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.
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?