Brex closed (and reopened) Nick’s account and there’s some cause for concern

The Brex application process has been smooth for some but a mess both for me personally and for many readers. At this point, my Brex account appears to be intact, but the overall experience dampens my confidence in the rewards program. I intend to keep my Brex account and continue earning rewards for business spend, but I’ll transfer rewards out as I earn them. See also this condensed post with the key takeaways from this one.

The past few days have been a Brex roller coaster for me: on Monday, Brex abruptly closed my account less than 20 minutes after they pulled the 110K offer. The email came without warning and said the decision was final. By the time they closed it, my initial enthusiasm was already turning to discomfort. The closure encouraged me to take a look at things I’d ignored about Brex with a more critical eye and upon doing so my enthusiasm dampened further. Then, yesterday, I got an email out of nowhere saying that my Brex account was ready to go — and sure enough, my account was reinstated with no further explanation. What I found about Brex in the interim was surprising. Brex Cash may yet prove to be the deal of the year for 2021, but I think it’s worth some discourse about the fact that it might not be the deal of the year and it might be worth redeeming your points sooner rather than later in case it isn’t.

My story: Brex closed my account

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my experience creating a new LLC and applying for a Brex Cash account. My experience with Brex from that point forward was a mess and I’m not the only one who is saying that. Many people have had a smooth experience, but many like me haven’t.

Over the next week after applying and receiving an approval message, all of these things happened:

  • I received an approval message when logging in
  • I received a virtual card number
  • I received an email welcoming me to use Brex to move & manage my money
  • I got my account number (it was available via the app on Day 1)
  • I had seen a message every day when logging in that said account setup was complete
  • I earned 20,000 Rewards points for depositing revenue via PayPal
  • I deposited a total of $5,200 in the account (more than necessary because of some expenses I expected to pay with Brex)
  • I received zero emails from Brex apart from the ones welcoming me and confirming I’d set up two-factor authentication. There were no emails indicating any issue with my account or anything else.

But after depositing $5,200 in my account, the card limit still showed $0. I chatted with support two weeks ago and they told me that my application was still under review — as in it hadn’t yet been approved despite all of the above.  Meanwhile, approvals with Brex had been instant for some and very slow for others with the explanation being that Brex was “overwhelmed” with applications. I think because many people were approved and getting the points, many of us (myself included) accepted that at face value and got wrapped up in the excitement about the bonus offer. Hindsight and now some research (more on that below) has me re-thinking things: Is it acceptable to keep taking applications and giving messaging that says people are approved but then not communicating with them at all for weeks? Maybe that’s OK from the cable company or a florist or something, but from a financial institution? I’ve dealt with many fintech companies over the years and not experienced anything like the hold-up and lack of communication here. More on this and why it is now a big red flag to me later in this post.

Several readers waiting in limbo like me reported success in emailing Brex customer support, so I did that last week. I didn’t hear anything back from them until Monday 3/1 at 4:40pm. At that point, support said that they’d be happy to take a look into my account but for security they needed me to verify the last 4 digits of my virtual card number and the text message code I’d received. They said the code would be valid for 12 hours. I wrote back right away with the requested information, but 4 minutes later I received an email saying that my account had been closed (no explanation) and the decision was final. I could no longer log in to the app (it said my business wasn’t registered) and the web interface showed no sign of my $5200 or my 20K rewards points.

While I could accept Brex deciding that it just didn’t want to do business with me, I was particularly miffed about receiving an email at 4:40pm asking me to reply with a text message code that would only be valid for 12 hours. Customer service surely isn’t available at 4am to validate my code, so how long did I really have to reply to that email? Twenty minutes? A couple of hours? I soon realized that I had no idea how long I had since Brex doesn’t list any customer service hours on their website. And that’s when I started to see other cause for concern.

Digging a little deeper into Brex: A lot of unknowns

Customer service hours isn’t the only thing that Brex doesn’t list on its website: there is no office address. No phone number. No information about their founder(s). The only contact options are a form or generic inboxes like or That’s not normal for a financial institution.

Update: Though I had been to the Brex “contact us” page and linked to it in content below, I somehow missed that the Brex site does indeed list office addresses here on the contact us page. I don’t know how I scrolled past that information initially, but the Brex site does list offices in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, and New York. Additionally, a reader pointed out that some of the emails from Brex include another San Francisco office address.

Take NorthOne as a comparison point. NorthOne is similar to Brex in that it is a new-wave glorified business cash management account that would like to be the central place where you handle vendor payments and business cash management. NorthOne only has a debit card, so that’s a big difference with the Brex card, and there is no big welcome bonus. However, one large similarity is that NorthOne (until this month) has used the same backing bank as Brex: Radius Bank in Boston. But the NorthOne website, unlike Brex, lists customer service hours, 3 physical office locations, and a phone number under “Need help?” at the bottom. They also have the co-founders and their LinkedIn / Twitter profiles listed on their website. On the other hand, Brex has a list of 4 employees on their website — perplexingly all mid-level management of some sort. Note that the Brex site does link to articles at the New York Times, Forbes Advisor, and more covering the startup’s efforts and profiling its founders.

The Brex Wikipedia page says this about company history:

Brex was founded by Brazilians Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi on January 3, 2017. They had previously founded online payments company,, before selling it to Stone.[5][6]

However, Brex did not start off as a Fintech startup but rather as a VR startup and they pivoted 3 weeks into YCombinator’s 12 week accelerator program.

