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

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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 credit 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.

Since late 2017, there has been a 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

We very rarely write about it on HFP, however, so I thought I would run through it again today.  This card is the answer:

Amex Rewards Credit Card

You can apply for the little-known American Express Rewards Credit Card.

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

For simplicity, I will occasionally refer to this card as ARCC as ‘American Express Rewards Credit Card’ is a  bit of a mouthful.

What is the American Express Rewards Credit Card?

ARCC 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 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 or credit 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).

Tomorrow I will look at why, for many people, this card is a better choice than the free British Airways American Express card.

(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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Comments

  1. Would this card work if I am waiting for 10000 points to come at the end of my year with the gold charge card. My year end is January and I’ve reached the target spend or do I need to keep the card open until the points post? Thanks

    • IIRC you need to have the gold account open until your next renewal. Then wait up to 60 daya for it to post. Then close down otherwise you will lose 10k MR points

    • Need to keep Gold open until 4 weeks after renewal as the bonus arrives then.

    • You need to keep your Gold until you receive your 10,000 points and then close your Gold.

      Open this free card before you close the Gold to retain your MRP account and balance you have accrued.

  2. Andrew S says:

    Is it possible to obtain the basic international currency card (the free one), pay for the $30p.a. Membership rewards fee, transfer existing points to this account, then cancel the UK Membership rewards card (platinum charge, gold credit card etc) to reset the 6 month clock?

    • Yes, works on paper – except that you need an existing Amex card to get ICC so would that be cancelled if you no longer held any other cards?

      • Good spot Andrew S! I’d be happy to bung a bit of money amex’s way to keep them live and free up my churning process again.

        Robert, is there a specific dept at Brighton who deals with this do you know or can you call anyone and wait till you get someone who knows how it works. Thanks

      • Thanks Rob.

      • You can cancel all your cards and keep your ICC, i churn on my UK cards and transfer everything across to my platinum ICC once a year. The two are handled as separate entities, and as far as i can tell the pre-existing relationship is due to the fact that if you live abroad (i do) there’s little recourse for amex in case of default.

        • That’s interesting Jack and very helpful.

          Whilst you’re on can i pick your brain as I see that one can have a supp on the card. Do you know if it’s possible to effectively pool MR points i.e. the supp transfers their UK points over to their supp ICC card so the points end up in the main card holder’s account? Thanks

        • Genghis says:

          Points never belong to a supp.

  3. Wasn’t there an article a few months ago about the new Amex Gold Credit Card, and can you switch from Gold Charge to Gold Credit at the end of year 1 to a) keep points alive, and b) get another free year (of Gold Credit)? Thanks.

    • Yes you can do that too if you are still on charge.

      • Bugger never knew this! Just cancelled my gold charge card last week and all I’ve had after endless calls is do want to pay a monthly fee instead of the £140 renewal fee….also in my experience in the past week what the hell has happened at Amex? The calls have been answered by people who barely speak English and are beyond useless. It’s took me a week and numeorous calls to get both my wife and I new gold card on our on line profile as it wouldn’t work manually. Come back Brighton!

        • If you call and it isn’t Brighton just hang up and try again.

          Or better, explain first why you are doing so, and perhaps eventually the feedback will get to the management and force a review.

      • youngtraveller says:

        Hey I am thinking of doing this, should I wait for the bonus points to come after my first year (november 2018) then apply for the credit card. or should i go ahead and apply for the gold credit card now then when my points come cancel my charge card? Will I be able to keep both cards or will my charge card get cancelled when they issue the credit card? Hopefully I didn’t confuse anyone reading this. thanks for answering in advance.

  4. Vistaro says:

    Hi

    An “Amex beginners” question if I may.

    I hold the Platinum card if I now get the free (for the first year) Rewards Gold card do I get a second rewards account or do all the points for both cards accumulate in one pot?

    Thanks.

    • One pot

      • Andrew S says:

        Same happened to me when I got the gold companion credit card after my gold charge card. I just had Amex combine the accounts.

