Can You Transfer Amex Membership Rewards Points Between Family Members?
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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Associate Editor Brendan Dorsey.
Pooling points amongst two or more people is a great way to get closer to an award redemption, but unfortunately not all credit card and loyalty programs allow it. So TPG reader Cal wants to know if she’ll have any luck with American Express…
I’m an authorized user on my husband’s Amex Premier Rewards Gold. We want to transfer some of his points to me, preferably to my personal Amex Platinum (he is not an authorized user on my cards) or failing that to a frequent flier account in my name. Can he do this?TPG Reader Cal
Not all credit card programs are created equal, so while Chase allows family members living at the same address to transfer Ultimate Rewards points between accounts, and Citi allows transfers to nearly anyone who has ThankYou points, American Express is much more restrictive. The issuer doesn’t allow for the transferring of Membership Rewards points to other accounts, even for family members living under the same roof.
However, if Cal’s ultimate goal is to get her husband’s points into one of her travel loyalty accounts, then she’s in luck. There’s a workaround to this restriction.
American Express allows authorized users to be added to all of its Membership Rewards earning cards. You can add practically anyone as an authorized user onto your account — they don’t have to be a family or friend. Just make sure it’s someone you trust as they’ll be able to spend on the card!
In this case, Cal could be added as authorized user on her husband’s Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, and then he could transfer his Membership Rewards points into her loyalty account at one of Amex’s 19 transfer partners.
This could work the opposite way too — Cal could add her husband as an authorized user on her Platinum Card® from American Express and then transfer her Membership Rewards points into his frequent flyer or hotel loyalty account.
And don’t worry — being an authorized user won’t disqualify you from receiving a welcome bonus on an Amex card (though it will potentially affect your 5/24 count for Chase cards, so keep that in mind).
Note that it costs $175 (total) to add the first three authorized users to an Amex Platinum account, then $175 for every additional cardholder (See Rates & Fees). Amex Platinum authorized users receive all the of the card’s benefits like lounge access and hotel elite status. However, you can also add up to 99 Gold Card authorized users (on a Platinum account) for no fee, which in this case would be perfect.
On the Premier Rewards Gold card, the first five authorized users are free to add, costing $35 for each person after that. So Cal and her husband should be able to move points in either direction just by adding each other as free authorized users.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
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