Henrique Dubugras is listed as the CEO of Brex. According to Crunchbase and this New York Times profile, he and Pedro Franceschi started in Brazil when he was 16. In 2013. Then he sold and went to Stanford for 8 months in 2016 and dropped out to start Brex — which Wikipedia says began as a Virtual Reality startup. If my math is right, that means the CEO of Brex is ~24 years old, has about 3 years of experience in the business world and thought he was dropping out of college to start a video game company 4-5 years ago that somehow turned into a business banking platform with several hundred million dollars in venture capital.

In fairness, Dubugras and Franceschi had apparently built a wildly successful company in Brazil, so they had a track record. But on the other hand, Dun & Bradstreet says that Brex has 20 employees. Crunchbase lists 16. If either of those numbers are close to accurate, it’s no wonder they are having trouble handling the volume they’ve gotten. After a couple of C-suite executives, maybe an accountant or two, the 4 mid-level management employees that Brex lists on their website (is it strange that they have two senior software engineers listed and no CEO, CFO, or anything like that on their own website?), an HR person, someone to handle partnerships with airline programs, someone to handle partnerships with business service providers, someone to handle marketing to get the word out among customers, maybe a web developer or two and an app developer or two, someone to watch the computer servers at night, and maybe a couple of people to handle account approvals and customer service, I imagine we’d be at 16 or 20 people pretty darn fast. Does $215M just not buy much help these days?

Update: This LinkedIn article about 50 US startups on the rise lists 408 full-time Brex employees as of last year and Brex’s LinkedIn page now indicates 557 employees, so the information above was inaccurate / out of date. That’s obviously good news.

I also found a link on the Brex website to this blog called Building Brex (which is at, not which has some posts that make it sound as though Brex is bigger than those external resources suggest (though it is interesting that they have gone remote-first and note that employees can move abroad and that even the top-level executives intend to primarily work remotely). At the end of the day, if they pay out the rewards they promise and they handle your money properly, nobody cares about any of the above. Since the money sits in FDIC-insured accounts, funds on deposit should be safe, though rewards are more uncertain.

And though I knew that my money was safe, it was disconcerting being locked out of my account without even being able to see history. That combined with the weird approval issues (with approvals being all over the map and in some cases approval messages being inaccurate), mixed-messaging, and poor customer service response made them appear very disorganized. Given that they don’t appear overly eager to handle customer service for people actively trying to become their customers, I can’t imagine that getting my problem resolved after they’d decided that they didn’t want me as a customer was going to be a high priority or that they would suddenly be more organized about the closure process than the onboarding process. In short, I knew I would get my money back after the account was closed, but I anticipated it being a headache. I was pleasantly surprised when my account was reopened, but disillusioned nonetheless.

Essentially, I found myself wondering much faith should I have in my Brex account or Brex rewards points. Brex might turn out to be a great success (and I certainly hope they do!), but all of this uncertainty made me look at Brex and specifically Brex Rewards much differently.

Back to my own situation with customer service, it has been well over 48 hours since I was told to reply to customer service with that validation code. I replied to their customer service email within minutes with verification information and then again within minutes of the shut down email trying to determine what was going on. I’ve heard absolutely nothing at all back. The only communication I received from Brex about my account was the email telling me that my account was ready to go. My account is once again open and I was able to use the card yesterday and add it to a digital wallet. I re-confirmed the 80K bonus points after $1K in purchases with support via chat and my 20K rewards points are back (my countdown timer for meeting the spend has continued to tick since the night I was first “approved”). I’ll be happy to get the points, but given the complete lack of communication and the abruptness of shutting my account down and then re-opening it like nothing happened along with all of the above has decimated my faith in Brex as a serious transferable currency.

Brex Cash Rewards aren’t an established currency

All of the above had led me to be much less bullish on Brex Cash Rewards. After all, my rewards (temporarily) evaporated at the drop of a hat with no prior warning or discussion and no opportunity given to use the points after shut down. I have to imagine that if Brex were to go belly up or choose to close your account without warning, you’d suffer the same fate of forfeited points. In my case, it isn’t as though I had done something afoul of their rules — indeed, I hadn’t yet been able to spend a cent on their card. They just decided they didn’t want me and closed my account and took away the points. I can’t imagine they’ll be any more generous if they decide they don’t like some type of payment activity. Though my account has since been restored, it was alarming how quickly they flipped the switch and the initial shut down email said the decision was final as though there would be no room for discussion.

That stands in stark contrast to the way that most major banks handle things. If Chase or Amex close your accounts, they typically first give you a chance to redeem the rewards you’ve earned. I think most other issuers allow you to redeem points after shut down except for Citi. Add Brex to the list of issuers that don’t.

And so, given the way things happened with my account, I agree strongly with a reader named Mike commented on a couple of our posts the other day to say:

One thing I’m wary about with Brex is leaving points there for long. I realize they have some decent transfer partners and that is usually the best value, but this isn’t Amex/Chase/Citi. If these guys go BK when the venture cap money runs out, your remaining points are worthless. If they ever actually open my “approved” account, I will either transfer the points immediately or take the penny per. I don’t think the added flexibility of transferable Brex points is worth the risk of losing those points or having them devalued with little or no notice (bigger risk here than the big banks).

