Check your American Express statements everyone – starting September 1, 2016 annual fees may no longer be partially refunded if you cancel your card before the full year is up.
UPDATE: This might only show up on statements closing this month (June 2016). Please leave a comment if you find this mysterious clause on your most recent billing statement!
According to this thread that popped up on /r/churning, an American Express cardholder found a new clause on a monthly credit card statement that specifies a new policy regarding annual fee refunds:
Closing your Account Effective September 1, 2016, in Part 2 of the Cardmember Agreement, we are amending the Closing your Account sub-section in the Other important information section by inserting a new paragraph after the first sentence: If an Annual Membership fee applies, we will refund this fee if you notify us that you are voluntarily closing your Account within 30 days of the Closing Date of the billing statement on which that fee appears. For cancellations after this 30 day period, the Annual Membership fee is non-refundable. If an Annual Membership fee applies to your Account, it is shown on page 1 and page 2 of Part 1 of the Cardmember Agreement. If your billing address is in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the time you close your account, this policy will not apply to you.
If this is true, you will now only have 30 days after the annual fee hits (and becomes due on your billing statement) to receive a full refund of your annual fee. American Express will allegedly no longer partially refund annual fees on a pro-rated basis.
The one exception seems to be cardholders who have billing addresses in Massachusetts, and I’ll do some digging around to see why that might be.
This is still an unsubstantiated claim, as I could not find this clause on any of my American Express statements. But I figured I would post this here to see if I could get a few datapoints on what readers may find. In the meantime, I’ll keep on looking into it!