Amex Serve Shutdown Data Point
Yesterday American Express conducted a second round of closures for Bluebird/Serve account holders who Amex feels aren’t using their accounts as intended. This second closure came exactly nine weeks after the first round in January. As Frequent Miler points out, this timing is something we should pay attention to in order to find a pattern.
From Two to One to None
Back in January my very old Serve card was one of the ones shutdown. Thankfully my wife’s was spared at the time. I wasn’t too surprised by this since it was a fairly new One VIP Serve that she opened after closing her REDcard following the end of debit card loads. In order to try and preserve her Serve and because we didn’t have much use for it, we stopped using it in January.
A Data Point from My Wife’s Shutdown
Unfortunately despite our best efforts, my wife’s card met its demise yesterday. After the sad news finally settled in, I looked at her account to see what activity it had in the past nine weeks. Other than the redemption of the Jet Amex Offer, she hadn’t loaded the card or paid a bill. There was even a few hundred dollars sitting in there. As a data point, here is her last load activity:
Does the date of those loads look familiar? It is the day before the first round of shutdowns. Her account was spared because it was too new, but this data eventually made it into their report.
Takeaways & Strategy Going Forward
Since my wife had not used her card other than for legitimate purchases since January 8, 2016, I think it is safe to say that curving your behavior won’t make a difference if you haven’t been shutdown. Shortly after the first round of shutdowns, Julian the Devil’s Advocate said that people should keep doing what their doing. He was right. My wife could have used her card in January, February and early March and didn’t. She was shut down anyway. If I was someone with a card that is still alive, I would keep using it.
A number of people wrote in the comments of yesterday’s post that they had limited activity since the first round of shutdowns and still saw their account closed yesterday. I do believe American Express is looking back at the entire account history and thus laying low most likely won’t work. As for what they are looking for, we still don’t know, but almost everyone at some point had loaded their Serve/Bluebird card with a debit card at Walmart.