Brex closing many accounts, “changing strategy”. Should you transfer speculatively or cash out?

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Brex sent emails to many cardholders yesterday (including members of the Frequent Miler team) indicating that our accounts will be closed on 8/15/22. Brex has posted information on its website indicating that these closures are due to changes to their strategy and that they are now “less suited to meet the needs of smaller customers”. This differs from shutdowns related to what Brex perceived as abuse — this latest round of closures are happening even to people with very little or very moderate use of their Brex accounts and the closures seem pretty widespread. The good news is that you have time to redeem your rewards.

a black card with a chip on it

Here is the text of the email that both Greg and I and many others have received:

Dear [name],

We want to let you know that as of August 15, 2022, Brex will no longer be able to offer you our services due to a change in how we determine account eligibility. Brex regularly reviews its services, and due to a change in company strategy, we do not believe we will be able to provide a great level of service for your business moving forward. We’re sorry that this transition may create an extra burden for you and our team is here to help you work through the account closure over the next several weeks.

Actions you need to take:

  • Proactively close your account through your Brex dashboard.
  • Withdraw any funds in your account before August 15, 2022, by following these steps.
  • Update any outstanding instructions or recurring payments that use your Brex account details.
  • Provide new and updated bank instructions to your vendors and other payment recipients.
  • Redeem any available rewards points prior to your account closure.

If you do not take any action before August 15, 2022, your account will be automatically closed, and we will hold your funds until you request the return of your funds or the funds are escheated, as required by law.

You can also find a list of FAQs here.

We are grateful for the opportunity to have supported your business, and wish you all the best going forward. If you need assistance, please reach out to support@brex.com.

The Brex Team

I can say that in my case, I have used the account very little over the past year. It occasionally made it out of my pocket for a restaurant charge and I had a Plastiq charge here and there, but it has seen very little use in 2022. With all of the huge Amex card offers we’ve seen over the past year, I just haven’t had much reason to carry the Brex card.

Interestingly, my wife, who hasn’t used her card more than three or four times since meeting the welcome bonus spending requirements, has not (yet) received the shut down email. I certainly expect that she will sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, many people are asking what to do with their Brex points. Brex has a number of decent transfer partners. In my opinion, the best options are:

  • Avianca LifeMiles for excellent Star Alliance sweet spots and points that you can easily top off with Amex Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou points, but only transfer to Avianca if you know you won’t let your miles expire. The mileage expiration policy is among the shortest out there with miles expiring after just 12 months of inactivity.
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: This can be a good option since miles you transfer today won’t expire as long as you earn or redeem at least 1 mile every 18 months and Asia Miles can also be topped off with either Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou points. AsiaMiles can be useful for oneworld flights since they have a competitive award chart for longer itineraries (sometimes with lower surcharges) and expanded availability on their own flights. More details about Asia Miles sweet spots here.
  • Air France / KLM Flying Blue: This could be an appealing option since award rates to/from Europe are reasonable, particularly during their Promo Rewards sales, and miles are easily combined with points from your other transferable currencies. As long as you never credit a flight to Flying Blue, your miles can be extended by transferring from Amex, Chase, Citi, Capital One, or Bilt at least once every 24 months. Read about Flying Blue sweet spots here.

There are certainly reasons you may consider other programs in the list. Emirates and Singapore miles are the ticket to premium cabins on those airlines since they both reserve nearly all premium cabin space for members of their own programs (and they also partner with most of the major transferable currencies). Aeromexico has expanded access to Delta availability. Qantas has its moments. If you know you have a use in one of those programs, great. However, I think the three above are the programs I would be considering if I were going to consider a speculative transfer.

In my case, I’m leaning toward just cashing out our remaining Brex points. The Amex points parade has been marching to a heavy beat these past couple of years, so I feel reasonably confident that I am set in terms of having access to the miles I would need in any of the above programs for the next couple of years. I could pick a program to which to speculatively transfer in order to keep my Membership Rewards more flexible (or cash those points out at a better rate of 1.1c per point vs the 1c per point that I’ll get cashing out Brex points). However, I’ll probably keep things simple here and just cash out unless I decide that using one of these programs will be the way I crush Stephen and Greg in our latest challenge — so I might wait until after next week’s draft to see which cards I secure and which programs I decide to use. That said, I wouldn’t recommend waiting until the end to cash out here. I’ll likely use up my remaining Brex points this month rather than waiting until August.

Overall, it’s disappointing to see Brex pull out of the small business market. Despite my early reservations based on some early sloppiness with their approval process and app, I was rooting for them — I was happy to have an extra no annual fee card in my wallet with 4x transferable points on dining for those times when I’ve been at a restaurant and realized that we left the Amex Gold card at home. It doesn’t sound like Brex is closing up shop, they just aren’t interested in serving smaller business customers. As disappointed as I am, it’s great that they have given us all the heads up to use our rewards and withdraw our money with plenty of advance notice.

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