American Express Updates Terms of Service to Exclude Peer-to-Peer Payments, Amex Gift Cards, and Cash Equivalents

American Express recently added new terms of service items to cards that earn Membership Reward points, but it might extend to other cards like SPG in the near future. h/t Travel with Grant

The following transactions are not eligible purchases and you won't earn points for them:

  • Purchases and loads of reloadable prepaid cards
  • Purchases of other cash equivalents
  • American Express Gift Cards purchased online
  • Person-to-person payments
  • Cash Advances
  • Balance Transfers
  • Privileged Assets
  • Express Cash
  • Corporate Express Cash
  • Purchases of American Express Travelers Cheques or American Express Gift Cheques
  • Purchases paid with points
  • Card account fees and charges
  • Membership Rewards program fees and charges
  • Fees for Card Member services you enroll in

Venmo and PayPal are considered person-to-person payments that some people were using to meet minimum spend. 

I'm not surprised that Amex is cracking down on this method because of the level of potential abuse. Using these methods can lead to shutdowns for bonus clawbacks. 

We've seen card issuers get more strict about this, especially when it comes to cash equivalents like Visa Gift Cards. 

Looking for other methods to meet minimum spend? Paying taxes is a relatively easy way to meet spend.

Services like Plastiq should be okay because they're considered a payment service, and not a peer-to-peer service. American Express also has a direct relationship with Plastiq since they've recently updated their terms on what you can and cannot pay with Plastiq (i.e., mortgage payments).