Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for many

Amex stomps bluebird and serve

Amex seems to have swept through all Serve and Bluebird accounts to identify any that were being used to manufacture spend.  Identified account holders received emails today as follows:

Dear [your name here],

We are writing to let you know that we have observed unusual usage patterns on your American Express Serve Account. Because of this, effective immediately, you will no longer be able to add money to your Account.1 We have made this change in accordance with Section 15.d of our Consumer User Agreement, which you can view here.

Please be aware that you continue to have full access to the funds on your Account and can withdraw them at any time. Any applicable monthly fees continue to apply.

Once your balance reaches $0, please close your Account online via your Profile page accessible here. Scroll down to the Close Account section and click “Close Account.”

If you have any questions or would like to inquire further about this issue, you may write to us at the following address:

American Express
C/O Customer Relations 02-04-40
4315 S 2700 W
Salt Lake City, UT 84184-0440

Another technique bites the dust.  I guess yesterday’s post was prescient: Manufacturing Spend in 2016 and Beyond.

Last updated on March 31st, 2019

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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Joe
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Joe

I’ve been lucky so far, have kept all 4. Keeping my fingers crossed we will see if it stays that way the next few days.

JustSaying
Guest
JustSaying

2 of 3 alive……..all 3 similar usage patterns although the one shut down had more different payees though the same amount each month as the other two……….Is the Federal Reserve behind this? You laugh……..it seems not coincidental that various providers seem to be acting in concert…….

Susan
Guest
Susan

I was a very moderate MSer with Bluebird and only had the one account. I used the account to write checks to vendors as well as using it for small purchases here and there. I also kept a balance on the account.
I think they developed an algorithm of some sort that sorted through the accounts. If they saw repeated deposits of the same amounts (200, 500, 999) and repeated credit card payees; then, I think those accounts were flagged and subsequently closed. What makes no sense to me are the people who managed three or more accounts and not all of them were closed… unless, of course, that shoe drops at a later date. I would be interested to hear about that… whose accounts were closed after the first mass emailing (which I think we all received around the same time – around 10:30 today, 1/8)…. and were some people notified later.
And no matter what people say, I also believe that continued writing about these things even as we know the situation is changing, is not necessarily good for the ‘hobby’.

trackback

[…] This morning Amex delivered bad news to huge numbers of Bluebird and Serve account holders.  They shut down accounts due to “unusual usage patterns on your American Express Serve Account.”  I reported the news here:  Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend. […]

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

Add me to the boot list. One account, never maxed out my loads monthly …. so sad.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I don’t have much respect for the BB team…not just because of today’s big shutdown but for the way they handled a technical issue I had with my account awhile back.

I’ve had a BB account for nearly two years now, About a year ago, something happened to my account (and a few select other account holders based on what I later learned) that preventing me from using the Bill Pay feature of BB. When I first noticed the problem, I called BB reps and explained the situation. They wrote up a ticket and gave me the ticket number, saying they would forward to their technical team and it would be resolved in roughly 3-5 business days and I would receive an email about it at that time.

Well, that time came and went with no resolution and no email. I called again. The rep put me on hold to check with the technical team. When she came back on the line she told me they were still working on the problem but it would be resolved soon. I asked if I could speak with someone from the technical team. She didn’t want to at first (it was almost like it was not their policy to do so) but she put me on hold again and then brought in a 3rd line party from the technical team. After explaining the situation to the tech, he said it was a glitch affecting a limited number of users but they would have it resolved within 10 business days and I would get an email about it. He also created a new ticket and told me to just refer to that ticket number from this point forward. I even asked for and got his name just in case.

So I waited….and waited…and waited. After more than 3 weeks, still no bill pay and no email, I called again. I gave the rep the new ticket number. She put me on hold to check. But then she came back and said they had no record of that ticket number. I gave here the original ticket number. She checked. She said they had no record of that ticket number either. I then gave her the tech’s name. She said it was not possible to speak with anyone from the technical team. She said she could give me no information regarding my problem and to just wait until it was fixed.

It had already been nearly a month now and all I was getting was the run-around. I then asked to speak with a supervisor. I was put on hold again. On hold…for over 30 minutes. I almost hung up but I didn’t. Finally some lady (claiming she was a supervisor…maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t…who knows) came on the line. I again explained the whole situation and expressed my angst that I had several thousands of dollars in my account and for nearly a month I couldn’t use that money to pay any bills and I didn’t want to be hit with late fees.

Keep in mind…these were not CC bills…I used BB to pay my mortgage, my insurance, my lawn service, and several others.

This “supervisor” couldn’t have been less sympathetic and did not do anything or provide any further assistance to get me a legitimate status update. She basically just told me to sit tight and it would get resolved at some point but she gave me no time frame at all.

I then asked her if she could open up a new account for me that had the Bill Pay feature working and to move my current funds over to it. She said no that wouldn’t be possible. She said that all she could do was close the account and my funds would be returned to me in 2-3 weeks.