Mike hit it on the head. With the benefit of hindsight and a bad experience under my belt, I think it is a mistake to look at Brex Rewards points as being on par with other transferable currencies even though they have some decent transfer partners. Those partners won’t mean much if the points disappear without warning, partners are eliminated, or transfer ratios change — all things for which we have no precedent with Brex. At this point, I think the smart move with regard to Brex is to redeem the points right away. If they were an established entity like a Chase or Amex or Citi, holding the points as transferable would obviously be the superior play. But they aren’t. And everything I’ve written about above gave me pause. I’d feel better about having Avianca LifeMiles or Emirates Skyward miles or Cathay Pacific Asia miles than Brex points at this point.

If Brex turns out to be as good as advertised for the many folks who have gotten through, a year or two from now my perspective on that may be quite different than it is today. But at this point, they are far from being as proven as their partners or as cash. Knowing what I know now, if you offered me the choice between Brex points, miles in a single airline, or cash, Brex just wouldn’t be my first or second choice.

That’s not to say that I won’t use the account at all. I’ll probably keep it and make it my primary restaurant card since 4x transferable points at restaurants with no annual fee is pretty good. I just wouldn’t wait to accumulate six figures worth of those points before moving them along to a partner or cashing them out.

Best options for cashing out your Brex rewards points

If you want to redeem your Brex points without yet having a specific use in mind, what’s the best option?

First and foremost, your 110,000 Brex points can be redeemed for $1,100 in cash. That’s an attractive option and provides ultimate flexibility. As bank bonuses go, that’s a great deal.

Alternatively, you could speculatively transfer to one of the Brex transfer partners. Before doing so, you’ll want to consider the partner mileage expiration policies. Here are the expiration policies of each Brex transfer partner and how to keep miles alive if possible:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
    • Miles expire after 24 months of inactivity.
    • Keep miles alive by earning miles (presumably including a transfer from Amex). Note that mileage redemption or transfer to a family member will not extend your miles.
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
    • Expire after 24 months of inactivity.
    • Keep them alive by crediting a flight to Flying Blue or use the Air France credit card
  • Avianca LifeMiles
    • Miles expire after 12 months
    • Keep them alive by earning miles or transferring in (from Amex, Citi, or Capital One) or by purchasing miles or using an Avianca credit card
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
    • Miles expire after 18 months of activity
    • Keep them alive by earning or redeeming miles (including by transferring from credit card or hotel programs)
  • Emirates Skywards
    • Miles expire 36 months from the date they are earned
    • Keep them alive by paying to extend. Miles expiring within 90 days can be extended for 12 months from the day of purchase for a fee of $20 per 1,000 miles up to 50K miles per calendar year. Note that miles in a family pool can not be extended.
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
    • Miles never expire
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
    • Miles expire after 18 months of inactivity
    • Keep miles alive by earning or redeeming every 18 months (which I believe includes transferring from Amex, Capital One, or Citi)
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
    • Miles expire 36 months after earning them
    • Program elite members can get a 1-year extension, but for non-elites there is no way to avoid expiration

JetBlue isn’t convenient for me, though they may be a great option for some readers given that miles never expire and the fact that TrueBlue miles can provide decent value.

In my opinion, the two serious options for those primarily interested in premium cabin international travel while being able to keep miles alive easily are Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Avianca LifeMiles. I suspect many readers will find themselves considering those two.

Greg has written a couple of great posts about the strengths of Asia Miles. In short, they can be terrific for long-haul business or first class (particularly on itineraries with mixed cabins). The downsides here are that they aren’t usually the cheapest option for flying Cathay Pacific and they pass on fuel surcharges on award tickets. See this further reading:

Greg and I have also written a number of posts on the strengths of Avianca LifeMiles, particularly the facts that there are no fuel surcharges and that mixed-cabin pricing and other oddities can be gamed to get great value. See this further reading:

Which program is better likely depends on where you want to go. Asia Miles won’t be much help for flying British Airways, but if you’re looking to fly other oneworld airlines (and particularly Cathay Pacific itself), Asia Miles can be a solid option. If Europe is your primary objective, LifeMiles would be my preferred option given the excellent Star Alliance coverage without fuel surcharges.

For many of us, the question will come down to this: Am I willing to buy miles at a cost of $0.01 per mile? Or more accurately, am I willing to give up the flexibility of $0.01 in cash for one airline mile?

Personally, I’m very tempted to throw caution to the wind and transfer instead to Emirates to use for business or first class between the US and Europe, but the rational part of me knows it would be silly to essentially pay $1,100 for Emirates miles without knowing when I’ll travel and whether Emirates will change its award pricing before then (thereby locking me out of the one decent value they still offer). Instead, I’ll probably transfer to Avianca. I can make excellent use of LifeMiles for domestic flights or flights to/from Europe (Newark is convenient for me and there is plenty of Star Alliance connectivity to Europe), and award rates to other parts of the world aren’t unreasonable. And I’ve been eyeing Buenos Aires for years, which would be easy enough with LifeMiles. I’m not incredibly excited to redeem for LifeMiles, but it seems like the best most practical use for me.

Bottom line

Brex temporarily closed my account and then reinstated it a couple of days later. In between, I spent some time thinking about Brex and determined that I’m just not particularly confident in Brex rewards as a long-term hold the same way that I’d hold Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards points. Instead, I’ll look to use my points as I earn them.

