Merchant Innovation

Amex Busts Blue Card Cash Back

Maybe the rewards program offered by American Express’s Blue Cash credit card has turned out to be a bit too popular with consumers. It appears the credit card company has taken some new steps to prevent “perk abuse."

Some of those steps include stricter terms that were placed on the Blue Cash card sometime in December, reports say. The card is known for its 5 percent cash back offer at popular shopping areas, but in recent months customers have seen their cards unexpectedly shut down. Now, experts agree those shutdowns were likely due to consumers earning too much in cash-back rewards.

Often known as the “Old Blue” Cash card, Blue Cash Everyday offers 5 percent cash back on supermarkets, gas stations and select pharmacies within the US after customers spend more than $6,500 in a card member year. It’s an enticing offer, as research has found credit card users to choose their cards based on rewards and, in particular, the attractiveness of cash back offers.

But reports say that as consumers spend more at these locations to get more back, AmEx has amended its offer page to limit the 5 percent cash back on Everyday Purchases to up to $50,000 in spending – meaning customers can only earn up to $2,500.

American Express customers sprang to online forums earlier this year to discuss why and how their AmEx Old Blue cards have been shut down. Some consumers said they had received an email from American Express Account Services notifying them of account closings, though the emails did not specify whether the decision was made due to spenders “abusing” their Blue Cash perks. (American Express may consider it abuse, but most consumers would probably just consider it using their card because they like the rewards they were offered.)

AmEx holds a line of “Blue” credit cards, including Blue Cash Everyday, Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Sky Preferred, which offers benefits for frequent flyers.​

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