Brian at The Points Guy confirmed reader reports that American Express is discontinuing its “Points Advance” feature. This was a benefit where you could get an “advance” of points if you didn’t have enough points for a redemption. Then you would have one year to “earn” back the advance, or pay a fee per point.
He helpfully put this recent development into the context of a bigger trend that American Express may be gradually shrinking its Membership Rewards. Amex has already shut down its Bonus Points Mall and devalued its Pay with Points program.
Is American Express on the decline? If so, it looks like Chase Ultimate Rewards program and its credit cards may be the better long-term bet going forward.