You do have to be careful with points issued by banks such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards points and Citi Thank You points because you can lose ALL the points in your account by cancelling them.
Airline Miles & Hotel Points
Most importantly, you won’t lose the miles and points which are already in your account.
However, the miles and points in your airline or hotel account will still be subject to the regular expiration policy of the airline or hotel. For example, United Airlines miles expire after 18 months. If you want to keep your miles from expiring, read this.
Bank Reward Program Points
American Express Membership Rewards points
You will lose ALL your points, if you cancel a card which earns Membership Rewards points.
2. Transfer to Airline Partners. Transfer your Membership Rewards points to airline or hotel partners before cancelling the card. You can even transfer Membership Rewards points to anyone else’s airline or hotel accounts.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
You will lose ALL the points in your account if you close a credit card which earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points. There is NO grace period to transfer the points out of your account after you cancel the card. You can’t transfer or use them immediately after cancelling. The points will be gone.
However, there are 2 ways to save your points.
1. Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners before closing your card.
The good news is there is no cost to transfer points.
2. Transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to another Ultimate Rewards card before closing your card.
You can also transfer Ultimate Rewards points to anyone else’s Ultimate Rewards credit card account if you have their credit card card number.
There is no cost to transfer points.
Citi Thank You Points
1. Grace Period. The terms suggest that you have 30 days after cancelling your Thank You credit card account to use your points.
3. Transfer to Another Person’s Account. You can transfer Thank You points from your account to another person’s Thank You points account. But you have to use those transferred points within 90 days.
For example, if Bob transfers his Thank You points to Jim’s account. Jim’s points will expire in 90 days.
You won’t lose airline or hotel points which are already in your airline or hotel account when you cancel a credit card.