American Express to reduce frequent flyer points on some cards

Holders of various American Express cards have been receiving communications from American Express advising that from 1 November 2015 they will moving to a new  Membership Rewards ‘Gateway’ scheme. For affected customers, this will move them from the current Ascent program.

The biggest affect of this appears to revolve around a reduction in the number of Frequent Flyer points that customers will be able to receive when redeeming Membership Award points. In addition, the number of loyalty program schemes that are available for points redemption is being reduced.

The new Gateway program starts in November, and American Express have published to following chart to show the new redemption rates.

As can be seen from the redemption chart, four MR points will buy three frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. At present those same four MR points, would get 4 points with most airlines. In the case of Air New Zealand, 400 MR points will be needed to get three Air New Zealand Airpoints dollars.

The published charts for the new program also reflect that some options will no longer be available. For example, the new redemption charts do not show redemptions to Virgin Atlantic or Starwood being available.

The cards that appear to be affected by this change are those that come with no annual fee. These include include the no-fee American Express Gold and Blue credit cards. In additions, some affinity cards offered to members of professional institutions such as Engineers Australia Gold Credit Card will be affected.

As mentioned, American Express are in the process of writing to affected card members.

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