I wrote recently about Amex’s new practice of freezing, unfreezing, and re-freezing Membership Rewards accounts for folks who have opened credit card accounts through online leaked links. It’s unclear what all the triggers are for this ‘account review’ as Amex calls it and they’re not saying anything about it. There’s no communication to the customer about the account being frozen, nor about when you’ll be able to use/transfer your points again. I also highlighted how, although Amex has the right to crack down on those abusing the program, this way to go about it is simply wrong, and penalizes guilty and innocent ones alike, which has many very upset. But something interesting happened to me this week though and I thought it might help some of you who are on the same boat.
Ever since my last post about my wife’s account being placed on review again, we’ve been trying daily to transfer 1,000 points as a way to find out if the freeze is still in place. Again, there’s no account indicator, nor a letter…nothing letting the customer know that they’re being reviewed. Two days ago I went back into my wife’s MR account to try that 1,000 point transfer and to my surprise, it went through – successful transfer to her HiltonHonors account. Fearing additional account reviews, we had already decided to move the points out of her MR account – a practice that will negatively impact Amex, and that more and more people will adopt as a response to Amex’s recent actions. Interestingly, when I tried to move the remaining 125k points to her Aeroplan account, I kept getting the error message below.
This was confusing. Is the account in review or not? At this point I decided to call Amex, and a very friendly rep informed me that my account was still in review, and that she didn’t know why I was able to transfer the previous 1,000 points, but not the others. When I asked to talk to someone about it she said there was no one to talk to about an account review and suggested that I keep trying to transfer. That I did. I kept lowering the amount of points to transfer until I reached 20k, at which ‘point’ the transfers worked. I emptied the account 20k points at a time.
Will this work for everyone whose account is frozen? I have no idea; but I did this at the advice of the Amex agent, so it’s definitely worth a try. I still can’t believe that Amex has decided to nurture customer relationships based on LACK OF communication and DIStrust. They have lost a significant amount of co-branded business with Costco, Fidelity and JetBlue, and fell significantly behind Chase in the premium credit card sector, especially with the release of the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. The jury is still on whether recent upgrades to some of their premium credit cards will be enough to gain some momentum.