American Express Updates Rewards Exclusion List for Charitable Donations and Education


Starting October 1, 2023, American Express (AMEX) will make changes to its rewards exclusion list, affecting donations and education expenses. This adjustment will not apply to the True Cashback, Platinum, and Centurion Cards.

Changes to Rewards Exclusion List

Traditionally, AMEX cards were lauded for their limited rewards exclusions. However, the landscape is shifting, and rewards exclusions have become more commonplace, aligning AMEX with mainstream banks. This trend has affected various transactions like insurance premiums, utility bill payments, GrabPay top-ups, and medical expenses at public hospitals and polyclinics.

The upcoming changes will now extend to charitable donations and education fees, making these transactions ineligible for earning KrisFlyer miles, STAR$, Membership Rewards, or HighFlyer points, effective October 1, 2023. This was conveyed through an update to the consolidated rewards exclusion list.

Exemptions and Exceptions

Notably, the True Cashback Card will remain unaffected, allowing cardholders to continue earning 1.5% cashback on donations and education expenses. Additionally, the Platinum Charge and Centurion Cards will still accrue Membership Rewards points for these transactions (0.78 mpd for Platinum Charge, 0.98 mpd for Centurion).

This mirrors practices seen with other institutions like UOB, where rewards exclusions vary between mass market and high-end cards.

Defining Donations and Education

The following MCC ranges define donations and education:


  • 8398: Organisations, Charitable and Social Service
  • 8651: Political Organisations
  • 8661: Religious Organisations


  • 8211: Schools, Elementary and Secondary
  • 8220: Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools and Junior Colleges
  • 8241: Schools, Correspondence
  • 8244: Schools, Business and Secretarial
  • 8249: Schools, Trade and Vocational
  • 8299: Schools and Education Services Not Elsewhere classified

It’s important to note that 8351: Child Care Services may not fall under education. However, enrichment centres, higher learning institutions, and online learning platforms are included.


Beginning October 1, 2023, American Express will revise its rewards exclusion list to omit charitable donations and education expenses, affecting most cards except the True Cashback, Platinum, and Centurion Cards. While this development was foreseeable, it remains unwelcome for cardholders seeking to maximize their rewards.

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