My experience with Brex Cash was downright confusing. I am not and was not upset that they decided not to do business with me for a hot minute – that’s their prerogative and would be fair given that my LLC was new (the activity and income stream of my LLC is not new, just the legal structure, but they would have no way to know that since they ask for no company history). However, the complete mixed messaging I received and half-hearted customer service response caused me to think twice about Brex and it didn’t give me more confidence. I don’t think that skepticism about Brex’s long-term viability as a rewards program or even as a platform would be a reason to miss out on a great bonus, but I’m less comfortable with Brex as a serious business finance entity than I was before. To be clear, Brex uses a bank that is FDIC-insured, so I don’t doubt that money in the bank is safe, but the lack of organization that the current spate of application issues have exposed and the lack of business banking experience of the founders leaves me less than bullish about Brex.

Separately but related, I recently wrote a post about things that sound too good to be true. That post talked about how those of us who have played the game a while know that things that sound too good to be true happen all the time and that you have to strike while the iron is hot when they do. In the case of Brex, I think that many of us (myself included) dove in head first because we recognized it as one of those golden opportunities. And it may yet be — plenty of people have been approved and have earned at least 100,000 points. That’s huge. But after spending some more time thinking about this (and I’ll note that at least one reader challenged me to do that sooner), I’m less confident in Brex than I was. I wouldn’t keep a large sum of money nor a large sum of points on hand with Brex until they become a more proven entity and fix some of their organizational mess. Maybe they will fix that, but in case they don’t I think it makes more sense to convert to a more established currency like airline miles or dollars and cents — and speaking of cash, I’ll be thinking twice about how much of mine I want Brex to manage moving forward.

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Apparently thanks to the 4,000 new customers they received during the SVB collapse they are again suspending and closing smaller accounts that survived the 2022 purge. My company does about $3 Million a year in receivables and we were just suspended and closed with no notice and no explanation other than “Read our Platform Agreement”. Because of this, we missed payroll this week and missed several ACH deposits that would have normally hit our account. It’s disappointing since we were a longer-term customer and they have obviously have no sense of loyalty. It was thousands of smaller companies like mine that helped them get to where they are today, but that’s obviously not important to them. I’m not sure why they can’t manage the smaller accounts and bigger accounts too? I have customers of all sizes from small mom and pops that do less than $1,000 a year up to large corporate customers that do hundreds of thousands per year.


Very strange all this BREX thing. This company they did in Brazil was never big company around here (Brazil), never heard about. But this guy Dubugras has the same name of a Bank Of America CEO in Brazil, I would guess his father is sponsoring somehow this marketing. I dont see nothing special with this Brex company.
I just cannot see a startup that says it is developing everything for the card management, depending on mastercard to process their card. In lithuania there are 40 companies like Brex.


Another wave of shutdowns in March/April 2022. Just got hit despite having weekly business deposits. They are giving a canned response and citing “risk”. Have 100k points stuck there and the rewards tab is greyed out. Didn’t move it earlier since Avianca and SQ are a bit annoying to stash at 🙁


Please proceed with caution with Brex. My account has been suspended for 2 weeks, with no communication from Brex beyond an automated response. Their chat support staff are unable/unwilling to provide any details. In my case, while not a great sum of money, they do have some of my money (not rewards money), which I cannot access. Not a lawyer, but seems to be in violation of Fed regulations over reasonable access to funds. I get they may need to review an account, but that should all be done BEFORE they ultimately approve your account and make it available for use. They also promised me the direct deposit would fail since the account was suspended. It went through anyway, after the account was suspended.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jason

Please How long before brex send back your money, I am facing same thing that happened to you, and am so confuse on how to go about it.


Nick, anyone ever tell you that you look just like Seth Rogers?


My 80,000 for 1k brex card spend bonus posted to my account last week, but then it disappeared from my account this morning.

Has anyone else had their 80,000 OMAAT bonus removed????


Yep, mine was clawed back. I have a negative balance…kicking myself for not transferring all points


Any insight into what might being going on with Brex clawing back bonuses ????

Greg The Frequent Miler

@Aaron and @Tak,
Was it specifically the 80K that was clawed back, but not the other 30K? Or maybe you hadn’t yet earned the other 30K? We’d like to investigate this but could use more info. If you’d prefer to email details, please send to admin at


80,000 was awarded, then clawed back, then reappeared again after being missing for 24 hours. No idea what happened.

Haven’t (yet) experienced any other issues.


Ugh mine is still gone.


Back as of today!


finally got approved by brex. In an apology email they say upon approval they’ll donate 2500 extra points as a token of appreciation. It’s not there. Also, when looking at the ‘track your rewards’ section, the offer for 80k pts after $1k spend isn’t there, but the 10k after $3k spend and the 20k after payroll link is there. Seems very fishy…

Sally rider

Such a huge failure on nick not doing his research until after the fact. Another reason I seldom take nicks advice and I really don’t know what he brings here to the table.


Well don’t read his stuff then! I personally like his stuff and you can tell he sincerely cares. Why knock a person that hasn’t done anything to you?!!?

