Gotta love the outrage when rules are simply enforced as written. For the longest time (as far back as I can remember) one could transfer points from an American Express Membership Rewards account to any recipient so long as the transaction was performed online. You couldn’t do it on the phone because it was actually against the rules even back then and the agents knew that. But the website never enforced the rule. Until now.
Seems that, at least for some partners, the ability to link an account online which does not have your name on it is now not working. I set up dummy accounts with Emirates, Frontier and SPG. SPG failed as shown above while Emirates failed with a different technical error and Frontier showed as pending but later also came up as failed.
So, is this a huge deal? And if so, why?
Yes, it makes the points slightly less fungible. I’ll grant that. But why would people do it? It was for “topping off” the account of a friend or for pushing multiple sign-up bonuses into a single airline or hotel account. In other words, it was a tactic generally used by people breaking the rules, avoiding fees or otherwise trying to get more than they were supposed to have access to. And that includes me from time to time, though it has been a few years since I had a useful reason to bother.
So, sure, it sucks if you were one of those schemers using the loose enforcement to break the rules, but it is hard to call this a major devaluation when the usage has generally not been legitimate anyways. It isn’t like they actually changed the published rules. And if AmEx blocking those folks out means they can better preserve the value of the points for me going forward I’ve got no problems with that at all.
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