American Express Rewards Abuse Team (RAT) and Knowing the Rules of the Game

Customer service representatives can be useful at times, but there are often behind the scene factors that you don't see. Even though if you talk to a frontline rep, the information may not be accurate. 

American Express Rewards Abuse Team (RAT)

The Rewards Abuse Team (RAT) is a division within American Express that looks into accounts who try to game or abuse the rewards system.

Often, people will tell me that they called into the American Express customer service line and talked to an agent, and cleared everything with them. However, what they don't realize is that there is a secondary team, RAT, that will review the account.

For example, a handful of people messaged me recently telling me that their plan is to open the new Amex SPG Luxury card, acquire the welcome bonus, and use the $300 Marriott credit, all within 30 days. They plan to close the credit card within 30 days to avoid paying the hefty $450 annual fee. 

Their rationale is that they cleared this with a frontline representative, but they don't realize that the RAT team will audit the account later. Closing a card within 30 days of opening and acquiring the welcome bonus is one of the easiest ways to get your account blacklisted. 

Chase 5/24

Another example is with Chase. People often tell me that they walked into a physical Chase branch and the banker told them that the Chase 5/24 rule doesn't exist. 

A few reasons for this:

  • Chase  5/24 could be a proprietary part of their algorithm 
  • Bankers aren't allowed to talk about it or acknowledge it
  • They genuinely don't know

We know that the Chase 5/24 rule exists because people online have been the data point they would like to see. By having enough data points, you can infer some rules. 

The main takeaway from this post is always to do your own research, and to look at data points online to see if what the consequences are for each action. 

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

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