American Express Upgrade and Downgrade Strategies

Vinh at Miles Per Day is probably most notoriously known for being shutdown from just about every service out there, and if he avoids a shutdown there’s probably some restriction on his account in place instead.

The latest version in the saga of Vinh’s trek to shutdown with American Express involves clawed back upgrade bonuses, and that post mixed with a request from reader Rich for American Express upgrade and downgrade strategies leads to a discussion about a few American Express rules to live by, in order to avoid having your bonuses clawed back from the Rewards Abuse Team (RAT):

  • When you open a card and get a bonus, keep it open for at least 12 months
  • When you upgrade a card and get a bonus, keep it open for at least 12 months
  • When you accept a retention offer, keep it open for at least 12 months
  • Upgrading a card to a higher annual fee card is ok at any time, even within the first 12 months
  • It’s ok to accept an upgrade offer right after downgrading, but keep it open for at least 12 months
  • Downgrading a card is only ok after 12 months from one of the above events

See a pattern there? American Express doesn’t clawback bonuses provided you do the above. There is one well known clawback case, but it is singular in nature, was tied to a promotional uncapped grocery spend bonus, and had nothing to do with sign-up bonuses, retention bonuses, or upgrading and downgrading.

Now with that out of the way, let’s briefly discuss manufactured spend: American Express rarely shuts people down for manufactured spend, rather they give you a financial review if it’s excessive or just stop awarding points at a particular retailer, like Simon Mall gift cards. You can be more blatant with manufactured spend at American Express than most banks, so probe away.

Happy Wednesday friends!

AmEx only pulls these (checks notes) clawback tools out if the meat is less than a year old.

Related Posts

One thought on “American Express Upgrade and Downgrade Strategies

Comments are closed.