American Express Changes to Card Updates, Forex Fees & Annual Fee Refunds

WARNING: this post is about boring changes to American Express card terms and conditions.  You have been warned!

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your weekend is off to a great start.  I have all my credit card statements close at the beginning of the month (I get the bonus points faster and can use them sooner), and I always check to see if there are any changes to the credit card or loyalty program terms.  This is how I discovered that the American Express Membership Reward transfer ratio to British Airways was changing from 1000:1000 to 250:200.  Anyway, I spotted a few changes to all American Express credit/charge/business cards this afternoon.  None of these are as big of a deal as the British Airways transfer, but they still may affect some people.

Change 1: If you have your American Express card on file with a merchant and that card number or the expiration date changes, American Express may (but is not required to) share that change with the merchant to prevent a disruption in your charges.  This could be a positive or negative depending if you want those charges to continue without disruption.

AMEX Terms Conditions Changes 6-4-2016-1

Change 2: If you use your American Express card internationally or make a purchase from a merchant based outside of the US, the charge will be converted by American Express at a “conversion rate that is acceptable to us for that date.”  If you make a purchase from “establishments (such as airlines),” American Express will use the rates they use.  I’m not sure what that means, but since most American Express cards charge forex fees, it’s best not to use American Express cards internationally or for foreign purchases.

AMEX Terms Conditions Changes 6-4-2016-2

Change 3: You now have 30 days from the date the annual fee posts to your statement to close your card and have the annual fee waived.  If you close your account after 30 days, the annual fee will not be waived and you will be responsible for paying the entire annual fee.  No prorated annual fee refund will be given.  As of right now, I believe if you call after 30 days, American Express will issue a prorated refund on the annual fee.  This change goes into effect starting September 1, 2016, unless your billing address is in Massachusetts.  Why no love for all the other states??

AMEX Terms Conditions Changes 6-4-2016-3

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S.  Starting today (June 4, 2016), all restaurant, music, movie, and book purchases will only earn 2x on Citi Forward Credit Cards.  Sad days indeed.

Citi Forward Credit Card Terms Update June 4 FrontP.P.S Luckily, I got a great retention offer on my Citi Forward and several other Citi credit cards.


14 thoughts on “American Express Changes to Card Updates, Forex Fees & Annual Fee Refunds

  1. David Claiborne

    Not to mention, on June 19 American Express’s exclusive deal with Costco ends. Going forward, Costco will accept any Visa card, but not American Express. Apparently the Costco exclusive was 16 percent of American Express’s annual billing.

    Oh, and Sam’s Club only takes Master Card.

      1. Grant

        What?!? Can that Sam’s Club store talk to the Sam’s Club store in Pleasanton/Concord, CA? It doesn’t matter anymore. I moved away from that area and my membership expired a few months ago. But it is still good to know that some Sam’s Club stores accept all credit cards.

  2. Y

    Thanks for the info. Just wondering why setting billing date at the beginning of the month would lead to getting the bonus points faster?

    1. Grant

      It depends what date your statement closes. If your statement closes at the beginning of the month, your points/miles/cash back posts at the beginning of the month. Your bill is usually due 28-30 days later, near the end of the month. I have way too many credit cards, so it’s helpful to me to have all the statements close at the same time.

  3. Josh

    Grant, I have a companion on my bookings so every time I try to “change” it to check on a better fare it errors our on me (see below). Thoughts?

    “We have found a companion itinerary associated with this member. If you have already cancelled the companion itinerary and are still unable to rebook your member itinerary, we may be experiencing a delay. Please allow time for this process to complete and try again. If you continue to encounter issues, please call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (800-435-9792) for assistance. (SW900001-FuELh3NUR-Owg45aDRX_6g)”

    1. Grant

      You need to cancel your companion’s ticket, then wait about 10 minutes, then change the primary reservation. Then you can add back the companion to your reservation. That’s the only way I know how to change companion pass reservations.

  4. desfr dsew

    Thanks for posting this info, boring but useful. I use my AMEX platinum card when traveling to Europe. There are no foreign transaction fees but am I getting ripped off on the exchange rate? and of there a better way?

    1. Grant

      It’s hard to tell. If you make the same purchase at the same time with 2 different cards, you might get 2 different rates. The difference is probably very minimal, but that happens.

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