Fee-Free MR Card?

Discussion in 'American Express | Membership Rewards' started by Ed Chandler, Dec 5, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Hey, all,

    I'm just getting into the MR game. Like the other "bank" programs, I'd like to have a fall-back zero-fee MR-earning card in my drawer that will keep me from losing my accumulated MR when/if I close the other MR-earning cards I have. (Always keep one, right?)

    Anyway, what's the current thinking on the "best" fee-free MR card to keep and why?
    (I figure that ought to spur some discussion that will be of use to more than just me.)

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I Myself have asked this question (not sure if It was here or not) but if I recall the answer was that Amex BLUE was the best. Even though the points from Amex Blue were not transferable ... once you got an Amex Gold/PLT you could combine the points together & then transfer them.

    From the way I remember it, Amex Blue = Ink/freedom; Amex Gold/Plt = CSP/IB
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The Blue card participates in the MR Express program which significantly reduces transfer options. Historically adding a proper MR or MR First card back to the portfolio has converted all the pending points to that program, instantly increasing their value. No guarantees that it will always stay that way but for now that's the way the system works.
     
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  4. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Blue or Blue Sky? I think they're both MR Express points. I've got Blue Sky already and used those points, so I'm not sure how much more value it has other than being 1 of 2 AmEX NAF cards I'll hold forever.
     
  5. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

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    I do not think you can transfer Blue Sky points to Membership Rewards. If there is a way, please tell me how!
     
  6. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Good responses, all. Obviously, I want to make sure I understand this (though I have plenty of time at this point).

    This MileValue blog post begins to answer my question, but it leaves part of it unanswered: http://milevalue.com/what-to-do-wit...-fee-coming-up-and-unused-membership-rewards/

    So let's assume that I've got the AMEX Platinum card (the personal one) and have earned a stack of MR points. My options are:
    1. Keep the card, pay the fee, and keep the points.
    2. Cancel the card, avoid the fee, but lose the points.
    3. Downgrade the card to some other card, avoid part or all of the fee, but the points become less valuable.
    Okay, cool... got it. My question picks up at that point. Assuming I go with option 3, are those points "stuck" in the less valuable state, or are they convertible back to their more valuable selves when/if I later acquire a card that earns them? To put it another way, are MR points similar to Chase UR points in that the points are all the same big bucket of points but how your redeem them depends on the cards you hold at redemption time, or are the points themselves different?
    This page lays out the cards that earn MR points, and at what "tier": http://www.membershiprewards.com/tier/tierComparison/tierComparison.aspx So the transfer-ability of points is a "premium" feature. But when you log in to the MR site, there's only one number of "available points." If the points were permanently downgraded, then they'd need to have some way of keeping track of the two buckets. That's not what I see, so I infer that the points are all the same and your redemption options are determined by your card membership at redemption time.
    What would settle this is if someone could say, "Yeah, I had the Plat, downgraded to the Blue, then got the Plat again a couple of years later and my points were all there in one bucket." Wandering Aramean almost said that, but he specified that pending points regained their value ... not that the entire balance did.
    Anyone have first-hand experience here?
     
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  7. Singapore Flyer

    Singapore Flyer Silver Member

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    I had steps two and three. I Di have the corporate one but don't remember if I ever had points. I had the blue(non-sky) for a decade before getting into this game. I wasted (Spent)25k on a gift card for my wife. She agrees it was a waste.

    When I received my Amex PRG, all the points that I had earned (pending is point that you are slate to earn but haven't paid for) converted to the regular MR points. I called the reps an they said that if I got back to the blue only I will still have the same number of points but only access MR express. Think worse than freedom/UR items including gift cards.
     
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  8. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Awesome. Thanks.
     
  9. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    It's my understanding that you can use Blue Sky MRE points as your "savings account" for full MR points. Say I have 1 MR earning card and I downgrade to Blue Sky to avoid the annual fee on the MR card. All of your points convert to MRE (express) points, right? Okay, then 6 months down the road (hypothetical time frame), you get a new card offer that earns MR points and are approved. You keep the Blue Sky, and all of your MRE points then are able to be converted back to MR points.

    If someone could confirm this in practice, I'd appreciate it, but I haven't gotten a MR card recently and am stuck with MRE points on Blue Sky for now. I'm not 100% sure that this works, but it makes sense theoretically, at least to me.
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Historically it has been possible to have the points shift between MRF, MR and MRE freely depending on which card(s) you are carrying. So dropping down to only a card which participates in MRE would mean all your points become MRE and then adding a card which participates in MR or MRF would "upgrade" those points back up to that level. Obviously subject to change as AmEx sees fit, but that is the way the system has worked for the past several years.
     
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  11. mmamminna

    mmamminna Active Member

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    I have a blue and blue for students amex. I looked for the transfering options and could not locate them. Are they eligible? TIA
     
  12. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    No.
     
  13. mmamminna

    mmamminna Active Member

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    Thank you. If I get new amex cards, can I merge all points and then transfer? TIA
     
  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You should be able to.

    You can have multiple different AmEx cards all linked to the same MR account, whether that be MRE, MR or MRF. And historically all the points become part of the best program you are carrying a card for at that moment in time. It can work in your favor.
     
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  15. mmamminna

    mmamminna Active Member

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    Thank you. Appreciated. :)
     
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  16. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    If you have Blue points and then you get a Green, Gold, or Platinum, you can turn your Blue points into Green, Gold, or Platinum points thus transferring to airlines/hotels. So there is no confusion, it HAS to be a Blue and NOT: 1. Blue Sky 2. Blue Sky Preferred 3. Blue Cash Everyday 4. Blue Cash Preferred 5. jetBlue (lol) 6. Last I heard, Blue for students won't work. Also, you have to either upgrade to a Green, Gold, or Platinum to do this OR apply and get approved for a Green, Gold, or Platinum THEN cancel your Blue. If you cancel your Blue, then obtain a Green, Gold, or Platinum, ALL your points will be gone forever. Anyway, since this is a semi-old thread, did everything turn out okay?
     
  17. jwsky
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    jwsky Silver Member

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    It seems to me that choice 2 should read ....transfer points to a miles program, cancel the card, avoid the fee. Am I missing something here?
     
  18. SuperKirby

    SuperKirby Gold Member

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    No you're not. Thats what is SHOULD read.
     
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  19. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    @Jwsky: Yes, "choice 2" was written as I meant it. To your point, though, you have brought up a 4th option. You could transfer the points out first, thus leaving no points behind to "lose" if you close your last MR-earning card.
     
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