If I Cancel My American Express Platinum Card, Can I Keep the Points?

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This is part of the reader question posts that I started last week. You can view more reader questions here. Feel free to email me at dealswelike@gmail.com if you have a question you’d like answered. 

Reader Ellen emailed asking:

“I am looking to cancel my American Express Platinum card now that I will no longer get lounge access to American Airlines or US Airways lounges. Since that was the primary reason I kept the card, I instead signed up for the American Airlines credit card that will give me lounge access. I have over 500,000 Membership Reward points, but if I cancel the card will I lose my points?”

This is a great question and I am sure one many readers have. This post will not go into whether or not the Amex Platinum card is worthwhile (you can read my thoughts on that here), but how canceling the card will impact your point balance.

The answer to the question is… it depends! If the American Express Platinum card is your only Amex card earning Membership Reward points, then yes, you will lose your points once canceling the card. However, if you have another American Express card that earns Membership Reward points you are in the clear and do not need to use your points prior to canceling the card.

If you do decide to close your American Express Platinum card and do not want to redeem your points by the time you cancel, if you open another Amex card that earns Membership Rewards points you will be good. As mentioned above, as long as you have one American Express credit card attached to your account that earns Membership Rewards points, your points are safe. So, prior to canceling your Platinum card, you can open another Amex Membership Reward earning card to keep your points active.

Remember though, some American Express cards that earn Membership Reward points do NOT allow you to transfer your points to partner loyalty programs. If you get one of these cards, for example, Blue from American Express, your points earned from the American Express Platinum card will no longer be able to be transferred to an airline or hotel program.

A few things to note is American Express gives you a 30 day grace period to transfer your points from your account to a partner loyalty program. The caveat to this is you must have at least one other American Express card (does not need to be a card that earns Membership Rewards points). Additionally, Amex allows you to reinstate your points if you get a new Amex Membership Rewards earning card within 1 year of canceling your credit card. You will need to send a letter to Membership Rewards to request the reinstatement and it is not guaranteed. I personally wouldn’t bank on either option and just ensure your points are safe prior to canceling.

If you are looking to cancel your card and do not want another Amex Membership Rewards card that comes with an annual fee, your best bet is to wait till April 4 when Amex introduces a new credit card. I’ll write more about this option next week, but it is a good card to have to keep your Membership Rewards points active.

Comments

  1. This is what I just did this week: Another option before canceling would be to apply for the Amex Green card which is now being offered without an annual fee for the first year.
    I wanted to cancel my husbands Amex Premier Rewards Gold card which had the $175 fee due and membership reward points which I wasn’t sure how I wanted to use yet so I got him the Green card then canceled the PRG card.

  2. This is also true for Chase. I made the mistake of downgrading my Chase Sapphire Preferred card for the Chase Sapphire and almost lost all of my points and the ability to transfer points out to the partner airlines. I had to reapply for the CSP because they could/would not reinstate my previous account. Hard lesson learned.

  3. My annual fee just got billed this month. I called the retention line about a month ago and was offered 7500 MR points plus 5000 if I spent $500 within three months. I have already been credited with the points. If I decide to apply for the Amex Everyday card when it comes out in a few weeks and then cancel my PRG, will I get my $175 credited , but lose the 12500 points that I got? Maybe I should just keep the PRG for the year. That for the information.

  4. i tried to cancel my platinum amex and transfer points to starwood amex. at the end of the process they mentioned transfer of about 1/3 of points due to the points not being “equal”. it took 3 weeks to undo this. has anyone else run into this? what amex cards have shown a 1 for 1 transfer?

    • @kristin – unfortunately membership reward points do not transfer to starwood at a 1:1 ratio. However, if you are looking to cancel your amex platinum card and want to keep the points, I suggest applying for the Amex EveryDay card. There are two versions of the card (one with an annual fee and one with no annual fee) and they earn the same membership reward points that the amex platinum does. You can also redeem in the same manner. You can learn more about this here: http://dealswelike.boardingarea.com/2014/11/06/bye-bye-platinum-hello-everyday/

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