Membership Rewards Accounts are being Frozen for New Platinum Cardholders

Over the past couple days, there appears to to be a wave of Amex Membership Rewards (MR) accounts that are frozen and can’t be used to transfer to travel partners. The freeze is apparently tied to the 100,000 point bonus on the Platinum card that was available recently, and it’s likely that some/all new Platinum members who used that 100k link now have their MR accounts frozen.

I know of a few first-hand reports of this problem, and numerous DansDealsForums members and Reddit members report this as well.

This is not a Financial Review (i.e. no request for tax documents and bank statements), it’s not a shutdown, and it’s not an account freeze. All accounts are working fine and can be used. Just the MR points are frozen until further review and can not be redeemed.

To clarify further, it’s not just the Platinum points are frozen from those who signed up for this 100k offer; all MR points from any personal or business Amex card. At the final step, when attempting to transfer points to airline partners (and like for any other redemption as well), the system spits out a response:

Unable to process your request
We are unable to complete your order. Please do not attempt to resubmit the order, as this will only delay the process. Please contact us at 888-654-0034 between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm ET, Sunday through Saturday.

Amex has done 100k Platinum offers in the past and this offer wasn’t a novelty, but it seems that this particular 100k Platinum offer was meant as a targeted link to specific people, not a temporary offer for the public. Also, the offer was reported on just about every blog, including the one’s with very high readership like Thepointsguy, Onemileatatime, Viewfromthewing, among others, and Amex must have gotten slammed with applications.

There have been some other reports of Amex shutdowns when using RSVP-only offers, and this one got out of hand and was used by thousands. Amex is now doing an internal review/soul-searching to decide what to do.

Initial reports indicated that Amex is doing a 72-hour review period, but now they are saying something about 6-8 weeks. Here’s the most detailed response we’ve heard from an Amex rep, reported by David1 on DDF:

I’ve spoken to numerous supervisors (I  think i spoke to a supervisor in every department now and people above those supervisors), for 3 days now, at first they didnt know what the error was, and why i wasnt able to transfer points. All they said was that your account is under review and it takes 72 hours. Today I called and spoke to a supervisor who told me it has something to do with my recent platinum signup. And it is being investigates as misuse of points. (I never sold any points or transferred to anyone. Transferred once for a flight for myself)  He said they were all told today, regarding this error, that the review will take up to 6-8 weeks. And there is no one to speak too until the review is complete. All my cards will continue to work as normal but i have no access to my points and there’s nothing anyone can do.

What to do?

Certainly, it’s not fun to have your MR account frozen, and a bit nerve-racking too since we don’t know what the outcome will be.

From my perspective, it’s hard to hear any terrible outcome from this since this is something that’s likely affecting thousands. I’d wager that there are so many new Platinum cardholders that they won’t even be looking one-by-one at anyone’s accounts (i.e. even if you have MS or any other monkey business going on, you don’t have to worry too much). Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but that’s my take.

I’m more worried about the more creative parts of the Platinum card which may come under review as too many people are doing them.

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FarA (@guest_288631)
August 26, 2016 16:08

Any updates, they shouldn’t have posted the points, do we have legal grounds to go after them? it has been 6 plus weeks since I met the SP limit and 4 months since I have singed up for it. What a waste.

Margia (@guest_285836)
August 20, 2016 08:33
Mark O
Mark O (@guest_285081)
August 18, 2016 09:52

My wife’s MR account is still frozen. Will be 8 weeks on Wednesday of next week since they posted. They better be released then!!!!

Anyone had theirs released at 8 weeks like they said?

Charles (@guest_286575)
August 22, 2016 12:11

Mine are frozen too. Going on 9 weeks since I got the bonus. CSR said they should have been unfrozen after 4-6 weeks from receiving the bonus. I’m assuming they’re trying to figure out a reason to take the points away. It’s funny that they’re aggravating their Platinum card holders on the same week Chase is releasing a competitor product. Bold move.

mnbska (@guest_276862)
July 18, 2016 15:26

Called today after the same issue. I complained that I met all the requirements in every TOS and agreement, and that they were not conducting business in good faith.

Also, NOBODY will know when the points are unlocked, according to the MR rep. His best advice was to try using the points 8 weeks after they were posted. Therefore no notification at all that points are cleared.

The correspondence address for written complaints is:

AMEX Membership Rewards
PO BOX 297813
Fort Lauderdale FL 33329

LWT (@guest_277387)
July 20, 2016 15:17

Glad to see someone post an update, but I’m sorry to hear that the news is still not good. It’s been 9 weeks since my points posted but only 6 weeks since my first statement closed. I haven’t tried transferring any points because I don’t have a need to right now. For the time being, I think I’ll just wait until I see positive news from other people.

Dave (@guest_267498)
June 14, 2016 01:38

My wife was able to get someone to expedite the 103K+ MR a couple days ago and today tried to transfer 1000 MR to Etihad as a test. Like so many of you, the transfer wasn’t able to go through and it asks her to call a number. I see many people were able to get their accounts unfrozen, but we’re running out of time if we are to make it by the 6/15 deadline to transfer to EY for the 30% bonus. It doesn’t seem calling will bring immediate resolution. Any advice?

george (@guest_264738)
June 2, 2016 13:09

My account was fine but my girlfriend got frozen and when called in got transferred to a “supervisor” very b!tchy sounding lady we used speakerphone and now they are asking for a 4506T great… FR time for her

Big K
Big K (@guest_262253)
May 25, 2016 10:47

Did anyone get “out of review yet”?

Ryan (@guest_267397)
June 13, 2016 15:40

Anyone? Recently got put in review and would be interested to know how long it takes to get out.

Ryan (@guest_261595)
May 23, 2016 12:52

I think Am Ex is doing some kind of accounting of all the new Am Ex Platinum members.

I had a charge questioned (for no reason) and when I called to clear it up, I got an “account manager” who proceeded to grill me on my employ, why I have so many Am Ex cards, etc.

Very odd.

LWT (@guest_262942)
May 27, 2016 08:55

How many cards to you have open? I’ve got 9 open with 2 recently closed. I’m sure that will raise a few eyebrows when they review my account.

LWT (@guest_261576)
May 23, 2016 11:32

No, they won’t proactively send notice that you aren’t eligible.

gary (@guest_261095)
May 21, 2016 16:48

does amex send notification that someone is not eligible for the bonus, after being approved and before spending threshold reached (assuming more than a month to reach threshold)? Can’t remember if i had the card years ago and dont want to waste my MS on it, if i wont get the bonus and dont want to ask amex, in case it raises a flag