      • You could try and create a separate online account when you sign up for the card, but not sure if that does anything to force them to be separate. I had my Gold card on a different login to my BA card and my wife was forced down this route when she signed up for her first card in Married name but hadn’t changed the name on her existing cards.

      • Guesswho2000 says:

        Same has happened to me before, ended up with three separate MR accounts between Gold, Platinum charge cards and the Gold credit (ARCC this article refers to, back when it was Gold – mine still is, although the picture in online services is the blue and white atrocity above).

        They can merge the accounts if you ask them.

  5. If I have the green Amex card which costs £60 per year, can I apply for other cards such as Gold and still collect the bonus?

  6. O/T I have just completed my 5 referrals on platinum and looking to cancel my card. After 6 months I believe I can receive the bonus by re-applying, can I also start the referral cycle or do I need to wait one year?

    • The streets says:

      Your 5 referrals will reset either after six months with a new card or on 01 Jan with the same card

  7. menachem says:

    does anyone please have the upgrade link from gold charge to platinum card ?

  8. I had a gold charge card and took out the accompanying credit card at the time. I then upgraded to plat and subsequently canceled that plat card. This was a few weeks ago. I asked for the points to be moved onto my gold credit card which seems to have happened. Does this work long-term? As far as I’m aware there is no fee for my gold credit card (the old one that accompanied the charge card, not the new one that replaced it). They did say that the points stay alive anyway for 30 day’s following cancellation of the plat so I just want to check that they will actually stay alive indefinitely now that I’ve transferred onto my gold credit card, and won’t disappear soon when the 30 day period following cancellation of my plat card expires. Thanks

    • James walker says:

      When you upgrade from PRG charge > platinum and have the gold companion, what happens to the told companion? Should you cancel the companion card when upgrading so you’re eligible for the 5000 points for applying for the platinum companion on the platinum charge?

      • Andrew S says:

        You keep the companion credit card (unless you cancel it).

        When I upgraded to the Platinum card I didn’t cancel the gold companion credit card until a few months after the upgrade. It remained as the gold companion card. I finally cancelled it then subsequently applied for the Platinum companion card (when the link came up on my online account), and still got the 5,000 point bonus.

        • I’ve just upgraded from GOLD Charge to PLAT (20k for bonus for spending 1k upgrade deal), my partner had a GOLD companion, and was automatically given a PLAT companion card… so far no 5k bonus.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Automatic change won’t trigger the bonus. Either cancel it and wait a bit before reapplying or order a gold supp for someone else

  9. Moving points to ARCC is nuts in my view.

    Surely once you’ve earned your sign-up bonus you should cash points out, cancel the card, and start the clock ticking on the 6 month wait before you can reapply? Having an ARCC means you can’t start that 6 month “no MR-earning card” wait.

    It’s not as though any of us are seriously waiting for a Amex MR > BA Avios transfer bonus, is it?

    • Rob is hardly going to promote card churning in his lead articles now is he?

      On the few occasions he has recently promoted a slightly dodgy benefit, it’s rapidly disappeared.

      Even when he promoted a well known and not dodgy benefit (the Hilton card free night) it disappeared shortly after.

      Victim of his own success!

      • I think the whole point of the article is to highlight another option that may suit certain individuals. If you have no need to transfer the points immediately then you don’t have to, you can get 18 months of 0% spending and collecting MR points and can churn the co-branded cards too if you want sign-up bonuses in the meantime.

      • Guesswho2000 says:

        In fairness, the Hilton free night was hardly a hush hush affair, and it was around for several years even with HfP promoting it!

    • No, but then those of us with a decent sized MR pot value their flexibility where they are.

      I could transfer into any partner and since I have sufficient for a redemption with any of thrm, it really does mean I could have my pick of airline.

      If I move them now I’m lumped with BA. Plus I already have plenty of Avois through the BAPP.

