(Updated) Breaking: Large String Of Amex Shutdowns Being Reported

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Large String Of Amex Shutdowns Being Reported

Another month, another string of Amex shutdowns being reported. It seems people just haven’t learned that American Express is not to be trifled with on limited time offers. The reports are still a little random but some patterns have started to appear. There have been quite a few reports on Reddit, in other private forums and from readers.

I will add this to our American Express shutdowns and clawbacks guide.

What Has Led To The Latest String Of Amex Shutdowns

A few days ago we shared an article from Derrick at Travel On Point(s) about using PayPal Key, paired with Plastiq, to pay down his mortgage before selling his house.  This was a play that many people were taking advantage of.  But, they took it quite a bit further then he did.  They were making large payments to other entities that weren’t really bills, using Walmart bill pay paired with it, or even paying some revolving credit accounts.  This led to a huge spike in spending.

Many of the people shutdown also paired this up with the lucrative 3X referral offers we saw a few months back.  It was warned back then that this felt like a trap and to be cautious. Sadly, it seems like those warnings have come to fruition.

When the two were paired together it was like Amex RAT (rewards abuse team) bait.  The two combined seems to be the underlying cause, or theme, for most of these reported shutdowns.

There are also a few reports about using no lifetime language offers and hitting the Amex Platinum 10X offer too hard.  I will say that those seem more like outliers at this point.  I do think that the Platinum offer will create the next wave of shutdowns but it seems a little to early for it to be causing issues yet.

UPDATE 12/9/20: It appears that most, if not all, of the shutdowns seem to be paying Amex credit cards with other Amex cards using PayPal Key.  It is unknown if this was just the first wave or not. People that even did just a few transactions were caught up in it as well. If you did this and have been spared I would consider transferring out what you have not.

American Express Platinum Varieties Guide

How Are They Notified

Most of the reports are saying that they received and automated email from American Express informing them that they are no longer a customer.  It states that the closed accounts were not complying with their offer terms.  You can also log into your accounts and see if everything looks normal or not.

Final Thoughts

I have said it before and I will say it again, American Express is the least forgiving lender out there.  They have a team dedicated to rooting out people playing the game better than they are.  These limited time offers are like catnip for them.  The marketing department creates super enticing offers and the RAT team sits back licking their chops. They know many will not be able to resist the easy points and that is when they pounce.

On the normal capped spending categories that come with the terms of the cards they seem less enticed to pursue.  Who knows if that will change in the future (likely) but these limited time offers should be used with extreme caution.  Keep the crazier stuff to other issuers.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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23 COMMENTS

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23 COMMENTS

  1. […] 这两天 Reddit 上出现了又一波AmEx关卡潮,经过MtM和DoC的报道,引发了一阵小小的恐慌,在本站的论坛上也有一个帖子引起了不少讨论。不过大家莫慌:截止到目前为止,从本站论坛收集的数据点来看,这一波关卡潮似乎基本没有影响到中文社区的用户。只在论坛里有位用户说他一个朋友被关而已,他的数据点是这样的(来自这里): […]

  2. “These limited time offers are like catnip for them.” I hereby nominate “RATnip” as the first new Merriam-Webster New Dictionary Word for 2021. Meaning: A sacrificial mileage or points award offer that’s intended to attract customers, like a decoy. It mimics a lucrative offer to encourage an increase in customer spending and then uses the increase as a trigger action to close down all customer accounts.

  3. There’s a big difference between the occasional manufactured spend (e.g. Gift cards) and going full-out paying huge bills via Plastiq (e.g. mortgage) when coupled with a bonus offer in a short period of time. I have no sympathy for this type of blatantly greedy behavior and if you choose to mess with the RAT team, be prepared to deal with the consequences.

  4. Do you forfeit all your MR points when you get your account closed? I am a legit customer but am scared that I could lose all my points if they decide to give me a financial review etc

  5. Good for Amex – the sooner the scammers get busted the better for all of us. Getting points through legit spend is fine but maxing manufactured spending is wrong and deserves to be dealt with harshly.

  6. Getting amx points are so easy, I can’t believe in all the years it hasn’t been covered. Oh well I’ll sit back and keep enjoying business class seats pretty much whenever I desire.

        • So from what MPD posted, no one really made a killing here except those who paid themselves back in a circular fashion. Otherwise paying down a car or mortgage is just a one-shot to earn 50k-300k of MRs at 1 cent per point. Hardly a big score but good for them.

  7. Well I certainly get what you are saying but are you kidding me your acting like your CIA agent just spit it out simply and succinctly.

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