The number of airline frequent flyer points earned by selected American Express credit card customers will reduce from November 1 2015 in conjunction with the launch of a Membership Rewards 'Gateway' scheme.
Under the new program, four MR points will buy three frequent flyer points with Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways – down from 4:4 or 1:1 with most airlines – while 400 MR points will net three Air New Zealand Airpoints dollars.
Affected cardholders include those with the no-fee American Express Gold and Blue credit cards, along with members of professional institutions such as Chartered Accountants Australia and Engineers Australia with an Affinity Gold credit card issued directly by American Express:
These customers will be transitioned over to the new Membership Rewards Gateway program come November which utilises these lower conversion rates between Membership Rewards points and airline frequent flyer points or miles.
As part of the changes, MR points transfers to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club will also be unavailable to Gateway members, although the airline will remain an option for other Membership Rewards cardholders.
A spokesperson for American Express confirmed the changes to Australian Business Traveller and advised that there are no alterations to the Membership Rewards Ascent program attached to most other AMEX cards, nor any impact for David Jones American Express cardholders.
AMEX customers with other fee-free cards such as the Qantas Discovery and Virgin Australia Velocity Escape are also unaffected, along with those using American Express cards issued directly by ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac.
Cardholders impacted by the shake-up will receive notice directly from American Express – such as on their credit card statement – and can continue to convert MR points into frequent flyer points at their current applicable conversion rates until November 1.
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