      Keeping ones powder dry as it were makes sense. More valuable than a few extra points and damaged relationship with Amex from churning constantly…

  10. If you have a corporate amex and an associated MR account you can transfer your points there when you close your personal Amex. That restarts the clock, and you can then collect the bonus on a new personal card 6 months later having kept your MR points.

    • Hi Ron, I have the Gold Business Card, and no other MR card, but have always been led to believe you would not be eligible for the sign-up bonus if you hold any Amex MR card. Are you saying I could get the signup bonus if applying for a personal gold/platinum card? Thanks

      • I asked an Amex rep about this at a recent trade show (they were trying to flog their business card). They were very clear that I wouldn’t get the bonus as I had a personal card already.

        • Did they have a spinny wheel game with prizes?! That’s what they rig up at the Business Travel Show.

      • Corporate card != business card

        • You WON’T. Amex occasionally makes mistakes, and if you want a personal card anyway then obviously there is nothing to lose, but the rules are simple. You already have a MR account and so don’t qualify for any bonus.

  11. FlyUpTop says:

    OT:
    My Oct SPG Amex monthly points transfer have hit my account today, anyone had September’s credited yet?

    • Andrew S says:

      I’m waiting on Sept to come through. August came through over the weekend

      • Same, got August, waiting on Sep

        • Ha, Ive had September’s but not August’s

        • I got September’s; not August’s.

          Tried to make a complaint via Live Chat and was told that they would manually push the missing points and I should have them within 7-10 days.

  12. Nichola says:

    O/T: has anyone recently received the upgrade bonus from upgrading the gold charge to plat? How long did it take to credit the bonus to your account? I can’t see any mention of it on the app. I’ve reached the spend and the referrals so hoping to cancel it as soon as possible

    • Yes a few days ago, bonus posted with the points of the transaction that took me over the spend target

    • RakishDriver says:

      I never saw the tracker on my app, but if you spend the 1k, it will hit after a few days.

  13. OT: Amex BA free card – not showing any bonus for taking out a supplementary. Does anyone gave any experience of receiving one anyway? Heard of bonus for adding another card on BAPP.

    Thanks

    • Ditto on BAPP. Got new card and added supp. nothing showing though. Nor is there a counter to hit the £3k for 26k sign up bonus?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Got 3k a couple days ago. But has to be added after account is open and not with the application

    • I got the 3000 bonus MR points for adding a supplementary to my gold recently even though they didn’t promote it to me. BA blue is 1000 avios iirc

    • Peter K says:

      Last month got 1000 avios for supplementary on free BA card. Added it a week or so after received the main card.

  14. Hi
    Does anyone know what information Amex require when chasing on a bonus from a referral?Referee details,I suppose,email address,etc.

  15. Any experience anyone lately,bonus not received for a referral from Platinum to free BA Amex?

  16. Adam Heeroo says:

    OT: Has anyone had any luck with Curve increasing their limits? I hit the 10K annual limit quickly and now the card is useless. Seems very odd (they keep refusing to raise this) if they are targeting business customers??

    • the_real_a says:

      £50k is the maximum limit on the debit version. It seems Curve like you to have several months of usage before they upgrade, however with the current customer service debacle and “copy and paste” answers to everything i would suggest you leave it in a drawer until they get more organised. Maybe tweet them and you may get through to someone with common sense.

  17. js54156 says:

    OT — does anyone know when Amex cards are again supported on Curve?

  18. DaveWinch says:

    OT – but are we due a Qatar Sale anytime soon? Seem to remember that they had them in October past few years..

  19. I thought the 6 month rule had been scrapped now ?! I was under the impression it was one batch of MR bonus points (per card) in your lifetime now. Is this right ?!

  20. Jumble Tales says:

    If I want to cancel Amex Gold Charge at its anniversary and want to retain the MR points, but already have two other Amex credit cards open (as do many HfP readers) , surely Amex wouldn’t allow another (third) credit card application even if the charge card was cancelled.

    • Until recently I had one charge and three credit, but I’ve heard of some people having two charge and three credit.

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