[Update] Waves of Amex shut downs this week


Update 11/16/21: A reader whose account was closed in this ordeal has reached out to let us know that some accounts have been reinstated for a $25 fee. If you were unfairly shut down, it may be worth calling.


Reports at Miles to Memories and Doctor of Credit indicate a wave of Amex shut downs in recent days (several waves I believe). I imagine that most readers won’t be affected by this, but with increasing reports I figured it was worth a quick post to highlight what happened and how to avoid being shut down like this.

a red axe stuck in a tree stump

It sounds like the initial wave of shut downs were people who applied for a specific card with a specific rep through an Amex Midmarket Sales Offer because this rep either had a special offer that did not include lifetime language or would make sure that applicants bypassed application rules (to get a welcome bonus on a card they had had before). It seems reasonable to guess that Amex caught on to what this rep was doing and dropped the hammer on anyone who applied through that rep side-stepping bonus rules. It sounds like even one application through that rep — and even if that one application was a couple of years ago — may have been enough to get the axe.

It certainly isn’t fair of Amex to punish customers for what sounds like a commission-hungry employee’s actions, but at the same time I think Amex has established firmly enough that this type of behavior is playing with fire (and some people brought a book of matches while others brought flame-throwers). I imagine that some in the first wave of shutdowns weren’t surprised — they took a calculated risk and got whatever they came for.

However, the pain point here is that some people only did this one or two times and in some cases even a couple of years ago. It seems very reasonable that someone would expect an offer being read off over the phone directly from an American Express representative was legitimate. Along the same lines, I don’t know if there are any folks who called and were randomly directed to this rep and got shut down. Either way, that would stink. I have heard from some cardholders who had only opened one Business Platinum card for a new business and had only done legitimate spending on the card. Unfortunately, having opened the card through this single employee appears to have marked them for shut down.

While my initial thought was that those opening through a rep with an outlier offer like this knew that there was some risk. On the flip side, who would expect an Amex sales representative to feed them an offer that will cause their accounts to be shut down? Surely there were some who expected to be shut down, but it seems that Amex has thrown out the baby with the bathwater here.

In the last day, we’ve seen additional reports in the comments of posts of people who claim to have applied through mailer offers with no lifetime language who were also shut down. I believe this may have even affected people who used a mailer in their name that did not include lifetime language. If true (we’re still not sure), that would be awful. If Amex has targeted you and sent you an offer that didn’t indicate you were ineligible, it would stand to reason that you’d be eligible for the offer — and certainly not at risk of an account shutdown.

While many regular blog readers may be familiar with Amex’s once-per-lifetime language that typically exists on their credit card offers, I imagine that the vast majority of Amex cardholders probably have no idea that most offers indicate you can only get the bonus once per lifetime. It would seem pretty unreasonable to close accounts that applied through a legitimate mail offer that didn’t indicate rules of eligibility for the bonus. Unfortunately, we’ve seen Amex be heavy-handed before — so while that scenario sounds completely unfair, it isn’t shocking.

Miles to Memories is now reporting some shut downs among people who took advantage of the  “Expand your Membership” offers. For months, Amex has been targeted existing Business Platinum cardholders to open a second Business Platinum card. It isn’t clear to me whether this wave is affecting people who only opened one additional Business Platinum card or if it is limited to those who used physical mailers or whether the reports of these “Expand Your Membership” shut downs are accurate. I haven’t yet heard reports of people who applied through links in their online accounts who have been shut down, but the story is clearly still developing.

The bottom line here is that Amex continues to move aggressively against those that they feel are gaming them. While I feel like the perception of Amex’s penchant for shutdowns is sometimes overblown, this case shows that there is real risk to stepping outside the bounds. The hardest part is not knowing where they will draw the line if they are shutting down accounts on people who opened an account through an Amex rep. Hopefully not many readers find themselves caught up in this one.

If you do find that your accounts are closed and you catch it quickly enough, you should be able to transfer points out to partners — though I understand that functionality doesn’t last for long beyond account closure, so you may want to keep a close eye on your account in the coming days if you think you have cause for concern.

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[…] ourselves when this opportunity first arrived on September 30th. Little did we know just days into October massive account closures would occur, apparently tied to approvals of extra Business Platinum […]

[…] Bonus offers from a referral link are often the same as the publicly available offer. There are times when a referral link is lower. For example, I’ve asked people not to use our link for a 60,000 point bonus when there was an 80,000 bonus available. In rarer cases, a referral link can be better than a public offer, but I make sure I know who those links are from before using them. […]

[…] Update: Waves of Amex Shut Downs this Week […]

Bulls Fan

So 45 days before the AF is due on my existing Biz plat (which earned 100k bonus ~a year ago(I also had 2 in the past- all 3 earning a welcome bonus of 100k over the years), I get an email offering me 150K to get a new one with no lifetime language that I can see. Nit to mention that I JUST yesterday got and accepted an offer to add up to 5 employee green cards for 20k MR each with $4k spend- which I expect(hope now) to be able to collect before closing my acct in front of the AF.

What to do?

