Over the last year, I have had some family have experiences with American Express that has been a bit questionable. With some other issues that I have read happening to others, is American Express playing games with their customers?
Is American Express Playing Games?
My Business Platinum:
Right before I cancelled my American Express Business Platinum, I had made a booking using my 50% rebate. Since I was planning on cancelling my card, I wanted to verify with American Express that I would receive my 50% rebate. If not, this was going to make my decision a little harder, but American Express said I would receive my 50% rebate.
I booked my flight and American Express had actually made an error, so they had to adjust it. Either way it cost me 112,462 for 2 roundtrip tickets to Athens.
American Express said my rebate would come about 8 to 10 weeks after my booking even if I cancelled my credit card. Since I had it in writing, I felt comfortable to go ahead and cancel my card.
I canceled my American Express Business Platinum on February 3rd. This was right before my annual fee was due to post.
Once I cancelled my card, I actually went to remove the American Express Business Platinum from my American Express page. When I logged in, I noticed my point total had increased.
I checked the Membership Rewards page to see what happened.
Right after I cancelled my card, American Express released my points. I was happy about this, but thought if this was the case, why wouldn’t they just released them before the 8 to 10 week period for everyone?
I moved on from this, until I had a friend reach out for some help on an issue with his Hilton card.
American Express Hilton Surpass (Now Ascend)
When I was looking to apply for the Hilton Surpass, the refer a friend links were 25,000 points per referral. My friend had a link, so I asked him to send 2 links on over. One was for me, the other would be for my wife. He uses my links when I have them, so I like to return the favor.
Weeks had gone by, yet he never received his bonus points. I had recommended he call or message them to get this resolved.
Let’s just say he sent many messages and made plenty of phone calls, but those points never showed in his account.
His most recent interaction, American Express said they sent the points and Hilton said they didn’t show points being deposited. He pretty much gave up on ever receiving his points.
In addition he was done dealing with American Express and decided to cancel his American Express Ascend. The day he cancelled his card, something magical happened.
The points that American Express said they had sent a long time ago, were deposited to his Hilton account. It seems cancelling his card had pushed pending points, or points that were backlogged through to his account.
The largest problem I see here is the fact American Express wanted to give zero help in actually resolving this issue. Hilton had said they never received the points American Express said they sent.
You would think at that moment, to not only correct the issue, but also to have quality customer service (although American Express has clearly been failing here) they would have contacted Hilton to see if the points were received. When they found out the points weren’t received, they should have resent the points to Hilton for him.
There was clearly some underlying issue on why the referral points didn’t post. But, I have no idea what they are. Quite odd the points came from American Express right after closing the card.
Delta Business Gold:
Onto the next issue of points posting correctly and in a timely manner. My Mother-in-Law opened the Delta Business Gold when it had the 60,000 point bonus. She had hit the minimum spend requirement within 2 months and it was all organic spend.
Then she waited for her bonus to post. And waited. And waited. I read many accounts of this happening to others, so she wasn’t alone.
There were many promises on American Express that the issue would be resolved in a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks later, we would check back in just to be told a couple of more weeks.
The promises from American Express became hollow as they never delivered. I continued to push for her points although American Express never delivered.
Finally it reached a point of threatening to file a complaint (although, this probably should have been done sooner) and magically the points appeared into her account.
It look almost 7 months for her to have her bonus deposited to her account. That is absolutely unacceptable by any standards. This went way beyond their normal T&C’s, but they just made it sound par for the course.
What’s the Deal?
In the case of my points being posted sooner than expected, it could be that American Express computer system released them at the time of cancellation.
If this is the case, then American Express seems to be implementing processes where they are further limiting the redemptions you can make, by adding an 8 to 10 week hold period. If the system can release the points when I cancel, then they should be able to release them after I made my booking.
By making someone wait 8 to 10 weeks for their points, it does reduce the points in circulation. Thus reducing the possibility of redemptions.
Not everyone is sitting on high point balances and this means they’d have to wait until those points post in in order to make their next award booking.
I think the larger issue comes to the referral points and bonus points.
American Express has been hard at work making it harder for bonuses and recently even they’ve even frozen accounts for referrals. The referral freezing is a load of garbage.
If the person you are referring decides to MS their bonus, I shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. If that is the case, please start taking back money from the affiliate bloggers when readers MS their way to a bonus.
It is quite the coincidence that my friends Hilton referral points were released only after he canceled the card. And that my Mother-in-Law’s bonus was released after making threats to push this issue higher.
American Express Playing a Game?
As the issue for customers with American Express grow, it seems like American Express is adding road blocks for people when it comes to their bonus points.
It almost feels that American Express is adding hurdles in hopes that the customer will just give up and move on.
After American Express latest addition to their credit card applications, I am not applying for other cards with them. I would need to see data points of how they handle their bonuses before I would consider that right now.
Their added language makes it, so they no longer need an explanation. They can just say they didn’t think you deserved a bonus.
Add in the fact they have been freezing accounts for referrals and frankly I am not sending my personal referrals out for people.
I am not sure if this is the route American Express wants to take. But it does seem like something is going on with American Express. Not to mention they aren’t really helping their case with vague application language and really poor customer service.
These are just my own personal experiences with American Express, but it seems fishy to me. American Express is holding bonuses, personal referrals, and even potentially reducing your ability to use your points for booking your travel. Maybe I am alone and these instances are just isolated. But if they aren’t then American Express needs to get it together.
In my last weeks article, I was giving away an American Airlines business amenity kit. There actually weren’t any entries, so there isn’t a winner for the amenity kit. Maybe next time, I’ll give-a-way something a little better 🙂