[Update: ] Amex may code coin & bullion purchases as cash advance

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Update 10/4/21: Travel With Grant has caught a new key upcoming change: American Express is removing coin & bullion purchases from their definition of a cash advance. US Mint purchases should be fine for earning rewards and should not code as a cash advance effective 10/1/21. The truth is that I’ve placed a few Mint orders on Amex cards since the new wording was introduced and I earned rewards and was not hit with a cash advance fee, so this wasn’t being enforced anyway. It is good to see Amex changed their minds as I thought calling collectible coins “cash” was a major stretch.

Update 3/9/21: Re-publishing this post for those considering the Mint coin deal this Thursday. See the section about coins and bullion potentially not earning rewards and incurring cash advance fees.

As reported yesterday by Travel with Grant, Amex has indicated a couple of key upcoming changes in notes on recent card statements that there will be a couple of negative changes coming in January 2021: transfers to El Al will no longer be available starting on 1/1/21 and purchases of ““precious metal coins or bullion” have been added to the definition of a cash advance as of 1/15/21.

Losing El Al

Amex Transfer Partners

Greg covered this change on our Transfer Partner Master List last night. While El Al has long had an awful award chart, I believe that you could earn elite status by transferring points from Amex (I believe that 5,000 points transferred can get you elite status with El Al). I don’t believe the elite program has many benefits, but perhaps there was some appeal there for some customers.

Given the pandemic and ownership changing hands, it isn’t shocking to see El Al partnerships change and this likely won’t be a huge loss for Membership Rewards.

Coin & Bullion purchases excluded from rewards

Update: As per the update at the top of this post, the information below has changed as of 10/1/21. Coins and bullion is longer be included in the definition of a cash advance. H/T: Travel With Grant has caught

The bigger piece of news to me was that on January 15, 2021 Amex is adding coins and bullion to the list of the types of purchases that define a cash advance. This likely means that US Mint purchases (like for the recent $3,000 palladium coin) will no longer earn rewards (and may in fact incur a cash advance fee). That’s a pretty customer-unfriendly move in my opinion. What ordinary customer would expect not to earn rewards when buying merchandise from a merchant presumably partnering with Amex (in the sense that they accept Amex cards for payment)? After that news story a few years ago about the billionaire in Hong Kong who bought a Modigliani painting for $170 million on an Amex and earned two billion Membership Rewards points, who wouldn’t expect collectibles to earn rewards?

Apparently rare art is different than rare coins and a $170 million purchase is not a cash advance but your $3K coin might be, so keep that in mind moving forward.

Bottom line

The loss of El Al as a transfer partner probably isn’t huge for most customers. The change regarding coin and bullion purchases is one that may catch some customers off-guard if they haven’t watched their statements closely for this message. This is a good reminder to keep your eye on the fine print.

H/T: Travel with Grant

 

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Anonymous

I’m totally confused.

Is it possible to do a brand new post about what you are trying to tell us.

Thank you.

Audrey

The title made it sound (to me) like the update is that it may code as a cash advance.
Maybe clarify (after “update”) that it won’t?

DavidS

With the latest PFS deal out, I was wondering if there were any DP on AMEX at this point? Thought we might’ve heard something by now on how AMEX handled these, good or bad. Is Paypal a work around for AMEX?

[…] This content was originally published here. […]

Gaurav

Also curious if anyone has any data points for AX use at mnt.gov. I’m currently working on a $15k SUB but didn’t want to to chance getting hit with fees for such a large amount.

ktc

Wow glad this came to the surface as I was gonna use Blue+ for it, so no pie for them, i will use DoubleCash instead. thx!

Chuck

New US Mint deal today – the first since these changes… sad as I would love to stick this on my amex

Mark

With a new coin deal from PFS on the way, this issue has some new relevance. Are there any experiences using Amex as US Mint since January 15th? Is there a way to reach out to Amex and ask them if this new policy specifically applies to purchases from the US Mint? (Something more reliable than calling customer service)
I chatted with US Mint to ask if they knew of any issues with cash advances on Amex, and they said no, for what it’s worth.

[…] Express will reportedly code coin and bullion purchases as cash advances — as of January 15, 2021. If you’d rather not understandably risk not getting hit with a cash advance charge and not […]

YoniPDX

JMHO but I think/hope that Amex is talking about Bullion/PMs that buy/sell for a percentage over/under spot i.e
Kitco/APMEX and not GovMint – which sells collectibles that sell at a considerable premium over the spot metal price.

JLee

I’m curious, do you think that Amex will claw back for the recent $3000 deal if done for the SUB? Or just for situations that occur after the 2021 implementation date? I’ve heard of RAT clawbacks but I’m unsure of this particular deal…

TheBrain

Good – Amex and others are trying to close the door on the moochers that game the system with gift cards and other purchases. I seriously doubt the vast majority of people that buy gold or coins with their Amex are true collectors. Most likely already have a deal to sell it and are just using it as a ruse to run up points. For people that REALLY are collectors you can certainly afford to pay cash instead of buying it on a credit card. People it isn’t all about you and your perceived inconvenience. The merchants and card companies have to look out for their interests as they should!

AlohaDaveKennedy

Makes your really wonder what the RAT is thinking. Best not buy any sterling silver flatware or a diamond engagement ring as you can see the claw scratching on the wall.

AlexL

Welcome back, Nick. You said it well about the coin purchase.