Membership Rewards Members: Beware the Ides of March

Membership Rewards Members: Beware the Ides of March

In a move sure to raise the hackles of a few Membership Rewards members, American Express Membership Rewards has announced program changes to take place on March 15.

An email sent to members at the end of December begins with the following paragraph full of red flags all too familiar to loyalty program members:

“It has been more than 5 years since we have made significant changes to the terms and conditions of the Membership Rewards program. We have recently reassessed our program policies and have made a number of changes.”


Without further ado, the changes:

  • The fee to reinstate points forfeited for late payment will increase to $29 for each month of points reinstated.
  • For card members who cancel their Membership Rewards enrollment (or all cards enrolled in the program) but still have one card account open, the time period to redeem accrued points will change from six months to 30 days.
  • For each Corporate card linked to a Membership Rewards account with another enrolled charge card, the additional annual program fee will increase to $35.
  • For each transfer of points into the frequent flyer program of a U.S. airline, a fee of $0.0004 per point, with a maximum fee of $50, will be charged to your card account.

    Reality check: Competitor Diners Club Rewards introduced a similar more expensive fee more than a year ago and if you were to transfer 15,000 points to your SkyMiles account from Membership Rewards, the total fee would be $6 to the government.

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