American Express has updated its terms to add more exclusions on earning points. Travel with Grant reported this yesterday as it was showing up on the monthly statement. The new terms state that cash equivalents, person-to-person payments and American Express Gift Cards purchased online will not earn Membership Rewards points. MR earning cards are the only ones that have the updated terms so far.
The new exclusions are likely aimed at gift card purchases such as Visa, Mastercard and Amex gift cards, which are probably considered cash equivalents. As for P2P payments, they are targeting payments sent through Venmo, PayPal etc.
New Amex Terms
The following transactions aren’t eligible purchases and you won’t earn points for them:
- Cash Advances
- Balance Transfers
- Privileged Assets
- Express Cash
- Corporate Express Cash
- Purchases of American Express® Travelers Cheques or American Express® Gift Cheques
- Purchases paid with points
- Purchases and loads of reloadable prepaid cards
- Purchases of other cash equivalents
- Card account fees and charges (such as late payment fees, Card account annual fees, interest charges and delinquency charges)
- Membership Rewards program fees and charges (such as program annual fees)
- Fees for Card Member services you enroll in
- American Express Gift Cards purchased online
- Person-to-person payments
American Express has been getting tougher on those who try to earn points the easy way. Until now it has been mainly focused on those gaming signup bonuses, but looks like they are now putting a stop to some other options as well. Again, this is just a change in terms for now, so I’m not sure if it will be enforced right away. We’ve seen many terms on paper which are never applied.