Cancelling Your American Express Card
If you really want to make the most of American Express Membership Reward Point bonuses, then every now and then you’ll need to cancel a card. There are a few reasons for this:
- To manage the number of active cards you have
- To avoid any annual fee once you’ve received your spend bonus (for example Amex Gold is free in year one, with a 20,000 points bonus, but then £140 in year 2)
- So that you can apply and get the bonus again in the future (after 6 months you can re-apply to Amex and be eligible for the bonus again).
There are a few useful things to note about cancelling Amex cards:
– You can cancel by logging in and using ‘Live Chat’ or by calling the number on the back of your card.
– You can cancel immediately at any time, and usually receive a pro rata refund for any annual card fee.
– You MUST transfer or spend your Membership Reward points, or you will lose them when you close the account.
– You must clear any outstanding balance on the account (obviously!)
– Generally you’ll get to keep any hotel status attached to a card for the remainder of that status year (e.g. if you have Hilton Gold via Amex Platinum you’ll retain this until the end of the calendar year)
– The same doesn’t apply to airport lounge passes or insurance, these are linked to your Amex card and are cancelled as soon as your account is closed.
How Easy is it to Cancel?
Generally I hate the ‘chore’ of cancelling stuff – mostly because of the long-winded and awkward conversations you have to hold with ‘retentions’ departments. Not to mention the time spent on hold, being transferred and trying to get to the right place. To avoid this, I try to cancel by on the website or via live chat where possible. However, this can be complicated and time-consuming (or just impossible in some cases). I remember once being stuck in a 45 minute live chat exchange with Sky TV trying to cancel and eventually resorting to typing in capital letters in frustration!
Anyway, this morning I wanted to cancel my Amex Gold – I’ve hit the bonus, used the lounge passes and have other Amex cards, so I intend to re-apply in 6 months. Although all the Amex information says to call the number on the back of your card to cancel, this time I thought I’d try ‘Live Chat’ and it was actually the most straightforward cancellation I’ve ever done! It basically consisted of an immediate connection followed by: ‘Can I ask why you’d like to cancel?’ Then two security questions and a request that I confirm immediate cancellation. It took about 3 minutes, and when I checked my account afterwards the card immediately showed as cancelled. So the answer is, very easy – you’re unlikely to be bombarded with questions and offers, or to experience any complicated cancellation process.
Ironically I might have been tempted by a bonus points retention offer – but it is always refreshing to be able to cancel so conveniently and quickly. As I’ve said before, generally I find the customer experience with American Express very good – and an easy cancellation process reinforces that for me.
N.B.. Disclaimer: This is an amateur, personal blog. The above is correct, to the best of my knowledge, at the time of writing, but it is your own responsibility to check any T&C’s directly before making decisions about financial products.