[…] Brex closed (and reopened) Nick’s account and there’s some cause for concern by FM. […]

[…] Remember when I said incentives matter? I did not go for it and cautioned others to be careful. Brex closed (and reopened) Nick’s account and there’s some cause for concern. I left a comment there, I may paste it here. I need to move on, I hope it works out for you, I am […]


Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A financial institution cannot discriminate against (potential) customers. They also cannot hold onto your cash and deny you access


Brex may soon be an $8 billion company.

They definitely have the financial resources to pay and they have applied for a banking license as well so they can Operate with their own bank.

It’s not a surprise to me that they put the promotion on hold. It is far too generous. But I do think they that they will honor their previous commitments. Myself included as I haven’t been paid out any points yet.

Last edited 2 years ago by Brian

Everyone will have a different value equation, but for me it is not worth it to do points/miles opportunities which are fairly likely to cause problems, frustrations, and to require time to fix. When deciding to establish business relationships, I consider the reputation of the company for a hassle-free experience and efficient problem resolution very highly, equally with the expected return.


interesting info here. I wonder if some of this is based on the age of the business or age of the LLC? I have 3 LLC’s I use to purchase and rehab properties as well as own my own full retail residential real estate company(full time job). All 3 of my LLC’s are at least 7 to 8 years old(one is around 15 years old), I have tax id’s for all of them, and my credit score is close to 800 middle score. Do they do a soft pull? I opened 3 accounts, one for each llc and got instant approval on all 3 of them. I have ran my 1k spend through each of them and got my points which I converted to cash already…


I don’t have any accounts with Brex but here is an article about them from 2018.


2 questions:

How long from when the account was set up did you (anyone) get the 80,000 points?

When you redeem for cash, how do you get that? Do you have to now spend it on the card or does it go back to your outside bank source of funds or ???


Well, today I saw my 80K points on my account. All very good news. So I do have to say that apart from the weird method of the credit limit being only 80% of one’s balance (which itself is not available for some days after a transfer) this card has worked out well for me. I really like their simple, easy-to-use interface, no bugs online, quick chat response (despite many others saying it is hard to get hold of their support) and generally I like the experience.

And my physical card arrived today.


My experience: I had to wait 3 weeks for the account to be established, but it was. I like their simple interface and their Chat help is reasonably good. Much better than BofA during Covid anyway.

The 5-day hold is a bit annoying, but otherwise no complaints. I made a small deposit initially, set up some links, spend a small amount, transferred some points out – all just to make sure it worked. The transfer to Avianca was instantaneous.

So, all in all, as long as they stay in business, I will stay with them. Certainly better than a few other deals (FlexPoints for example). And as for SoFi – they never got back to me after “opening” my account.


I ditto most of your comments. I’ve opened two Brex accounts. One LLC established 2007 and one corporation established 1989. No problems whatsoever getting approved – instant almost. Thus far everything has moved right along. Had problems with PayPal (account I’ve had almost from PayPal’s beginning), but finally resolved. Second account with PayPal, no issues.

Made a points transfer today and got a confirmation and checked the airline all within a couple of hours. I too will stay as like you Frank, I’ve had more issues with BofA again accounts I’ve had forever it seems.


I had to stop reading immediately when you “researched” the company. 20 employees?Googling them would show they are close to 500 employees citing multiple sources/sites. I work in tech and we have lost plenty of skilled engineers to Brex because they are considered to be worth billions (top unicorn on almost every IPO list). This whole post seems like a tinfoil hat type post because Brex had some issues with verification/setup. Not defending their issues or customer service because that part seems like they need to fix ASAP. They are primarily a credit card company with great benefits for startups, so looks like they have more work to do on their banking ops. My guess is they are offering very rich banking promos to show off some stronger acquisition numbers for their investors, though I’m guessing retention for the churning crowd is going to be quite low (which I don’t think is good for Brex and a bit gimmicky).

In full disclosure: I didn’t open an account because I don’t have an LLC, but strongly considered making one for this bonus.

Last edited 2 years ago by Johnny

Nick, there is a reason why FM is one of my favorite travel points and miles sites. I had been eyeing the Brex promo for a while and was about to pull the trigger. I too had concerns about the company. I think I will play it safe for now and instead go for one of the more established financial institutions and their currencies. THANK YOU for writing this informative article. The article itself and the pic with your look on the front page completely made my day. Have a fabulous Thursday!


Second this. Even if I occasionally disagree with conclusions, FM do great work, best in the biz to me. Thoughtful analysis, as unbiased as humans can be, and trustworthy.

Ryan del Mundo

OMG that was soooooo long. I can’t read that much! Nick where’s the exec summary?


I hope you get your $5200 back!

John Kipper

I’m a founder of a start-up and Brex is a large and established company that lots of people I know swear by.

Brex is looking for loyal clients. It seems to me that if you created an LLC for the purpose of signing up for Brex, claiming your 100K points, and moving on, then Brex should have flagged you and shut you down. Amex and Chase do the same thing for churners.

Brex’s promo should have been tied to continued spend via Brex cash rather than a lump sum. But regardless, you were trying to game the system and got caught doing so.

I love FrequentMiler and your posts, but you have to understand that companies are interested in gaining long term clients, not point blog churners.

My experience with this promo was very positive, and I’m actually very happy with my new Brex Cash account for legitimate business usage.

