A while back, American Express introduced universal referrals, where you could refer anyone for any Amex card, even if you didn’t have that card yourself. That also opened the door to self referrals. I warned back then that it could be risky to refer yourself. And I also mentioned it usually when I spoke of referral bonuses for Amex cards.
But I thought I was mistaken since it had been a while since self referrals were made possible and we hadn’t seen any clawbacks. But now the data points are trickling in on Reddit. American Express is taking away points from people who had self referrals. They are also sending notices explaining their actions to those affected.
Here’s what they are sending to people who had their points taken away:
We are writing to let you know that, after careful review of your Membership Rewards® account activity, we have removed points in your Membership Rewards® program account. Please ensure that any Additional Card Members who are authorized to redeem points from your account are notified of this change in your Membership Rewards balance.
Why we are removing these points
We recently noticed point accrual or redemption activity on your Membership Rewards program account that indicates an effort to obtain or use points in a manner that is not appropriate. It’s important for you to know that the Membership Rewards program terms and conditions state that “If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse or gaming in connection with earning or using points or that you may attempt to do so, we may:
Take away any points in your program account, Temporarily suspend your ability to redeem points, Temporarily suspend your ability to earn points, Cancel your program account, or Cancel any of your American Express Cards”
Some accounts are even locked, while they are under review. So you will not be able to use your Membership Rewards points at all.
Check your American Express Membership Rewards accounts and see if you had your points clawed back. Let me know either way if you were affected or not.