One of the downsides of cancelling an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card 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 10,000 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 Flying Club 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 £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 cards
You could apply for the little-known American Express Rewards Credit Card.
This card has NO ANNUAL FEE and lets you collect Membership Rewards points.
Unfortunately, the American Express Rewards Credit Card has just become a little less attractive. Two of the three variants were closed last night.
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 WERE three versions of the card available:
a low interest rate version
a ‘0% interest on purchases’ version, and
a ‘standard’ version with the usual 22.9% interest rate and without a 0% offer on purchases
You can probably guess which two versions have been closed down. Yes …. the one with the 9.9% interest rate and the one which offered 0% interest on purchases.
The one version which remains is the ‘standard’ one with a 5,000 Membership Rewards points bonus and a representative APR of 22.9% variable (click here). You need to spend £2,000 within three months to receive the bonus.
It is unlikely that many (any?!) Head for Points readers will qualify for the bonus because you cannot have held any personal American Express card in the previous 24 months.
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 one remaining variant of the American Express 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.
The only ‘snag’ is that you will not have reset the 24 month clock on being able to reapply for any other personal American Express card (with the exception of British Airways Premium Plus) 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 remaining version of the American Express Rewards credit card here.
Tomorrow I will remind you why, for many people, this card is a better choice than the free British Airways American Express card.
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.