John Kipper

Thank you for such a thoughtful reply. I think we can agree that Brex managed this promotion poorly from the perspective of: (a) where they advertised it; (b) the terms of receiving the bonus (should have been tied more to ongoing spend); (c) what businesses qualify; (d) speed of verification. They should have teamed up with AWS, for example, and targeted businesses that spend a certain minimum of $X monthly on hosting. Someone at Brex is going to get fired over this, but I can say based on knowing lots of employees of Brex in the Bay Area that it’s a legit company with top VCs backing it. I also don’t think there’s any risk of them going bankrupt: any other fintech company, AMEX, etc. would just acquire before that happened.


A correction if you will: If they asked for any dated business information, they would see how new the LLC was It’s public record about any state authorized entity – corps, llc, etc. Also your annual filing updates a lot of information about your company. Brex I’m sure is (has) checking that.


It is the company’s responsibility to set the rules of the game. We just play it. The problem here is the company did a very poor job aligning their offered incentive (upfront points no strings attached except being incorporated) with their desired activity(long term profitable clients). 110k points for little to no activity that would result in sales? Of course it’s going to be gamed. Why couldn’t they anticipate this, and structure their promotion accordingly? That’s their fault, nobody else’s.

Last edited 2 years ago by WR2
John Kipper

I 100% agree with the fact that Brex messed up the structure of their promotion. Just like saying I agree that Cathay shouldn’t have offered a $800 round trip first class flight. If Cathay hadn’t honored their promotion (they luckily did), it wouldn’t really be fair to point to Cathay’s management and say: “how dare you cancel my flight! you’re a failing airline.” For the purpose of this blog, it’s good to know Nick’s experience, but it went a bit too far in questioning Brex’s motives. Brex is a massive legit company with a marketing guy who messed up.


Brex is a large and established company that lots of people I know swear by.

Well, you wouldn’t know it from this promotion.


Nice honest article Nick and I like your analytical and thought provoking articles. But this one was just too long. You could have said everything in one-third the length that you did. It felt like you were trying to reach some sort of word count threshold. as it felt like I was reading the same paragraphs and sentences over and over.

I agree with many that people should take out their points and money sooner rather than later. It looks like Brex is incentivized to add customers, whether or not they are profitable, to evidence a proof of concept and get to their next round of VC funding. While this may or may not be a Ponzi scheme, I remember many such companies from the dot-com bubble days of the early 2000s that were lavishing rewards for customer acquisition funded by venture capital. Many of these start-ups disappeared when the music stopped causing losses to many in their wake.

Ryan del Mundo

Agreed it was a bit too long. Nick you’re great but we just need the short-and-sweet sometimes!


I suspect Brex regrets talking to Ben and promoting this offer. This is for businesses. Yes, every LLC was eligible. No, it wasn’t a great idea to just seek out points fans for this and get thousands of applicants overnight. They at least could’ve throttled the offer.

Brex is not flight by night. The insinuations about its lack of management, the founders being originally from Brazil, etc. are so far removed from the reality of this gigantic, well-backed fintech. And they go places in many readers’ minds that I know, Nick, you are not the type to normally go. At all.

I became aware of Brex 3 years ago and they’ve been sizzling ever since. Even airing the phrase The Plastic Merchant in this context is odd. Brex holds deposits in an FDIC-insured bank.

Brex has more than 500 employees, has raised hundreds of millions, has literally dozens of people in finance and legal (which loses a lot of sleep over compliance, I’m quite sure).

I know you Nick. I like you a great deal both as a human and as a writer and expert in this field. This piece feels close to a hit piece in some ways.


I love how people keep downvoting this comment. It really speaks volumes about the quality of discussion 🙁


I opened an account just recently and my email confirmation included and address for Brex.
405 Howard Street
Suite 200
San Francisco CA 94105


Called it.

No way this was a logical SUB that would create long term profitability. New company, few offerings so not many opportunities to upsell, not a bank so can’t make money on interest, and massively oversized bonus. Smelled like either a scam, a ponzi scheme (first few in get paid off, last ones in lose everything), or just a clueless and naive company who really thought everyone who signed up actually wanted their service long term.

Get your points and then get your cash out of their ASAP.

Sorry Nick, but the old saying still holds. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Yeah, maybe they thought they could sell other stuff, refer to other services, etc., but come on, there was no reasonable expectation by any normal person that this promotion would be legitimately profitable for them. None. Zero. CSR 100k was too generous, and they got $450 from you upfront, could charge 20% interest and lots of fees, and actually already do have lots of other financial services to sell you.

Considering they pulled the offer and they are pulling back on accounts tells me they probably aren’t scammers. They realize now their error and are looking for accounts that they know just want the points and won’t be real customers. I would guess a brand new LLC would be an easy red flag, and a good place for them to start. So the most likely explanation is incompetence, naivete, and really really bad forecasts, which I guess is a little better than a scam, but I don’t think that bodes well for their long term profitability prospects either.

So good luck to anyone who got their points, but consider it a gift from the VC fund and move on, the well is dry.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>there was no reasonable expectation by any normal person that this promotion would be legitimately profitable for them.

These days…growth in number of accounts….draws in VC with too cash looking for a place to stick it to. These guys know the game and…are trying to do it one more time like they did with pagar.
Sadly, it is our current gamified insane investing environment.

San Diego Mike

People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.


A certain blogger out there (me!) has been pounding about this company and that you should be careful out there!

