If you’re a cardholder, then you’re familiar with the rewards points that you get for purchases with certain Amex credit cards. While you can transfer Amex points to various hotel and airline loyalty programs as miles, the Amex website is clear that “all transfers are final.”
It turns out, however, that it is sometimes possible to undo a points transfer—in three specific cases. While there are no guarantees that you’ll be able to get the transfer reversed even in these scenarios, there are occasions where it’s happened for several cardholders—which means there are exceptions to the “all transfers are final” rule.
How to Undo Amex Points Transfers
The first scenario in which you may be able to get your transfer reversed is user error. If you accidentally transferred points to the wrong loyalty account or airline, for example, you may be able to get Amex to reverse the transfer. The keys here are speed and honesty; it’s important that you both notify American Express as quickly as possible after you make or notice the error and that you’re upfront with them about your mistake. Don’t try to make up a story or blame others; if you made the error, own it and ask if there’s any way they can fix it.
Sometimes, however, the error isn’t your fault. If an Amex agent makes a mistake with your points, such as transferring the wrong amount or incorrectly applying the points, you may be able to get the error reversed. Just like in the previous example, however, the key is urgency; if you don’t even notice the error for several months, American Express is not going to reverse it. If you see it right away and contact them immediately, you’ll only increase your chances of getting that reversal.
This can also happen if an airline agent asks you to transfer points to pay for your travel. Sometimes the seats get sold to another traveler before your points transfer goes through, leaving you with a decreased points balance and without the seats you were trying to pay for. In these cases, you can call Amex, conference in the airline agent, and possibly get things squared away.
The last situation where you might be able to reverse an Amex points transfer is credit card fraud. If you’re seeing your points balance depleted and you didn’t do it, you’ll need to call American Express immediately and explain what’s going on. It doesn’t work in every case, but it’s still worth asking for. Claiming fraud may also work if the hotel or airline engages in shady business practices, such as the Air France-KLM Flying Blue fiasco in which Flying Blue confiscated miles and cancelled tickets when travelers used their Amex points.
If you’re a long-time cardholder with an account in good standing, you have a better chance of getting a points reversal if you need one. While American Express is adamant on paper that all transfers are final, in certain situations (like the ones above), you can sometimes get an exception. You’ll never know unless you ask—and you might be pleasantly surprised.