Rumor: American Express Now Has A Rewards Abuse Team (RAT)

Before we get started, let’s keep in mind that this is a rumor and one I haven’t been able to verify with any of my sources at American Express. It comes from US Credit Card Guide and I trust their team to properly vet this. According to them American Express have created a Rewards Abuse Team (or RAT for short) to combat reward abuses.

The following changes have already been made:

  • MPX will no longer trigger the airline credit (as we thought)
  • Purchase products to meet minimum spend requirements and then return them

According to the same source they have no plans to stop airline gift cards from triggering the airline incidental travel credits.

Our Thoughts

Not hugely surprising, I also wouldn’t be surprised if the same team was in charge of dealing with the frozen membership rewards accounts due to the 100,000 Platinum links. I don’t really have an issue with either of the ‘abuses’ they are/have cracked down on, although it would suck to have meet a minimum spend requirement in good faith and then have had to return an item – so I hope there is some level of leeway there. MPX triggering the credit was great, but obviously never the intention of the credit.

I’m not surprised they have decided to not remove the ability to use this credit on gift cards and I suspect that this will become official policy in early 2017 (or they will make a similar change to the airline credit) due to the fact that both the Citi Prestige airline credit and the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit are easier to use.

Obviously the creation of RAT isn’t a good thing, but at the moment I’m not too alarmed. Discuss.

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M n

They took down the referrals from SPG

jp
jp

Tax bills are a legitimate spend. I wouldn’t foresee any issues there.

SteveH
SteveH

Any thoughts on how Amex is going to treat paying tax bills to meet minimum spend? Thinking about getting business platinum since we’re going to have high tax bill this year and should be able to meet the $15k spend without too much difficulty (unfortunately).

Ss
Ss

Hahahaha “RAT”

Hilarious acronym

Peter Stern
Peter Stern

All of my cards Are currently frozen. Oddly I still have access to my points. I sent last three months of bank account statements as asked. I did get the Gold and Platinum business cards within three months of each other. My Starwood card was also frozen as well as my personal card. I hope they unfreeze soon and do not close the accounts.

Matt B
Matt B

I wonder if they’ll care about Amex Offers and the multi-browser method to get an offer across several cards.

Mike
Mike

The intel on this isn’t 100%.

ed
ed

‘RAT’ won’t matter for many of us who bailed on Amex this year due to the way they treated us. Chase reaped a lot of new business accounts.

I donated all my Amex rewards I had gained from bonuses and they then placed a negative balance on me. Bye Bye Amex.

chris
chris

i’ve seen some people mention that amex can charge you for the negative balance. did you close all your amex cards? any truth to the charging for the negative balance?

Raul
Raul

Believe they just keep a negative balance on ur account so if u do get any more points they go towards the negative Balance, don’t think they send u a bill for the negative balance though

ed
ed

Raul is correct. They will not send a bill or charge for the negative reward balance according to the letter I received from them. I no longer use any cc associated with Amex Membership Rewards. My family had been using their cards and then donating all the rewards we earned to charity through Members Give, but Amex didn’t seem to care. Sad company. We made sure that department knew where the points went and they still placed negative balances. Scrooges. Didn’t bother with arbitration, but just moved on and took our business elsewhere (family has a number of small businesses). Chase ended up with our business including investments. Until other parts of Amex see the negative repercussions of the ‘RAT’ department and report it to heads, nothing will change.

Jay Reef
Jay Reef

I don’t get the treatment comment but for me MR is a major currency. Recently booked some Aeroplan and Delta and added Platinum 100k because I need points. This is the only currency that is free to maintain (via personal MR card). Transfers to several airlines are instant. This is a fairly powerful tool of a travel hacker’s toolkit. It all is a game and although I went thru all sorts of bizarre scenarios (now for example disputing a charge for hotel room with Club Carlson where I used my free night certs and next they charged my card and it has been going on for 5 weeks) I would not consider myself mistreated. Its simply on. Ran out of URs imagine that. Chase is now rejecting me. Barclay is rejecting me. BoA as well. Well I will give a few months and am back in the game. Hello URs. Hello 4th Arrival+. Hello Alaska again. And so it goes. Hello Hello AMEX, Chase, Barclay, BoA, C1, even you Citi. I like you all the same way. You are my sugar daddies although naughty sometimes.

Matthew
Matthew

A lot of places give you the option to return something for store credit, or make an exchange – something everyone should keep in mind. I once had to return a mattress and it was past my minimum spend date. I was so fearful it would mess me up, but thankfully the company opted to refund me via PayPal!

tai arevalo
tai arevalo

People were making fake accounts spend I Nguyen the incentive amount then closing the accounts. Fraud! Those who were caught had their accounts closed and the points pulled back.