I think it is great that this article was written and posted. But why aren’t bloggers doing the due diligence research BEFORE you recommend something to their readers!

I have been around long enough to “smell” something and make my decision fast and…move on. This was one of these times.

If you did it AND you got your money out AND cashed in the points, GREAT. I am happy for you. If you got caught in “customer service” hell, I feel for you…Sometimes, many things are not worth the potential heartache you know, we only live once and health is paramount!

But remember something else. When things appear too good to be true…sometimes they are and it takes TIME to realize it. As in, YOU are the product. I cringe when you have to upload business entity documents and even passports…This info is…out there….in some remote location all over the world…and…with so much hacking going on, why would you do this? I could understand if Chase or Citi did this but…Brex started by some kid in Brazil, seriously?

Incentives matter. The only ones TRUE winners here are TPG Inc and One Mile at a Time who made out like bandits selling this baby. If a class action lawsuit ever happens (before the venture capital money, if any, runs out that is) maybe it should catch all who were involved? Or, maybe I am paranoid about this but, like I said, been around long enough to trust my gut.

First, do no harm. Cardinal rule imho.

I would do a separate post about this but my blogging gig sure does not pay. Enjoy the hits!


A certain blogger out there (me!) has been pounding about this company and that you should be careful out there!

Just a standard pounding? Feeling merciful, were you?


Don’t understand the major risk here. Try to apply hopefully you get the points if not just wipe your nose and go further. The money you deposit is FDIC insured. I’m a blogger myself and I highly promoted this offer. But again I hope that people do get the points promised but in the worst case scenario I don’t see the big risk here. Why not promote such a awesome opportunity?

Greg The Frequent Miler

I agree, the promo was absolutely worth promoting (and will be again if it comes back). My take-away is that the best approach for anyone with an applicable business is:

  1. Sign up
  2. Meet the terms of the offer to earn the bonus
  3. Wait patiently for rewards to post
  4. Redeem the rewards
  5. Keep the account open (but without keeping money in it) to wait and see if Brex improves their systems enough to feel comfortable using them for things like payroll and whatnot. There’s always the chance too that they’ll offer additional incentives in the future for current account holders to use Brex more.

There’s very little risk in the above approach. I mean, yes, there’s high risk that the initial account setup process will be frustrating, but there’s no appreciable financial risk to you. The only financial risk I can think of is the possibility of money getting stuck and/or lost in the system. For example, when Nick’s account was closed (and before it was re-opened), Nick was reasonably worried not that they would purposely steal his money but that they could entirely lose track of that money and where it came from. With established organizations, that probably wouldn’t be a real risk, but with how scattered Brex’s systems seem to be, it’s an understandable worry. It appears to have turned out fine for Nick since his account was reinstated. For others, you can greatly reduce that risk by dribbling money into Brex. For example, add $500, spend $400. Add $400 more, spend $400, etc.

Brian G.

On Linkedin, 557 people claim to work for Brex. The way to check search for Brex and the company page will say how many profiles are Brex employees.


Thanks for this.

I immediately advised my sister, who has been going through weeks of issues with doing this deal, to cut her losses (she still hasn’t been able to fund it).

Coincidentally and unpleasantly, I received an email right afterward that both my cards were locked. No explanation.

I emailed but haven’t heard back yet. However it seemed like I was able to unlock them myself, though I haven’t yet confirmed it.

May finish spending and cash out.


Update: after unlocking it myself in app, was able to use successfully.


As an optimizer more than a dedicated churner, I evaluate and weight the business customer service reputation highly when deciding if I should go for each deal. It’s not worth the return if I know I’m subjecting myself to the potential for this sort of frustration.

Zippy Pam

Is there any licensing for Brex in the US? I am most concerned about an off shore “bank” that doesn’t allow for any recourse in the US.


Good questions!


As a former risk and compliance manager with the 2nd largest bank in the U.S., I have several thoughts. First, your money is not at risk since the cash management account is FDIC insured.

Second, although their account management practices are clumsy, to say the least, it is not at all unusual for a bank to shut down an account with no notice… they are trying to minimize risk. They may be just suspending the account pending verification of Know Your Customer information.

Third, based on the info in this article there is reasonable doubt about the long-term stability of the company or at least the points you have earned. The transfer rate could change at any time, they could claw back the points for just about any reason or they could decide to close marginally profitable accounts and your points would disappear. I’ll be transferring my miles to LifeMiles today.

I have opened two Brex accounts. I have received the 110K bonus on the first one and full functionality on the second is still pending (I have an account number, card number, etc. but can’t fund it yet).

Their posting process is pretty straightforward; the transaction appears the day the card was used and the “payment” (debit from your cash balance) posts the following day. One thing I really like is the text I get every time my card is used.

Online banks are still somewhat of a novelty and a healthy skepticism is warranted. Brex has already applied for their own banking license and if they pass muster with the federal regulators, Brex will likely survive.


Wow. What a surprise…

… (NOT)

Even a cursory read of comments on the (multiple) pimping posts at One Conversion at a Time, or a quick glance at FlyerTalk, or even using the Google would have set off alarm bells.

If anyone is having problems with Brex, I recommend using Tiffany at OCaaT to resolve your issues. She seems to be the only one able to reach the humans behind the Brex curtain.

Brexit now pipl… while you still can!


