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I have been saying for a couple of years now that playing games with American Express is just not worth it. Amex can be very nice to you if you play by their rules. But as soon as you start to venture into gaming territory, that is when things will not go well for you at some point.
New shutdowns by American Express
There appears to be another round of shutdowns by American Express going on.
We don’t know exactly why these shutdowns are occurring but there seem to be some common trends.
One of the biggest trends is people doing self referrals. This means that they were generating a referral link from one of their own cards and then applying for a new card using that referral link.
We have known that this is a risky tactic for a little while and I have been warning people to proceed with caution from the very beginning. As of now, I would avoid this method at all costs unless you want to take a major risk of losing your points.
Other potential risks for getting shut down involved buying gift cards to hit your minimum spend requirements. For example, if you have purchased Visa gift cards to get your minimum spend, you could be at risk for a shutdown.
Banks are clamping down
I have heard rumors that some issuers are now going to greater things to systematically identify gamers. Things are not like they were in 2015, when it truly was still the wild west out there for the rewards.
Nowadays, many of the tricks that people are relying on come with huge risks of getting shutdown and are easily discovered by banks.
My advice is to just acquire credit cards at reasonable pace.
A reasonable pace to me just means leaving a few months (3+) between credit card applications.
You should also avoid things like purchasing gift cards to hit minimum spend requirements, applying for cards with suspicious links (links that don’t look like they were intended to be used by the public), self referrals, and canceling cards within one year of use.
Basically, if you encounter a way to make a quick come up by doing things like jumping on multiple promotions/offers, buying gift cards when the terms exclude them, etc., that could potentially be grounds for a shutdown in the future.
Going into 2020 and beyond, you do not want to mess with American Express!
And honestly now that we have a better bonus categories with cards like the Gold card, Platinum, and even now the Green Card, there are more ways to earn points organically.
Sure things won’t be quite as lucrative but I would rather have fewer points but no risk of getting shutdown. You can read about the shutdowns in this thread.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.