I asked again to speak to a technical team member and she refused. She just repeated over and over that my only options were to wait it out (with no estimation of a time frame to resolve) or close the account.

I repeated my displeasure with this situation, the amount of time that had already passed without a technical resolution (roughly a month now), the lack of transparency over getting valid, updated information and with the lack of viable options.

Just before I hung up she did mention I could transfer the funds sitting in my BB account into another bank account, with certain daily and monthly limitations. She said there was no fee to do so and the limits well exceeded the amount of funds I had in the account so at least I could get the money out. Why couldn’t she have mentioned that earlier? She just threw it out there at the end of our conversation after telling me repeatedly earlier there were only two options…wait or close account.

I would up doing that…moving the funds over to my bank checking account, zeroing out my BB account. I would check back from time to time for for several more months but the Bill Pay feature still did not work on my account.

Finally…after more than 3 months the Bill Pay feature was finally resolved on my account. I had to find out myself when I logged in and could finally get to that screen again (before, the link to the Bill Pay feature would not work at all). No email…again. Sadly, I finally did get the email stating the issue was resolved….about three more months after it was fixed (and nearly six months after I first reported the problem).

Top notch operation they have over their at BB. Not the brightest or the most helpful.

RAUL
Guest
RAUL

Nice story

trackback

[…] look through some of the comments of various posts to see if a pattern has emerged.  There’s this Frequent Miler post,  the thread on reddit: r/churning as well as the comments on my post yesterday among […]

trackback

[…] Frequent Miler – Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend – American Express sent notices out to many cardholders that they will no longer be able to load money to their accounts. […]

Bill
Guest
Bill

Mine nor my wife received email, both accounts still working

Tom
Guest
Tom

Bummer. Mine got cancelled too.
I had a spare unregistered redbird lying around that I figured I’d try to switch to just for some account management and the 5% cashback. After fully closing my Serve accounts, I tried to register that card (about 10 minutes after closure). No luck using same name/social with either same or different email addresses.

Anyone know if this means we’re banned from all Amex prepaid products?

trackback

[…] Late last week, Amex delivered bad news to huge numbers of Bluebird and Serve account holders.  They shut down accounts due to “unusual usage patterns.”  I reported the news here:  Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend. […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2015 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Bird Armageddon hit last week you might have gotten lucky and had one of your Amex Bluebird or Serve cards emerge unscathed. […]

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[…] was big news last week (after the posting of the weekly), AMEX sent out tons of e-mails, effectively killing bluebird and serve for manufactured spenders. Many are mourning the loss of a very good and easy manufactured spending […]

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[…] the recent untimely death of Bluebird and Serve for many Frequent Miler readers, it can sometimes still be useful to purchase Visa or MasterCard […]

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[…] though, my approach changes soon after I write about it.  The latest big change, of course, was the wide shutdown of Bluebird and Serve cards on January 8th.  On that day, all 6 of the Serve cards I managed were torpedoed at once.  So, I’ve had to […]

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[…] since Amex shut down many Bluebird and Serve accounts (see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend), many people have been scrambling to find the next best thing.  If that’s you, a good starting […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

trackback

[…] the widespread shutdowns Amex inflicted on Bluebird and Serve cardholders, people are rushing to find alternatives.  There are many manufactured spend opportunities that do […]

trackback

[…] (Note: In January, 2016 many Bluebird/Serve accounts were shutdown for unusual activity. It is possible to load these cards at Walmart, however it may cause a shutdown if American Express deems your activity as unusual. For more info, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend)  […]

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[…] announcement was quickly overshadowed when three days later Amex shocked the community by shutting down thousands of Bluebird and Serve cards for “unusual usage patterns.” Not unsurprisingly, it seemed the vast majority of those […]

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[…] attention and I saved this one for later. Unfortunately, as we all know, in the meantime a whole ton of Bluebird and Serve accounts were restricted and can no longer be […]

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[…] Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend […]

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[…] 9 weeks ago, Amex lowered the boom on many Bluebird and Serve cardholders. While they didn’t outright shut down accounts, they did bar them from loading new funds.  Most […]

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[…] is the 3rd wave of Bluebird and Serve freezes.  The first came on January 8th 2016 (see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for many).  The second came exactly 9 weeks later, on March 4th (see: Amex lowers the boom on Bluebird […]

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[…] to switch to a 24-hour free cancellation policy instead of holds, it may have not been as fatal as the collapse of Bluebird and Serve or this week’s extension of the Chase 5/24 rule, but it was definitely another loss in a […]

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[…] accounts with “unusual usage patterns” (read: manufactured spend patterns) and froze them so that no more money could be loaded to them.  Worse, once an individual had an account frozen, they found that they weren’t allowed to […]

Curious Customer
Guest
Curious Customer

Is it possible to still use vanilla or other visa gift cards to load money to either Serve or BB?