The bad news keeps on coming from American Express. Just yesterday I wrote that gift card purchases likely are gone for good, as far as triggering airline statement credits is concerned. And that’s after all the bad news from Amex when it comes to earning bonuses and getting new cards.
They introduced a tool last that could turn you down for a signup bonus. Their Priority Pass membership that comes free with some cards for example, will be devalued next month. They are also going after referral bonuses for people who referred themselves for new cards. It’s all likely due to the increased cost of their Rewards Programs.
Gift Card Purchase Don’t Earn Rewards
Gift card purchases with Amex cards have already had some issues. They were already not counted towards spending requirements. On top of that, some merchants such as Simon Mall, a popular source of gift cards, didn’t earn rewards. Now it’s being added into the terms that gift card purchases will not earn rewards at all, regardless of where they are purchased. Doctor of Credit reports that this gift card exclusion is not showing on all cards explicitly for ordinary points, but has been added to the Blue Business Plus card and the Gold card for example.
With your Blue Business® Plus Card from American Express, you earn one Membership Rewards® point for each dollar you spend on your Card for eligible purchases. For the first $50,000 in eligible purchases in each calendar year you also earn one additional point (for a total of 2 points)…Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards; person-to-person payments or purchases of other cash equivalents. Additional terms and restrictions apply.
While the language has been added to exclude gift card purchases from earning rewards, I doubt it will be a strict rule. Probably small purchases of gift cards will continue to earn rewards. Even larger purchases as long as it’s not huge amounts. But if you’re constantly charging amounts that are easily identified as gift card purchases, it could become an issue. Plus if they take a look at your accounts for any reason, then they can identify your gift card purchases and claw back points. I would suggest to tread carefully with gift card purchases with Amex cards from now on.
Let me know what you think and if you have any data points where rewards weren’t earned for gift card purchases.