Updated 10/7/2020 at 12pm PT: El Al Israel Airlines just sent out this email to their members letting them know that their American Express Membership Rewards partnership is ending on December 31, 2020. A screenshot of the email is included below.
Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is going well. 2 months ago, I wrote Changes to American Express Credit Card Terms (Bye Ameriprise, Third Party Purchases, Foreign Currency & Cash Advances). Like clockwork, American Express likes to make regular monthly updates to their credit card terms. I was reviewing my recent American Express credit card statements this morning and spotted a few changes that I thought you might like to know about. Some of these changes raise some questions or do not provide exact answers, but I will do my best to decipher and interpret the changes. If you have differing thoughts / opinions about how to interpret these changes, please let me know in the comments section.
To get started, I reviewed all the recent credit card statements on all my AMEX cards and decided to use screenshots from my American Express Gold Card since it covered all the changes. Most of these changes affect several other AMEX cards. Here is a brief overview of the upcoming changes (AMEX Send Account, cash advances & additional card annual membership fees), but I will go into more detail on subsequent screenshots.
Effective October 15, 2020, the person-to-person transaction section will mention “AMEX Send Account.” I have never heard of this account and couldn’t find any information about this account. This might be a new feature that American Express will announce / rollout over the next 11 days. As a reminder, American Express does not pay out rewards for person-to-person transactions, so whatever this new AMEX Send Account is, you will not earn rewards on those transactions.
Effective January 15, 2021, the definition of a cash advance will now include “precious metal coins or bullion.” My only guess is that this is related to the recent US Mint coin deal for a $3,000 palladium coin. Maybe American Express doesn’t want to pay out rewards for these types of purchases. Also, in case you were surprised to see “digital precious metals products,” that was added by American Express in their last round of changes (effective November 1, 2020).
Effective immediately, there is a new change to the way annual membership fees apply to groups of addition cards on your account. This brings to mind the American Express Platinum Card where AMEX charges $175 to add 1-3 authorized users (AUs) onto your card. Apparently if you “cancel the first or oldest Additional Card,” then something happens. AMEX did not provide any details on what would happen if you cancel the first or oldest AU card. Any guesses?
This next section talks about using AMEX Membership Rewards Points, El Al Israel Airlines, and 4 additional points. Let’s dig in…
Effective immediately, you no longer need a minimum of 1,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Points to use points, apparently there are redemption options available for less than 1,000 points. I can’t image these redemption options are very useful, but if you see any, please let me know.
Effective January 1, 2021, you will no longer be able to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to El Al Israel Airlines. I guess that means the AMEX and El Al Israel Airlines partnership is ending on December 31, 2020. This is news to me, but I have never transferred AMEX Membership Rewards Points to El Al Israel Airlines before.
Update: El Al Israel Airlines just sent out this email to their members letting them know that their American Express Membership Rewards partnership is ending on December 31, 2020.
Last but not least, effective January 1, 2021, the personal AMEX Plat cards will earn 5x on airfare purchases (up to $500,000 spend) when booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel. Similarly, all personal AMEX Plat cards will earn 5x on hotel purchases (no cap) when booked on amextravel.com. I only have the AMEX Biz Plat and there is no similar 5x earning opportunity announced yet, but there are still 3 months to go before this new earning option goes live, so there is still time for the AMEX Biz Plat to get those same earning benefits.
If you have any questions about any of these changes, please leave a comment below. Have a great weekend everyone!