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PSA: American Express RAT Cracking Down On Credit Card Closures Within 12 Months

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The American Express Rewards Abuse Team (RAT) seems to be cracking down on people who have closed credit or charge cards within 12 months of them being opened. EEK!

Previously American Express has really only clawed back the bonus if people cancelled within the first few months, usually people that do that are doing so to get the annual fee refunded as well. There are people got their the bonus clawed back because they closed the account after holding it for 11 months, before the second annual fee post.

Amex T&C:
If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain a welcome offer(s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit <the bonus> to your account.
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#2
Translation: we're losing money
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#3
You only discovered it now
Copy paste
https://www.asksebby.com/blog/american-express-rewards-abuse-team-rat-and-knowing-the-rules-of-the-game
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#4
Why would anybody be dumb enough to cancel after 11 months?

At that point there's 0 benefit to doing it before the AF posts (and potential loss if the card has any benefits you get any use from in the extra month or two between 11 and 12.99 months)
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#5
Quote from phillint
:
You only discovered it now
Copy paste
https://www.asksebby.com/blog/american-express-rewards-abuse-team-rat-and-knowing-the-rules-of-the-game
It seems like they starting to keep track of those close their cc in the 10th or 11th months to avoid next year fee. Before this , they only focus on people close their cards in 1st or 2nd months after bonuses posted in their acct.
I am wondering how can they claw back bonuses if we already spent them. They can't post negative balance or bill us rights?
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Last edited by hondaman82 April 10, 2019 at 02:17 PM.
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#6
Let's say I let Amex charge me the AF for the 2nd year. If I cancel within that month (before cycle ends) can I get my AF refunded? If so, I may not be on their radar when I downgrade a card next month.
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#7
Quote from Knightshade
:
Why would anybody be dumb enough to cancel after 11 months?

At that point there's 0 benefit to doing it before the AF posts (and potential loss if the card has any benefits you get any use from in the extra month or two between 11 and 12.99 months)
Wouldn't the entire point of closing after 11 months be to avoid the AF? Sometimes you get no AF first year, so if you want the signup bonus and don't want the card for another year why would you hold it to pay for the AF? Even if you pay the AF the first year, if your goal is to get the signup bonus, you would close after 11 months or earlier to avoid AF, right?
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#8
I remember getting a Gold card fee before I forgot to cancel. Was refunded for the asking but that was years ago. $1200 in bonus pts after spending 500 in 3mo.
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#9
Quote from hondaman82
:
I am wondering how can they claw back bonuses if we already spent them. They can't post negative balance or bill us rights?
They absolutely will claw you back into the negative. Then they have the right to charge your account for the negative points balance (especially when you close the account). I believe it's $25 per 1k for membership rewards.
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#10
Quote from ArseneWenger
:
Wouldn't the entire point of closing after 11 months be to avoid the AF?
No.

Because the AF is fully refunded if you close your account within 30 days of the closing date of the statement on which the fee appears.

So there's literally no benefit to cancelling sooner than that.

And you avoid problems like the one this thread is about too.


Proper way to deal with amex cards you might not wish to keep after 1 year:


1) Wait till the AF posts (which is after 1 year)

2) Check the amex retention offer thread on flyertalk to see what they're currently offering on the card- judge if it'd be worth keeping it if you get such an offer- if yes, call retention and ask for it, and if you get it, keep the card one more year then come back to step 1...otherwise go to step 3.

3) Cancel the card within 30 days of the statement the AF posted to closing- this usually means you got to keep the card through month 13 or 14 depending on dates... (useful for say, a little extra centurion access on a plat card). AF will be fully refunded to you.
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Last edited by Knightshade April 10, 2019 at 05:24 PM.
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#11
Are they agressive with the cards that have an initial annual fee (intead of $0 annual fee the 1st year). For instance, I have the Hilton Aspire Amex which I got through the card upgrade offer (which I also got through a card upgrade offer). I was planning on cancelling it when my account renews since I already used all the flight credits for 2019 but I would wait until next year if it seems like that could be an issue.
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#12
Haha I used to do this, but their offers aren't as good as they used to be
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#13
Quote from hondaman82
:
It seems like they starting to keep track of those close their cc in the 10th or 11th months to avoid next year fee. Before this , they only focus on people close their cards in 1st or 2nd months after bonuses posted in their acct.
I am wondering how can they claw back bonuses if we already spent them. They can't post negative balance or bill us rights?
Is that only for people who close/cancel the card? How about downgrades to no annual fee card?

And how long are people reporting it taking before bonus is clawed back?
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#14
Quote from poohbie
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Is that only for people who close/cancel the card? How about downgrades to no annual fee card?

And how long are people reporting it taking before bonus is clawed back?
Yes, downgrade also triggers red flag
Amex T&C:
If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain a welcome offer(s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit <the bonus> to your account.
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