Many Amex Cards No Longer Earn Points on Gift Card Purchases

Aug 4, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.      

American Express has long been known as the strictest of the major credit card issuers, especially when it comes to any perceived abuse of the Membership Rewards program. The terms and conditions of every Amex credit card state that Amex has the right to take back your points or shut down your account if it believes you attempted to game the system, and Amex has made good on this threat a number of times over the years.

A frequent target of Amex crackdowns has been gift card purchases. Many people buy gift cards (to be used eventually at stores they frequent) to help meet a minimum spending requirement, but Amex has explicitly forbidden this practice for a while. Now, Doctor of Credit is reporting that the prohibition on gift cards has been expanded to regular everyday points earning. Many Amex cards now feature a section in their terms and conditions describing what constitutes an “eligible purchase” for the purpose of earning points. The screenshot below was taken from the American Express® Gold Card and clearly indicates that purchasing a gift card does not count as an eligible purchase, and therefore won’t earn any points.

The good news is that this change doesn’t appear to be affecting all Amex cards. In addition to the American Express® Gold Card, it has affected the Blue Business®️ Plus Credit Card From American Express and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, which are both showing gift card exclusions for everyday spending. But The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card are not. It’s possible that Amex is adding this restriction to specific cards they felt were being abused (especially the 4x bonus categories on the Amex Gold), but there’s a good chance we will see these terms and conditions rolled out to more cards in the near future.

After many years of offering increasing bonuses and perks to attract new customers, card issuers are changing their approach and focusing more on attracting and retaining customers who will be valuable in the long term. You absolutely should not buy gift cards on an Amex to meet your minimum spending requirement, but if you frequently buy gift cards for other reasons it might be time to start looking for a different card to put these purchases on. Be sure to check out TPG’s list of top cards for everyday spending and best cards for grocery purchases if you need some new options in your wallet.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.