Live: New Amex Restrictions On Authorized User Points Transfers

Filed Under: American Express
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Amex Membership Rewards is one of the major transferrable points currencies, and I find the points to be incredibly valuable. This post is a reminder of a new rule that’s kicking in for their points today, which was initially announced back in June.

Each of the major points currencies has different restrictions regarding combining points between accounts, which frequent flyer account you can transfer your points to, etc.

Amex’s Previous Restrictions On Points Transfers

Prior to now, Amex’s policy for Membership Rewards has been as follows:

  • You can pool the Membership Rewards points earned across all of your own cards (this is done simply by having a single online ID)
  • You can’t transfer your Membership Rewards points to someone else’s Membership Rewards account
  • You can transfer your Membership Rewards points to a partner airline or hotel program, but only if it’s in the name of the primary card member or an authorized user

One of the major reasons these types of rules are in place is to prevent people from buying and selling points. Well, Amex will be adding a new restriction that will make it more difficult for some people to transfer points.

Earn Membership Rewards points

Amex’s New Authorized User Restriction

As of today (September 1, 2019), you’ll only be able to transfer Amex points to the airline or hotel loyalty program account of an authorized user if they’ve been an authorized user for at least 90 days. Here’s how Amex describes what they’re changing:

We are changing the Membership Rewards Terms and Conditions to provide that an Additional Card must be issued to an Additional Card Member at least 90 days prior to linking your Membership Rewards program account to that Additional Card Member’s frequent customer program account.

Why Is Amex Adding This 90 Day Restriction?

I totally see why American Express is making this change. Some Amex Membership Rewards cards let you add authorized users at no cost. So I’m guessing that some people may have added authorized users purely to be able to transfer points to their frequent flyer account, and they then removed them. That’s not in the spirit of what they were trying to do.

By adding a 90 day waiting period they’re largely preventing that, and frankly I think that’s perfectly fair. This is all the more reason to add authorized users earlier rather than later, which is a very simple process, and allows them access to all sorts of additional benefits.

New Amex Rule Summary

As of today you’ll only be able to transfer Membership Rewards points to the frequent flyer account of an authorized user if they’ve been on your account for at least 90 days.

This rule is clearly intended to ensure people are transferring points in the spirit intended, and it’s a reason you may want to add authorized users to your card sooner rather than later, if a points transfer like this could be valuable at some point in the future.

Will you be impacted by Amex’s new 90 day restriction on authorized user transfers?

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  1. If you sell to one or two brokers no big deal. Add them and whenever you need to transfer you have them lined up already.

  2. Just requested authorized user (me) on hubby’s AmEx everyday card to transfer his points to my Airlines. Ain’t love grand! Happy Pride Month

  3. I have my family as authorized users one of my Amex cards for this exact reason. My dad earned Air France silver status, so I needed to add Flying Blue miles to his account so I can use his account to book myself Air France F tickets. It was a huge waste of pts, even with the Flying Blue transfer bonus, but it was just to check out the experience.

  4. I wish Amex would just let family members pool points together like Chase does w/o having to add them as AUs.

  5. Interesting that while Hyatt, Hilton, Marriott, & Chase make pooling easier over time, AMEX is moving in the opposite direction.

  6. Thanks for sharing such important information with us. I am also an American Express user so it would affect me and my business.

  7. So basically some idiots abused the system badly enough to cause a rule to be enacted. Reminds me of BOA Alaska card and bow tie.

  8. AUs on SOME Amex cards comes with an annual fee.

    Fortunately, I have two Amex cards (Gold personal, and Blue Business Plus) that do not charge an annual fee for AUs. So I can add my spouse to be able to combine our points when transferring to airline programs. So far, so good.

    But there are two other ways this can have a negative impact on you:
    credit pulls, and incrementing your Chase n/24 number…

    Won’t Amex do a hard pull for this?
    And adding an AU to a personal card will make your Chase n/24 number increase, no?

    I have an Amex Blue Business Plus card, so I assume I should pick that one to get an AU card for my spouse, since as a business card, it should not increment her Chase number…right?

  9. Does this change affect the MR earning Amex business card also, meaning that a newly issued employee card must also wait 90 days before he/she can receive transfer of miles on his/her FF account?

  10. I’m wondering if this affects employee cards as well.

    For that matter, can I even xfer MR to an employee card holder’s FF program? Wondering if it works the same as AUs.

  11. @docntx – I think I actually am free of sin here. I don’t churn cards, have never even thought of the subject of this post, and think that some huge holes in the system should not be advertised. I’m no better than anyone else, and I certainly search for value in any program, but extreme abuse hurts everybody.

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