Beginning in January, American Express is going to start withholding miles and points earned by cardmembers of co-branded Delta, JetBlue, Hilton and Starwood AMEX cards if you don’t pay your bill by the due date. Late payers will be charged a $29 reinstatement fee if you want your miles or points to be credited to your account. This new fee is in addition to the $19 or $38 late payment fee and a higher penalty interest rate, which is a hefty 27 percent right now. Currently, cardmembers of AMEX co-branded loyalty cards still receive their points or miles even if they are late making a payment.
AMEX spokesperson Mona Hamouly said this policy isn’t new for charge cards, it’s only new for the loyalty co-brand cards. She said AMEX made this change to align with the policy they have with all of the other cards they issue. “We’ve had this policy in place for several years for our charge cards as well as our lending cards. Over the past few months we’ve been working to bring card policies into alignment. Since 1998, we’ve had this policy in place for our charge cards.”
Bottom line: Pay your bill on time. If the higher interest rate and late payment fee weren’t enough of a deterrent, now you’ll have to pay a fee to get your miles or points as well.