message reply asks he to call customer services 🙁

          • Waribai says:

            The trick here is to reply back saying you have no time to phone. They will cancel it for you.

    • The_Real_A says:

      Not sure this would work for all, Im sure they would want to put you through retentions process first 🙂

      • Danny says:

        I always sent a letter and received confirmation within a week or so, avoiding those long and unnessary conversations

  • Joe says:

    Are you sure you have to pay the £24 MR fee? I used to have this card and never had to pay it. I know the T&Cs mention the fee for the green charge card, but confusingly this card is actually called The American Express card. I think they used to market the card as The Green Card but without the extended warranty and with the £24 MR fee, which is why that language still exists in the terms. (It has been a few years since I had the card though – I cancelled it when AMEX refused to help with a merchant dispute on the grounds it was a charge card not a credit card!)

    • Rob says:

      I have a Green IDC Amex and I do pay an annual fee for MR on that.

      • Olly says:

        You definitely don’t pay the MR fee on this card, it’s included in the £60 a year. As Joe said, that fee applies to an older Green card that has a lower annual fee.

  • Reney says:

    FYI just got an email from AMEx for £250 statement credit if spend £3000 (!) online at the Apple Store. I won’t be using it. I don’t have a link just an email.

    • Ant says:

      So far it is only by invitation. I received an email for one out of 10 cards.

      Also a Laithwaite’s offer 12 bottles for £60 appeared this morning on my account for 4 out of 10 cards we hold. Not sure the process to use this one- I guess only for specific wines but it is not clear which wines.

      • harry says:

        They seem to have screwed up the ‘redeem this now’ bit, so currently I can’t see the wines. Unlikely to be better value than going in to Laithwaites via BAEC/ Avios.com

        [avios.com

        Save over £50 on selected 12-bottle cases of wine.

        As well as offering you cases of wine reduced from £102.88 to as little as £52.68, we’ll also throw in free delivery and a free bottle of Montecampo Prosecco (normally £10.99). Offer ends 31 December 2015.

        New customers also receive 1,000 Avios. Existing customers receive 250 Avios.]

        • AndyGWP says:

          Do you know if Laithwaites (in general) are one of those “mandated / club / recurring subscription” wine sites?

          • Rob says:

            Yes, they do operate some clubs, in whole or in part, on this model.

          • harry says:

            Though Laithwaites are actually very nice about the whole cancellation business, actually the gals on the phone are the nicest girls in the world & you will wish one of them is your girlfriend before you cancel your membership.

            They’re gorgeous!

  • Andy says:

    The green card also comes with extended warranty on all purchases – something that the platinum does not, which i discovered to my astonishment the other week when my mac developed a fault just out of warranty (mac was bought in the US so no EU consumer law protection either…)

  • mark2 says:

    Sometimes!

  • Simon says:

    OT – Amex offer at net a porter – spend £500, get £150 statement credit….. Could I buy £500 of gift vouchers to use at a later date? would Amex even know I had done this, or just apply the credit to my account?

  • Rob says:

    Well spotted.

    Unfortunately I vomited all over my nice Nigel Hall sweater when I read ““Our Platinum Card Members count on us to elevate their travel experience from the time they book their trip until they return home,” said Lisa Durocher, senior vice president, Charge and Benefits for American Express”.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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