For years the official rule with American Express Membership Rewards has been that you could only transfer your points to your own loyalty program accounts, or to loyalty program accounts of people who had linked cards on your Membership Rewards account.
In other words, if you had an American Express Platinum account and earned membership rewards and you had secondary cardholders, you could transfer points to accounts in the name of those secondary cardholders.
And you’d probably have that rule enforced if you called American Express to make the transfer.
But on the Amex website you could always link anyone’s account you wished — it would ask for the accountholder name and account number — and then once linked transfer points into that account.
No longer. The American Express website has changed. It appears you may still be able to transfer points to any loyalty program account no matter whose that is already linked to your Membership Rewards account. But you can no longer link accounts of any ineligible cardmembers.
In fact, you no longer have the option to just enter a name of anyone you wish. Your own name defaults onto the account when you try to do the linking.
Here’s the new process:
And there’s a warning that you can only transfer to your own loyalty accounts.
Instead of entering first name, last name, and account number you now enter your account number and verify details off of your credit card (something you only used to be required to do to actually make a transfer).
And enter an account number that isn’t yours? Denied.
Looks like it may be the end of an era, and the end of a great convenience that’s persisted for many years.
I’ll cop to giving points to friends to keep their accounts active. And while I can book award tickets for friends out of my own accounts, I’ve liked the ability to just top off their accounts towards an award rather than spending all of my own points. So it’s been great to do.