Like most people, I have several credit cards that I use for different purposes.
A Target card that saves 5% on all purchases from Target. A Costco AMEX card saves at Costco and restaurants. A Citibank card that I use when they don’t take AMEX. And, the card I’ve been using for years, the Blue Card from American Express.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been getting one point per dollar spent with the Blue Card. Every 10,000 points is worth $100 in gift cards, so I’ve been pooling all of the purchases onto this card over the years so that I can save up and get several hundred dollars towards gift cards such as Best Buy or Home Depot. It’s worked pretty good.
Well, all that changed today! I got an email promoting 20% off any rewards redemptions, so I went to get some gift cards. Unbelievably, the points needed to get a reward have doubled!
I don’t know when this happened, but I know for sure that I was not given a head’s up by American Express that my point values were going to drop in half. I’m sure it was in some fine print somewhere, but if you ask me, I was taken advantage of by my credit card. No email, no notifications in my rewards account, no legitimate way to let me even know when it happened.
If someone tells you that your points are worth a certain dollar amount, and then, after you accumulate the points, drop the value in half, that is the same as a classic bait and switch scheme to me. It makes me really mad, as I had 30,000 points and I feel like I just lost $150. If I had known, I could have used one of my other cards that has a much better payout.
Of course, I can understand why the credit cards need to protect themselves. With the idiotic legislators trying to write laws that interfere with free trade, the credit card companies are forced to find different people to rip off. Now, they apparently take advantage of all customers, not just the one’s that miss payments.
The takeaway from all of this. Try not to let your credit cards do the same thing. Maybe it’s smarter to spend your reward points as fast as you can so that at least if it does happen you won’t have that many points to get devalued. Also, if I would have caught this earlier, I could have switched my spending to a different credit card sooner. That’s what I’m going to do from this point on.
Screw you American Express! And screw all you credit card companies that take advantage of people!