Email subject line below, my name and email address in the body of the message and happy to copy/paste entire TOC if anyone wants to look here…

Earn 150k Membership Rewards Points after you add the reimagined Business Platinum Card to your wallet.


Well, what do you plan to do? I am in a similar situation.

Bulls Fan

I was gonna just shut it down and keep my personal platinum open because I’m too lazt to reset everything that’s on autopay and my Hilton/Hertz/etc/etc that are all set to the personal card- BUT, now I’m thinking maybe get the new 150kMR biz and shut the current one down as soon as my AU bonuses post in a few weeks and then let the personal plat die too. Not THAT hard to re-link everything and that’s a lot of points…


Make sure you keep the current one for a year or else you could invite retribution.


Am I right in saying these comment used to be sorted so that the most recent was at the bottom?


Sorry, it seems to be working correctly now.

[…] 11/18/21: According to Frequent Miler some people have been able to get their accounts reinstated by paying a $25 fee. I don’t see […]


I applied for and was approved for a Business Platinum a few months ago. I have spent the required amount and received my bonus points and am using the card regularly. Everything is good.

Then, just today, I received an email to me on my business email from Amex showing a picture of my existing Platinum card with my name on it, my business name and last 5 digits of the card – suggesting I might like another business Platinum card and a bonus of 150,000 points (which is more than my original bonus was on my current card) after spending $15K. And a reduced 1st year fee of only $595 instead of $695.

Is this a trap? I would love 150K more points, but I also have a large stack of Amex points i don’t want confiscated.

What am I to do?

Even if I were to transfer out all my 500K or so Amex points to airlines so I couldn’t lose them if this is a trap (something I would only do if I were guaranteed to get the new bonus … in which case I wouldn’tneed to protect these points in the first place!!) I still don’t want to upset my relationship with Amex.

How can I get a guarantee this is a genuine offer? It looks genuine, though I haven’t looked for the once in a lifetime language yet but if they are targeting me knowing I have the card, how can this not be a genuine offer unless it is entrapment? Why would Amex try to entrap me? I think I am a good customer now, spending on various cards regularly.

What is going on? Totally bewildered.


I am in the same boat here, I have now 2 biz plats and got an offer for a 3rd. I am going to take the bait and hope for the best!


Well, good luck.


Please leave a note on what happens to you.

[…] (Nov. 17, 2021) – Frequent Miler reports that Amex is reinstating accounts for some people that were shut down. But they are […]


Nick: Do you think we risk being shut down for opening additional cards for authorized users to take advantage of the 20,000 points in response to targeted offers to do so? My wife and I both have Platinum cards and both received such an offer. We finally clicked on it, adding each other as authorized Gold Card user on our respective accounts. I looked carefully through all of the T&Cs and did not see anything prohibiting us from adding as an authorized user anyone who already has a Platinum or a Gold card. But just wondering if you have heard of anyone being shut down for that. If so, we can still call in and cancel those additional cards before putting any spend on them. Thanks!

No One In Particular

Between personal and business spending, I put seven figures on my Amex cards year to date — and the first digit isn’t a one. Recently, Amex initiated a financial review. Fair enough. But, rather than go through my Amex business relationship manager, my first clue that something was happening was when I receive email after email from Google Pay that ALL of my cards were suspended. Upon calling Amex, I then learned what was going on. Bad form to say the least.

For the record, every single charge was a legitimate charge. No funny business. All merchants were recognized businesses. Never carried a balance.

The challenge was that my business team was unable to charge expenses during the entire review period. (It makes one feel as if one is being called a crook.) This necessitated moving charges to other card issuers. Roughly three and a half weeks later, all of my Amex cards were reactivated . No shutdowns. After all of this, I reached out to my Amex business relationship manager. I never received a response.

I simply can’t afford a repeat of this. To me, Amex is a risk to me and my company. There is no way any of those charges will be heading back to Amex.


Love my Ink never any trouble only $50K one year. Get rid of the Hassle not worth it.


A $25 fee? How can this be real?


Yeah, WTH is with this fee? I don’t understand.


Reminds me of the time a uniformed security guard at the Cairo airport asked me for a tip because he let my family go through the metal detector/x-ray checkpoint (which we did not set off anyway).

[…] also been seeing mixed reports of shutdowns from people who used targeted, no-lifetime language mailers, though I’ve as of yet been […]

Casey Mitcheltree

I was shut down by AMEX about two years ago. They closed all my accounts. My spouse has the AMEX platinum card with the free AU. When he went to add me, they were hesitant. I had to talk to them on the phone. I was very polite and I was honest about them shutting me down. They finally agreed to let be be added as an AU. How long do you think I need to wait before I can open my own AMEX card again? Just curious.

No One In Particular

Truly, likely seven years. But, I’ve heard of 10 and 15 years. It would likely depend on the seriousness of what Amex thinks you did.

[…] If you have been axed by American Express, read the comments too, by Frequent Miler. […]

[…] week has passed, which means reports of the AMEX RAT team in full force shutting down accounts. While I asked if AMEX would remain aggressive with shutdowns with the travel downturn, the RAT has […]