Amex Cuts Employee Card Perks From Business Centurion Card
While the ever-exclusive Business Centurion Card from American Express charges an astronomical $2,500 annual fee, the perks that come with it make the invitation-only corporate card worth it for some high-budget businesses. Unfortunately, it seems as if Amex is cutting one of the primary benefits employers were able to give to their additional cardholders: the ability to earn points for their personal accounts.
Here is an excerpt from the letter TPG reader and Business Centurion cardholder received detailing the changes:
“Starting September 28th:
- Purchases with your Additional Business Card will earn points for your Basic Business Card Member’s Rewards program account
- Purchases with your Additional Business Card will no longer earn points for your Additional Membership Rewards program account, and your program account will be cancelled.”
Under the current benefits structure, primary cardholders can pay an additional annual fee to add more cardholders to the account; those cardholders have the opportunity to opt into an Additional Membership Rewards program. This program allowed additional cardholders to keep the points they earned with their card in a separate account and redeem them on their own terms.
For large businesses that pay for some of their top employees to carry company cards, this benefits program was a huge factor in why a business would choose to pay another $2,500 for an Additional Centurion Business Card rather than use a less-expensive option.
However, effective immediately, Amex will no longer offer the option for new additional cardholders to have their own Membership Rewards account. Effective September 28, all points earned with additional business cards will funnel into the primary cardholder's program account. Additionally, those who are currently enrolled in an Additional Membership Rewards program will have until October 31, 2019, to redeem their points before they are forfeited and their Additional Membership Rewards program accounts are closed.
When we reached out to Amex to confirm these changes, this is the official statement they gave:
“We recently notified Business Card Members about upcoming changes to the Additional Membership Rewards program for Employee Cards. As of September 28, 2019, purchases charged on Additional Business Cards will earn points for the Basic Business Card Member’s (primary Card holder’s) program account. After the change takes effect on September 28, 2019, card members will only be able to redeem points by calling the number on the back of their Card. Enrolled Additional Business Card Members will have until October 31, 2019 to redeem accumulated points otherwise they will be forfeited. There will be no interruption to Additional Business Card usage.”
According to an Amex representative, the decision to "streamline" the benefit structure for additional business cards was made because most additional business cardholders never opted into the Additional Membership Rewards program — a justification that sounds similar to Citi's reasoning for its recent benefits cut.
For employees who have racked up hundreds of thousands of points with their company cards, this means they have approximately four months to redeem those rewards before they're gone forever. Because Amex doesn't allow cardholders to move points between different accounts, there doesn't seem to be a workaround to avoid losing any unredeemed points come October 31st.
The only good news is that it doesn’t look like any other perks are being cut at this time. While this is definitely a devaluation of additional business cards, the change doesn't negatively affect primary account holders.
The premium perks Centurion cardholders enjoy — including the use of a personal concierge, unlimited earning potential and premium travel benefits you won’t find with any other credit card — are here to stay. However, it might be time to reevaluate whether paying thousands of dollars each year for additional business cards is worth it.