Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
Like many of the rest of you, I called American Express on August 10th in order to see if code 5721, which awarded 10,000 Membership Rewards points per authorized user, could be added to my account. I was told by the Membership Rewards Customer Service Representative at that time that my account was eligible, and she would notate the account as such. I was then transferred to a different woman who was the one who actually added the authorized users. She said she couldn’t tell me if my account was eligible or not, but she did also verify that the Membership Rewards representative had notated my account for the bonus. I had no idea when I called in that this was a promo targeted to individuals in Argentina. I just thought it was a great promo that Amex put out to encourage customers to add other users to their account.
The requirement to get the bonus was that each user had to use their card to make a purchase, then 6-8 weeks later the bonus points would be awarded. In my case, I added three users for a total cost of $175 to my Platinum card. While I absolutely think there is some value in being an authorized user on a Platinum card (like airport lounge access), I would not have pulled the trigger adding users at that cost if it were not for this promotion.
I made sure that each card was used, waited six weeks, but no bonus points appeared in my account. This was not at all surprising given the large number of reports on Milepoint, Flyertalk, and other blogs (here is one recent example) that Amex was not honoring that promotion as it was apparently supposed to only apply to targeted individuals in Argentina. That would have been no problem if I had been told up front that my account was ineligible, but after paying a hefty amount of money, and going through the hassle of adding users and ensuring they all use their cards, that is now a problem in my book.
I decided to attempt to get the points honored the easy way, via secure message. I provided all of the information about the bonus code and asked about the status of my points for bonus since six weeks had passed. I included in the message that I really wanted to transfer the points to Continental before the 9/30 deadline, so it was important to me to find out the status of the points now. I was turned down with a message that said that if I was solicited for that offer that the points would post automatically, if they didn’t post it was because I was not solicited. I wrote back saying that I was explicitly promised the points over the phone and that I held up my end of the bargain by paying $175 and ensuring the purchases were made. I requested that they access the recordings of the original call, if needed. I received a response about 24 hours later stating that I needed to call the “Membership Rewards customer service team and that they will be able to research this offer and ensure you’ve met the eligibility requirements before providing you with the bonus points.”
I did as the message instructed and called Membership Rewards. I spoke to a very nice representative and her manager. Both stated that they had no way of applying the bonus points to my account as it was only for targeted individuals in Argentina. The manager did put me on hold for a while to “investigate further”. I was actually hopeful at that point that the issue would be resolved. No. She came back and said that she did see the notes from the call when the authorized users were added, but the notes didn’t specifically include any information about the bonus points. However, when I called in on 8/10 I was specifically told that my account was notated both by the representative who did it, and by the woman that the original rep transferred me to in order to actually add the authorized users. I then asked what my recourse was since I spent $175 to add the users and went through the trouble to ensure that all of the users made a purchase on their cards. She was very apologetic, but didn’t have any real course of action for me to take. She did eventually provide a mailing address for Membership Rewards Correspondence in Ft. Lauderdale that I could send a complaint and/or my requested actions to. Oh boy. I’m sure that mailing a letter will fix the problem.
Based on previously hearing about others’ recent experiences with this and other bonus codes, I am not at all surprised that I am having trouble just getting Amex to honor what they said they would do, but I am still sad that this has happened. American Express customer service was top-notch. While at least I spoke to friendly representatives on the phone (others have not been so lucky), the way this is being handled is far from top notch. I spent time and money to hold up my end of the bargain, and they have showed no signs of having any intention of following through on what they said they would do. I know to call the Executive Line for assistance, and hope that I will get through to someone there who will take the time to review the recordings of what I was promised on 8/10 to hold up their end of the bargain. I think what makes me the most frustrated is knowing that my mom, and many others like her, have to also go through this process to get the points that were promised to them. While I hope the Executive Office is helpful, there is no guarantee, especially if it is true that my account was not notated with the bonus on 8/10, even though I was clearly told that day that it was.
I know that in this miles and points journey, you win some and you lose some. However, when actual dollars are involved (175 of them in this case!), I will not stop fighting this battle until there is an acceptable outcome. Counting the $175 for authorized users, I have already paid $625 in annual fees for my Platinum card this year – that is a lot of money to be treated in this manner. I’m already on the fence about whether or not to spend that amount of money to renew my Platinum card next year, and I can guarantee that the response I get from the Executive Offices will greatly play into that decision. I promise to keep you all updated on my journey to get my Amex bonus code honored.
How are you doing getting recent codes and promises honored on your accounts?