Amex Shutting Down Accounts After Airline Incidental Clawbacks
American Express has been shutting down accounts left and right lately. But these latest reports, if true, are ill-timed and more bizarre than usual. There are two reports of shutdowns related to airline incidental fees. More precisely, airline incidental fee clawbacks.
Some premium American Express cards offer annual statement credits that can be used for “incidentals” at nine eligible airlines. The credits roll over on a calendar year basis and you can designate a new airline each January. The cards that have these credits are:
- The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express – $250.
- The Platinum Card from American Express – $200
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express – $200
- American Express Gold Card – $100
When you use these cards for airline incidental fees, you get reimbursed from Amex. If that flight is canceled, the airline refunds those fees. Recently Amex has been clawing back the credits after an airline gives you a refund. That makes sense, since you would be getting refunded twice for the same fee. But now those data points, which I first read about at Miles to Memories, show that accounts are also being shutdown after this happens. The data points come from Miles Per Day and poster drakiez on Reddit.
Two data points are not enough to create an opinion for now if this is really happening just because of the airline incidental fee clawbacks. It might not be time to panic yet, but if more of these data points come through, then it is definitely time to panic. Some people might have abused these fees, but during these times, most travelers have had flights canceled with air travel being almost non existent. So having your American Express account shut down because you cannot travel right now seems insane.
I would wait for more information about this before rushing to cash out American Express Membership Rewards. This seems extreme, even for American Express. If a flights is canceled and fees are reimbursed from the airline, it should be enough for American Express just to take back those credits as well.
Let me know if this has affected you.