Can you keep your Membership Rewards points when cancelling an American Express Gold or Platinum card?
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 10,000 Membership Rewards points (read my American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here). Platinum comes with a sign-up bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points (read my American Express 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 £48 for The Platinum Card. 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 American Express Membership Rewards 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.
Can you keep your Membership Rewards points when cancelling an American Express card?
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:
You can apply for the little-known American Express Rewards Credit Card. Full details are here.
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 used to be three versions of this card, but in Autumn 2019 they were consolidated to jut one.
The version which remains has 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 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 Green, 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.
The only ‘snag’ is that you will not have reset the 24 month clock on being able to reapply for a new Gold or Platinum card 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 FREE American Express Rewards Credit Card here.
PS. If you have the free version of the British Airways American Express credit card but do not spend £20,000 on it generate the 2-4-1 voucher, you should dump it. This card is better for you. This HFP article explains why the Amex Rewards Credit Card is better than the free British Airways American Express card.
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.