Thanks for sharing this lousy experience with all of us, Nick. I think the lesson to be learned here is to be wary of newcomers with big promises. We all get caught up in the lure of the free stuff and sometimes forget to kick the tires and check under the hood. I hope this turns around for you and everyone that signed up with Brex.


Do you smell that? It smells like the toast is burning. I’m old enough to remember when the Savings & Loan would give you a free toaster if you opened a $100 passbook savings account. Maybe it’s just me, but I would have been mighty skeptical if they had offered an entire pallet of toasters for a $10 deposit. Any fool knows that even if they are some off brand junk, I could sell them for $1 each and make a handsome profit, but what if the S&L told me that I could also trade those Yugo toasters for shiny new Hamilton Beach toasters if I want? Let’s do the math. $10 invested and I get 96 brand new Hamilton Beach toasters.
I mean, what could go wrong?

Larry K

It is super disappointing to me that the blogs that were the most aggressive about pumping Brex have not made a post like this despite weeks of similar datapoints. One in particular that I would suggest is in so deep that its reputation and Brex’s are forever linked. And it is just crickets. It is a good reminder for those who generate revenue in these ways that you can spend a lifetime building a reputation but lose it in an instant. I am truly grateful that FM is the one place I can always count on to play it straight.

Last edited 2 years ago by Larry K

It’s ALL about the conversions. ALWAYS has been, ALWAYS will be.


They can call themselves lucky if this doesn’t damage their reputation.


Thanks for the serious examination, Nick. That’s what makes this site so invaluable. One lesson clearly is not to treat these points like other transferrable points. I am glad I moved my entire 93,000 to LifeMiles as soon as they posted. In most situations it is smart to sit on points and wait for a specific reward opportunity for the transfer, but I wouldn’t do that here.
It looks like they bit off more than they can chew, and tried to grow too fast before they knew how to handle the business. We’ll have to see what direction it goes. I thought the setup had some promising features for my small business activity, but for the moment, I’ll draw down my remaining funds and wait and see.


I opened a Brex account when OMAAT first posted about it. I was going to actually use it, try to accumulate points and eventually transfer them to an airline when I had a use. As soon as I saw a bunch of other blogs posting about it I knew Brex wouldn’t be able to handle it. I transferred my points and closed my account. Glad I got in and out when I did. Easiest 110k I ever earned. Honestly I’m skeptical that Brex will even survive after this. Probably 99% of their new accounts were just to get the points and Brex will never see a benefit from them.


This needs to be higher for people to consider. This is what I keep coming back to, they have targeted a churning community of users who will take the $1,100 and run. Their long term profitable customer acquisition from this is . . . . paltry to non-existent. Further supports the take the .01/point in cash and run in my book.


Reminds me of The Points Merchant.

Must be 20 red flags there.


Sorry, “The Plastic Merchant.”


I am too old and cynical and jaded to get involved with stuff like this. Been burned too many times over 40 years.

Of course, I knew about Bitcoin from the beginning and did not bother messing with it. So maybe my judgment is not that great.


in fairness TPM didn’t have the kind of venture capital backing that Brex has

At this point I would be concerned that just as some wishful thinking appears to have been applied to their ability to process customers, that some degree of interpretation was done in terms of the actual commitments they have for backing (and other aspects of their story).


And TPM didn’t have transit advertising all over Silicon Valley like Brex last year.


Great article. I didn’t know much about this info as I haven’t been following the Brex info so thanks for informing me of concerns


For me, the hassle isn’t worth it. Sorry you had to go through that but happy you did so I didn’t have to.

Todd Berman

My account was suspended almost immediately after being approved. I setup my PayPal account transfer by confirming with two small deposits. I also then transferred $100 to my Brex account from Paypal as a trial. The $100 posted a couple of days later and then that evening I received an email that my account is suspended and that it will be reviewed by a Brex member and that someone will reach out within 5 days. It’s been about 3 weeks now and despite chatting twice and emailing once I am still suspended. The people I chatted with said someone will be reaching out and that they’ve escalated my case. Nada. I have no faith that the account will be restored.


I wonder if the PayPal transfer has anything to do with shutdowns.

I guess I figured the airlines thoroughly researched Brex before partnering with them. It will be interesting to see if Brex is still in business in a year. I plan to cash out my points and use the card to help build business credit but not keep much $ in the account.

Billy Bob

Used to be that you could pay $12 and get Singapore miles extended for I think 6 months.


I believe you can still get them extended but $12 per 10,000 miles.


or you can pay in Singapore miles to extend. You can also extend only once (apart from the present Covid issues).


This post is way too long. The introduction is all rehash. Just point people to another post for the repetitive stuff and get to the new stuff.


Great great great article. Refreshing to see a post on brex that is thoughtful analysis and not the ridiculous paid puff pieces floating on other sites

One small correction. If amex shuts you down they most definitely do not give you an opportunity to use your points. They go poof right away


You can redeem points by calling Amex by phone for up to 30 days

a l

yes, but will Cathay or LifeMiles survive the ongoing demand-destruction wrought by the pandemic?


I “gambled” and transferred my 113k points to Cathay. I put a total of maybe 15 minutes of effort and $0 into potentially earning 90% of a first class ticket about 2/3 of the way around the world. If I somehow lose the points and those 15 minutes of effort, not a big deal.