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Thinking of cancelling your American Express Gold or Platinum card?

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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. If you don’t, your points will be lost.

However ….. is there a free way to keep your Membership Rewards points alive when cancelling an American Express Gold or Platinum card?

Yes.  (OK, you probably guessed I was going to say that!)

Thinking of cancelling your American Express Gold or Platinum card?

This article was updated on 1st February 2021, and all of the information is correct as of that date. Ignore the original publication date shown.

You shouldn’t transfer Membership Rewards points until you are about to book

Having to close your Membership Rewards points account can lead to a dilemma over when to cancel your Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum card.  

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

This card is the answer:

You can apply for the little-known American Express Rewards Credit CardFull details are on the American Express 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.  Here are the headline details and legally required interest rate information:

Amex Reward Credit Card ARCC

American Express Rewards

Read our full reviewApply here

Other information:

  • Your best choice if you want a ‘free for life’ card which earns Membership Rewards points
  • A good choice if you want to close a Gold or Platinum card but keep your points intact
  • Annual fee: Free

Representative 22.2% APR variable

See if you qualify for the 10,000 points sign-up bonus +

You will receive 5,000 American Express Membership Rewards points as a sign-up bonus on the American Express Rewards card if you spend £2,000 within 90 days of signing up.

Membership Rewards points are hugely flexible. You can transfer them into Avios, Virgin Flying Club or other airlines (at 1:1) or into various hotels schemes, into Club Eurostar or use them for shopping vouchers.

To qualify for the bonus, you must NOT, currently or in the previous 24 months, have held any other personal American Express card.

You are OK if you had a supplementary card on someone else’s American Express account.

You are OK if, currently or in the previous 24 months, you have held a Business American Express card.

For clarity, you can still apply for the American Express Rewards card even if you do not qualify for the bonus.  You may want to do this if you are thinking of swapping your Preferred Rewards Gold or Platinum card for a free alternative, and would prefer to keep your existing Membership Rewards points balance alive.

Learn more about the card benefits +

American Express Rewards is the only ‘free for life’ American Express card which lets you collect Membership Rewards points.

We do NOT recommend this card if you would also qualify for the sign-up bonus on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold.  The Gold card is free for the first year, comes with two free airport lounge passes and has a higher sign-up bonus of 10,000 points.

The best reason to get American Express Rewards is if you are coming to the end of your free first year with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, or no longer want to pay the fee on The Platinum Card, but want to keep your Membership Rewards points intact.

It has no annual fee and no substantial benefits, except for the ability to collect Membership Rewards points at 1 point per £1 spent.

It is unlikely that many Head for Points readers will qualify for the 5,000 points sign-up bonus because you cannot have held any Membership Rewards cards in the previous 24 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.

Get the ARCC card if you are planning to cancel Amex Gold or Platinum

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.

Apply for the Amex Rewards Credit Card.  Once it is active, you can cancel your Gold credit card or Platinum charge card safe in the knowledge that your Membership Rewards points are safe.

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.

(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 Card Offers’ 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 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.

Comments (53)

  • Graham Coombes says:

    Reference saving Amex Rewards. I have just redeemed my Gold Amex card rewards to Avios and it had to be in multiples of 500 so I am left with just over 400 reward points. Can I get those rewards across to Avios?

    • Genghis says:

      Spend some more to get to a 500 multiple. Or transfer elsewhere – radisson is good for that. I then used to do nectar but requires a call as the nectar acct had previously been linked to another MR acct and now CBA for a penny or two.

  • Mr EBITDA says:

    From experience, are Amex Offers on the ARCC less generous than gold/plat charge and gold credit?

    • AndyGWP says:

      I think so…. for example I do have the double points promo for Aldi which appeared on my Gold Credit this morning, but it hasn’t appeared on my ARCC (possibly delayed of course, and may appear in a few days)

    • KBuffett says:


    • mr_jetlag says:

      Yes but sometimes you’ll get like for like.

    • Pangolin says:

      Even my offers on Gold where much worse than what I used to get on the Platinum, let alone the ARCC.

  • Jon says:

    I did this but for some reason the 52k points from my Gold card were forfeited.
    It took a few phone calls and I did eventually get them back, but being able to see the new card in your online account isn’t enough for the points to transfer, they need to be ‘linked’ before you cancel.

    • Vit says:

      Not a big fan of AMEX MR point IT as well. It fails to track one of my large expense as part of my £4k spend for platinum upgrade from Green. Took me more than a few phone call now and still ongoing!

      • PH says:

        This – I had an almighty battle with Amex to get the MR points across from my cancelled gold card moved across to this card. Various agents claimed I *should* have forfeited them when closing gold and acted like they were doing me a favour. Whatever the truth, it may not end up being as hassle free a solution as this article implies, and I definitely wouldn’t make the switch if you’ll need access to your MR points within the next 4-6 weeks.

        • Rob says:

          This has never been an issue for me. If you a) register the card to same online Amex account as your other card and b) gave the card number of your existing card during the application process when requested, it should all be merged.

  • Baresi says:

    I am thinking of canceling my Platinum as hit the 4k and received my 30k MR points and downgrading to the Gold, will my MR points be safe?

  • Kev says:

    Potential way to get AMEX Gold for free in the long term?

    If I cancel my Gold after 1 year, wait a couple of months, and then apply for a Gold again, would I get the card for free for another year? Is there a problem doing this ad infinitum?

    • Rob says:

      Seemingly not. But what are the benefits (except for lounge passes) over getting Amex Rewards? OK, you lose double points on flights but that’s it (assuming you use a 0% card for FX spend anyway).

  • J CARD says:

    I still have the free Gold Credit Card, are there differences between it and this ARCC?

    • Rob says:

      Not really, no.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Is it not the same thing? My Gold CC now shows up in my online account as the Rewards CC (picture is the blue on white one now too, was originally the Gold one). The physical card is Gold, but I’d assume it’ll be replaced with the blue on white when it expires (had a 5 year validity, so still has a year or so left).

  • Shaya says:

    Can anyone enlighten me. I always knew that the Amex Business Plat covers even if you didnt pay with the card. And indeed the the insurance doc linked to here in HFP doesnt have that req. However when I spoke to them they said that it does have to be purchased on the card and provided me with this doc is this a new thing. Being a Amex Plat cardholder for over two years it seems unfair that this was sprung unknowingly.

    • guesswho2000 says:

      Looks like the main health/medical/car rental benefit is still there if you don’t pay with the CC. Some of the coverage always required payment with the card, I think. Personal plat has the same exclusion under cancellation/postponement.

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