Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
Today there have been two blows dealt to the Amex Membership Rewards program that are worth highlighting, though I don’t think either will likely have a tangible impact my family, or many of yours.
American Express is dropping the annual 15,000 Membership Rewards point bonus on the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card that is triggered after $30,000 in annual spending and it will be completely unavailable for 2015. That is on the surface obviously bad news for those who were putting $30,000 a year on that card, but the reason cited for dropping the perk is that the majority of cardholders didn’t put that much spending on the card, and thus weren’t benefiting. I believe that 100% to be the case, even in the miles and points world, since that is a whole lot of spending on one card. Of course some people did spend that much on the card and for them the loss of that benefit is a blow to a card that comes with a $175 annual fee ($0 introductory annual fee the first year).
The Premier Rewards Gold Card does award 3x on airfare and 2x on gas and groceries in the US. The 3x on airfare is a high compared to other similar products, but the 2x on gas and groceries can be beat for many by the lower annual fee Amex EveryDaySM Preferred Credit Card from American Express, especially if you have 30 transactions a month on the card to trigger the 50% points bonus.
Losing the 15k annual point bonus makes me hopeful that the Premier Rewards Gold card will undergo a benefits revamp that might end up being even better for those of us who aren’t going to be able to spend $30,000 each year on that one card. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I learn more.
Delta Limiting Amex Membership Rewards and Other Program Transfers Into SkyMiles effective January 1st to 250,000 miles per calendar year out of each Membership Rewards account. There are presently no limits on transfers from Membership Rewards other than the max daily transfer of 999,000 per day to a single SkyMiles account…and call me if you have so many points to transfer that the 999k per day max is an issue!
Beginning January 1, 2015, the maximum number of Membership Rewards® points you will be able to transfer out of a single Membership Rewards account to one or more SkyMiles accounts will be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year. Additionally, the maximum number of Membership Rewards points you will be able to transfer into a single SkyMiles account will also be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year.
You are able to transfer Membership Rewards points to a SkyMiles account without any annual limitations through December 31, 2014.
Just like with the Premier Rewards Gold annual points bonus issue, this is bad, but honestly isn’t likely to impact many of us who just focus on earning points via everyday activities. It takes quite a bit to rack up 250k Membership Reward points each year, much less that many each year just to transfer to Delta. I would assume the biggest losers would here to be those with businesses that rack up points at a much quicker pace than most families.
The only caveat to that would be those who have been savings up Membership Reward points for years with a goal in mind such as redeeming Delta SkyMiles via partner Virgin Australia for business class tickets to Australia (as that availability is very decent compared to other alternatives). Each business class round trip ticket would go for 160,000 miles, so the 250k cap annual cap doesn’t even allow you to transfer enough points for two business class tickets, much less a whole family’s worth.
Of course, that’s only an issue if you have more than 250,000 points to transfer out of one Membership Rewards account in the first place, which most of us do not. I certainly do not. If you earn tons and tons of points and want to be able to use them via SkyMiles, then I would advise looking into a Delta co-branded card before January 1st since there are no limits on those, and then transfer from the Membership Rewards program into SkyMiles to your heart’s content until 2015. Thanks to View From the Wing for highlighting this change.
Will either of these changes impact the way your family earns and uses Membership Reward points?