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Million Mile Secrets reader Ankur tweeted:
I’m closing The Platinum Card® from American Express. To keep my points, would it help to be an authorized user on my wife’s AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express? Or do I need my own Membership Rewards card to keep the points?
Thanks for the question, Ankur!
You WILL lose your points if you don’t keep at least 1 card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points. And you can NOT transfer American Express Membership Rewards points from your account to your spouse’s account. But there’s a way around this rule!
I’ll show you how to guarantee you won’t lose your hard-earned points when you cancel an American Express card.
3 Ways to Keep Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points
If you cancel co-branded credit cards like the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, you will NOT lose the miles or points you have earned. That’s because your points and miles automatically deposit into each corresponding loyalty account every month.
But the rules are different for points that are issued by banks. Examples of these kinds of points are:
There are a few ways to make sure you don’t forfeit your AMEX Membership Rewards points when you cancel your card.
1. Transfer Points to Airlines or Hotels
Before cancelling, consider transferring your AMEX Membership Rewards points to one of your frequent flyer or hotel accounts.
You can even add your spouse or anyone else as an authorized user and then transfer your points to THEIR frequent flyer or hotel account! It’s easy to add an authorized user to your AMEX card online or by calling the number on the back of your card.
Think about your travel plans before you transfer your points to a loyalty account. Because once you transfer your points to an airline or hotel, you can’t reverse your decision!
If you have NO travel plans in mind, it’s a good idea to transfer your points to an airline you can easily see yourself using, like British Airways. You can use British Airways Avios points to fly for cheap around the US on partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
Note: Some cards will charge you for adding an authorized user, and the American Express Platinum card is one of them! So make sure you read the fine print.
2. Apply for A No-Fee Membership Rewards Earning Card Before Cancelling
Another great strategy to keep your points is to apply for a different credit card with no annual fee that earns AMEX Membership Rewards points, like the AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express.
- 2 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year; then 1x
- 1 AMEX Membership Rewards point per $1 on other purchases
- Terms and Limitations Apply
And, if you use the card to make 20 or more purchases within a billing cycle, you will earn an extra 20% Membership Rewards points, less returns and credits. There is no minimum transaction amount for any of those 20 purchases.
You can also apply for cards that waive the annual fee for the first year, like the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.
But remember, you will NOT earn the welcome bonus if you have received it before. Because American Express restricts their welcome bonuses to once per lifetime.
Note: Some Membership Rewards-earning credit cards, like The Blue for Business® Credit Card, will keep your points from expiring, but will NOT allow you to transfer them to airlines or hotels. Only certain AMEX cards allow points transfers, including:
3. Downgrade to Charge Card With Lower Annual Fee
You can also downgrade the American Express Platinum card to a different card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points. This will prevent your credit score from taking a hit after cancelling a card! But there’s a catch.
The American Express Platinum card is a charge card, which is different from a credit card. Ankur will only be able to downgrade to another charge card, like the Premier Rewards Gold card, which will bring the annual fee down to $195.
These cards come with the annual fee waived for the first year. But folks on Reddit report that your annual fee will NOT be waived by American Express when you downgrade.
The American Express Platinum card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee! If you decide to cancel your card, you WILL lose your points if you don’t keep at least 1 card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points.
But there are simple workarounds to keeping your points if you don’t want to pay the annual fee:
- Transfer your points to a loyalty program
- Apply for a Membership Rewards earning card with no annual fee before cancelling
- Downgrade to a card with a lower annual fee.
Have you used one of these methods to keep your AMEX Membership Rewards points?