Amex shuts down “old” Blue Cash accounts

Flyertalk has been lighting up with reports from those who have had their “old” Blue Cash credit card accounts suddenly closed.  Some discovered the closure when logging into their accounts.  Others received emails like the one posted by silver6054:

Log in to Manage Your Account Online

We are contacting you to be sure you do not have any surprises when you try to use your card. We wanted to let you know we have had to make the decision to close your account listed above.

Please tell any Additional Card Members on this account of this change so they do not have an unexpected inconvenience when attempting to use the Card.
You should also destroy the card(s) and any convenience checks you may have for the account(s).
If you have any recurring charges on these accounts such as cell phone charges, please contact that company immediately to ensure your other bills do not go unpaid.
You will also receive this information by letter, but we wanted to be sure you were aware of this change as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

American Express Account Services

To be clear, there are multiple versions of Blue Cash cards. The one affected here is the “old” one that offers 5% cash back for gas, drugs, and groceries after $6500 in annual spend.  I wrote about the card quite a while ago, here: Playing 5X everywhere Whack a Mole.

So far, my account is still open.  It is unclear whether Amex is shutting down accounts due to “perk abuse” or whether they are simply retiring the card for good.

Developing…

Hat tip: Will Run for Miles

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. This is clearly about perk abuse. If AMEX were simply killing the card they would send out a letter and give everyone notice. Furthermore, people are reporting that they cannot redeem their reward dollars. This deal has gotten too much press. Someone at AMEX must have reviewed the CC division quarterly performance figures and said WTF!!

    Irony alert – the spam text answer has a logo of american express with the text “more rewarding”. Lol

  2. They’re not killing the card because the link still works on FT and even today people have reported being approved for the card. One guy got shut down and then applied and was approved for the same card today! People are having their CL increased as well. It’s business as usual apparently.

    I do 2k/month MS + normal spend, about $2,500/mo total. All 5%. This is nothing compared to those who report being shut down. Only have had card for 4 months. Met 6,500 in the 1st month. No shutdown yet but had $320 in rewards just sitting there. Decided to get merchant gift cards instead of the cash back option just in case they shut me down. The cash back won’t be applied until the end of my statement giving them lots of time (about a month), too much time. Figured the gift card route would be quicker but who knows.

      • It’s probably only high risk for those who meet AE’s criteria whatever that is. Everyone is guessing, but total amount spent on 5% categories is probably at the top of the list. This isn’t mentioned on FT but I have and do put other spend on there occasionally, 1% spend, such as dining, other stores, etc. It costs me maybe 1% that I would get additionally with the Arrival card but it might calm AE down. Software may, just guessing, be looking for exclusive 5% spenders at threshold amounts of course.

        • It seems like plenty of folks think that if they just add a little “regular spend” to a high-category bonus card, it will escape detection. To my knowledge, there are ZERO documented cases of this working. If you MS on a card, especially for thousands of dollars a month and/or above your credit limit, there is a risk of shutdown. Now the rewards may outweigh that risk, but putting a little regular spend on the card isn’t likely to help. I’d put that spend on the card that earned me the best reward.

  3. That does not sound like the language a CC company would use (too informal) sounds like an amateur lawyer. And I’ve never seen AMEX send out convenience checks for any of their cards.

    I have a feeling it’s a concerted effort by a large number of FT regulars to create panic and limit the MS field a bit. Not that I’m against limiting it, but this is lame.

    It’s probably the same stunt they pulled with the 5x ThankYou Citi card last year.

    • Yes how did you guess? Our secret meeting took place late last night and we sacrificed a newbie to appease the GC gods. Then we concocted a secret plan (all of us FT regulars) and the best we came up with was a secret plan to say the Blue Cash shut some of us down all while secretly buying all the GCs avail at the local drug store. Secret MS Guys 1 – Regular Joes 0

      • That rebuttal is unassailable. Good work.

        Nothing in this story makes sense, the “reports” are inconsistent as to the reasons given, exact process of shutdown etc.

        Not to mention that this BS is only showing up on flyertalk in the last 24hrs, and a few blogs that parrot the “story”. Nowhere else, and no one else seems to have their account shut down, even though some, including yours truly, MS close to 6 figures monthly.

  4. Seeing as the last bit of correspondence I received from them about the card–less than 3 days ago–said, \Hey, we’d like to give you an extra 2% back every time you shop at Whole Foods till mid-February–and yes, we know that means you might get 7% back,\ I do not think they are doing away with the card as a whole. Or mine in particular.

    • Funny you should say that. Two days ago I signed up for the Wholefoods offer, and got shutdown today. I then signed up for it on my BCE, which is still open (but that is today!). So that is no protection at all, a different department presumably who isn’t concerned with fraud/security etc

      • i also don’t MS with mine (too much trouble where I live). I’m mostly just using it in bonus categories, although I throw the odd thing on it that doesn’t get 5% elsewhere–I probably am showing what they consider a normal spending pattern. It is still open today.

  5. Got it. That’s why I’m alive. My spent is not all in 5% categoty.
    Some of it in 7% category. Whole Foods saves lives.

  6. Still alive but know several people who did get the bad news today. But I suspect there’s more to come. This is a shot across the bow.

  7. I used to spend thousands on the blue cash that gives 6% back on supermarket purchases before they limited it to $6,000 annually. I decided not to apply for the old blue amex because I value my relationship with amex too much to risk it. I have been blacklisted by chase and it wasn’t worth the risk to lose another relationship for even hundreds of dollars of profits. I think people would be wise to slow down MS on this card if AMEX really is shutting people down.

  8. Just about to apply for the card as I have a SPG card annual fee due and will trade my 4th Amex credit card slot for this one. No plans to hit it hard, but lacking other good offers from Amex in a long time, seems good to have before it eventually goes away.

  9. None of the purported victims have address a very obvious mistake in the fake email they provide. AMEX doesn’t send out convenience checks…like never. So an email from them wouldn’t mention them.

  10. I haven’t used mine for over a year and about 8 months ago logged in to see it closed. Figured they closed it for a lack of usage, although I did not receive any kind of communication from Amex about it, which is a bit strange.

  11. I’m new to these forums/blogs and have just recently discovered that there is a whole culture out there of people MSing and churning (I didn’t know there were terms for these). I have been doing it since 1991. I had my old Blue Cash card changed over to the “new” version by Amex about two years ago. I thought they just killed the “old” version. So, after discovering this blog a week or so ago and to my surprise, I found a link to apply for the “old” Blue Cash card and applied and was notified that I was approved. I have not yet received it. I am a little anxious/nervous to use it now. My plan was to resume as before with this card. Crazy thing is, I use other Amex cards and max the heck out of them taking full advantage where advantage is to be taken and have never had any other issues. Stay tuned…

  12. What is the link for the old AMEX blue that still works? Frequent Miler link does not work anymore. My account got close today so I would like to apply for my wife’s account

  13. I just applied my husband for the old blue cash and got this message.

    Your application will be processed as soon as possible, and we will notify you of the decision by mail within 14 days.

    NOOOO!!!!!

    Now I am wondering if I should let him call recon. Any thoughts?

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