There’s no loophole too small for American Express to close, so I’m hesitant to talk about what I discovered after closing my American Express Business Green card. However, the same situation happened when closing my American Express Business Gold card last year. If AMEX has known about it this long, they apparently are OK with it because it doesn’t allow you to “game the system.”
Since 2019, if you want to transfer Membership Rewards to an account belonging to someone other than yourself, that person must have been an authorized user on your Membership Rewards earning account for at least 90 days. I added my dad and his wife to my account as authorized users to transfer enough points to their accounts so they could book business class tickets to Asia using ANA. That’s still the best award trip I’ve booked (but our trip to Japan this winter might beat it if we’re able to go).
Over the past two years, I canceled both cards I had added them to as authorized users. Now that I have the AMEX Gold card, I was going to add them back to my account just in case I have to ever transfer some points to their accounts but it looks like that will not be necessary.
When I logged into my American Express Membership Rewards account and went to the “Transfer Points” tab, it lists all the programs linked to your account, and my dad and his wife’s accounts still are there. I went all the way up to completing a transfer and everything worked as expected.
I’m not able to add any new accounts unless they’re mine because I currently have no authorized users on my cards. However, other people’s accounts are still listed even if the cards they were authorized users on have since been canceled.
What harm does this cause? If I had someone as an authorized user on my card for at least 90 days and then linked their loyalty account so I could send them points, my willingness to do that doesn’t change if I cancel a card. If I want to unlink their loyalty account, I can do it at any time with a tap of the screen. Otherwise, I could just never transfer points to them again.
This loophole doesn’t help me if I want to transfer points to a loyalty account that wasn’t already linked before closing the card with the authorized users. There’s no way to add additional plans without adding them to my new card and waiting 90 days.
I guess that means if you have a card with authorized users that you’re planning to close, it might make sense to add all of their loyalty program information to your account in advance if there’s even a chance you’ll ever want to send them points.
Since this feature doesn’t hurt anyone and there’s no way to take advantage of it, I hope it stays. But with AMEX, you never know.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary