My Adventures in Having my Amex Bonus Code Honored: Part 1

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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?

Pingbacks

  1. […] Fast forward six weeks and I was told by secure message and over the phone by a Membership Rewards supervisor that since I was not a targeted person for that promotion (turns out it was just targeted for some card members in Argentina), they would not be honoring the promotion even though they had originally told me that I was eligible.  I then called the American Express Executive Offices and spoke to a seemingly helpful man who said that they had recently changed their policies about bonus codes, but that they would be honoring all promises that they had made before that change.  He said my case would be sent to a team who would review the information and they would make good on the promises they had made.  I was happy with that.  I am 100% certain that the recordings of the call would indicate I was told my account was eligible and based on what the Executive Offices told me, I was pretty confident that once they listened to the recording they would honor the promotion.  Why else would they be investigating?? […]

Comments

  1. I’m going through similar problems and have gotten the exact same responses as you. It’s frustrating. I understand if they feel like I don’t deserve a bonus because of some T&C, but if you are promised it, and then it is taken away, this makes me upset. It’s not like I demanded bonus points. I requested and they obliged, at least they did.

    I’m not sure what to do now either.

  2. When I heard about this offer on FT, I decided to get a written confirmation. I asked via SM about this offer and received a positive response. Then I added one AU on my PRG card and AU made some spending. Then when statement closed, I wrote another e-mail and asked them to escalate the posting of the points. To my surprise, after one hour I had extra 10K points sitting on my account.

  3. I should have done what sergey did b/c I did it over the phone and the code was never applied or noted on my account and I got the saying that it was only for Argentina customers also. Luckily i did it for a gold card so I got all my added users for free, so I didn’t lose any money like you so I am not even going to push it.

  4. On August 11, 2011 , I called in the morning to request for Promo Code 5721 and I added 5 Authorized User to my PRG. I was told that if the 50k points are not deposited in 6 weeks, call back . I called back on 3 occasions to confirm this code and 2 other promo codes for bumping. No Problem. AFter reading about AMEX not honoring the code over the September 10the weekend, I decided to call to ask for my points on September 12th. I spoke to 2 MR and nada. I then called the Executive office and explained my situation. It didn’t sound too positive but she said she would look into it. To my surprise, when I got home from work and logged onto my account, I saw the 50k points posted.

  5. I had the same No response when I tried to access code for the 75000 sign up points for MR with AX Premier Rewards card.

    The first lady said I wasn’t eligible so I called back and spoke to another person who said that she had noted it on ym account.

    After 6 when only 10000 were added, I called back and the CR and the manager said there was no record of that 2nd call. I told them I did receive the offer inthe mail but didn’t have the flyer to send in as proof. They said they couldn’t honor this without proof because many people were calling in after reading it in blogs that they could get this offer.

    So you better believe that I’ll be canceling my card in a few weeks.

    I wanted to actually use it because it gave good rewards but would’ve really nice to use with the 50% MR transfer bonus to Delta SkyMiles….oh well.

  6. Mmm. I have had my issues too, but I choose to live with it. Some of these work for me and some don’t. Frankly when you and others say Amex service is usually “top notch” what you mean is you get your own way, and when you say the service is poor, it’s because you don’t. I have some sympathy given you spent money on the additional cards and I would expect them to offer to let you cancel those cards and have the fee refunded, but as for the points… you took a risk on a mistake and it did not pan out. C’est la vie. Plenty of others have paid out for all of us so live with it.

    There is a real big problem in this mileage community that when mistakes occur there is a huge sense of entitlement that companies should “do the right thing”, see the Verizon/AA debacle for the worst examples of this. For sure Amex could have handled this a lot better but the reality is a lot of us did well out of their mistakes, I am sure you are net positive on their mistakes, so just have to move on and wait for the next op

  7. I agree with Phil. I didn’t take advantage of this offer, it was too much of a gamble. The idea that every mileage/point applies to all of us is getting old. You win some, you lose some. Pigs get fat…

  8. AMEX is really going downhill fast in my book. My wife applied for Starwood personal and business credit cards for 30,000 points each after $1000 in spend in first 3 months (about a year ago). She spent $1000 on coins from the US mint on each card within the first 6 weeks. 30,000 points deposited with no problems for the personal card. For the business card, only 10,000 points hit. We called after 3 months, after 5 months, after 7 months, and after 9 months and each time we were assured that she had earned the points and they would be deposited on the next billing statement. Each time I asked the rep to make a note on the account. I called them 2 days ago (annual fee is due), and they said that the marketing team had looked into it and I didn’t meet the minimum spend requirements in the first 3 months. Conveniently, they couldn’t pull my statements since they only keep 6 months back. I was on the phone for 96 minutes, talked to 4 different managers. Ultimately, we cancelled both business and personal cards as well as my wife’s Delta Gold business card. I will be cancelling the remaining AMEX cards that I have with annual fees (AMEX Platinum, Delta Platinum business)…there are just too many better options out there.

  9. I agree with Phil on this one…it’s just risky territory when we’re gaming the system asking for targeted bonus codes. I’ve had my share of disappointment recently…I recently signed up for the AMEX Premier Rewards gold, hoping to get in on the 75k offer as well as the 10k per month for 15 transactions. I unfortunately was too late to the game, and was denied both of those codes…However my denial was a little less painful, since the gold card is free for the first year, and I’m thinking of permanently keeping it in my card repertoire for airline spending and MR bonuses.

    Anyway, I do feel for you since you have spent much more chasing promotions, but it might be best to move on, and learn the lesson (don’t go all in on an iffy promo code, regardless of what is verbally conveyed, unless you’re prepared to “lose” your investment). There will be more great opportunities in the future I’m sure! 🙂

    P.S. I’m also debating whether or not I should keep my Platinum card when it comes up for renewal in 5 months….it’s a tough choice, because I think the card provides enough benefits to marginally make it worth keeping ($200 airline credit + hotel status, lounge access, etc.).

  10. I am finding that the reps and their managers, perhaps hoping to put the callers to rest for good, are flat out lying about the lack of notation on the accounts.

    In my case of trying to get code 6661 honored after the terms were met, the rep first said I was not eligible, then said that there was no notation. She said she does not see the notation I was referring to, and could only see one other notation on my account (6664). Fine, I was going to ask about 6664 anyways. So I asked to speak to a manager about honoring the notations on my account. The manager was very rude, and kept saying “SIR YOU WILL NOT GET THE POINTS” multiple times and cutting me off. He then said there is no notation whatsoever on my account. When I told him that the previous rep had just said she saw 6664 notated, the manager went back to the “SIR YOU WILL NOT GET THE POINTS” attitude. I was polite and calm the whole time but was very annoyed by his attitude. Maybe he had to deal with many like me already that day, but it was unacceptable customer service.

    I finally had enough and pretended like I was half interested in sending a letter to the correspondence unit. By the end of the day I was just so sick and tired of dealing with them. Good job, Amex.

  11. I honestly think that Amex is only honoring those points promised via SM because they can and are erasing notations on the accounts added via phone. Or they only have to deny seeing them to be able to get away with it (“I don’t see it” versus “It’s not there”). Yeah we can request tapes but honestly most of us would rather drop it and walk away.

  12. I did happen to get a bonus for adding 2 users to my account for 10k points each.

    My question is I was told each year Amex Platnium offers some type of great deal for members? I haven’t seen anything yet, or is this benefit history too?

    • Congrats on getting your bonus honored. I’m not sure what type of great annual deal you are referring to, but I’d be interested to learn more if others are aware of what it is.

  13. Sorry to hear that so many others are having trouble with this, too. Though glad to hear that Bonesaz had success! I agree that being greedy and feeling entitled with bonuses and points in general is not a good thing. However, in my (albeit biased) opinion I don’t feel like “fat pig here”. I feel like a customer who is being given the run-around. I kept trying to get them to volunteer the opportunity to at least get my $175 back and cancel the authorized user accounts, but that was never even presented as an option. Having the original deal honored will be my first choice, but I at least feel that my money should be returned if the points offer is ultimately not honored. I also feel that I shouldn’t have to call the Executive offices in order to have that presented as an option (if it will even be an option there).

    To me, good customer service is doing what you say you are going to do, and being proactive in ensuring your customers have a good experience. At the very least, the offer should have been made to refund the money spent to add the users. I have received no other bonus bumps or codes on this or any of my other Amex accounts (other than the Insite toolbar). I was targeted for the offer I originally signed up under.

    I am not one to capitalize on the mistakes of others. I don’t typically participate in buying something from shopping portals when the deal looks to good to be true, and don’t usually get overly bent out of shape when some points I have “earned” don’t make their way to me for one reason or another, but this deal seemed legit (at first) and I jumped on it. I didn’t think it would be that much of a gamble, as Amex had a good track record of at least “doing what they say they will do”. Sadly, the lesson that I have learned from this thus far, is that even Amex doesn’t always follow through.

    • so I was a little confused by your comment…you did get the appropriate points for the offer that you were targeted for, right? But the additional authorized users offer code, you were not targeted for? If that is the case, then I guess you can take solace in what you did get at least…

      I think if you try to ask for a targeted offer code that you were not really targeted for and a mange to get it applied to your account, it is also capitalizing on someone’s mistake. However, if reps/agents are blatantly lying about a code not being on the account, I think that is wrong (although that doesn’t mean you are necessarily entitled to points). And unless AMEX normally has a cancellation policy that allows you to get the authorized user fee refunded or prorated, you shouldn’t expect them to refund your fee, although I’m sure it would generate some goodwill with you at least (and I’d hope they would try to work something out with you if you asked for that).

  14. My mom is in the same boat. It’ll be a bit annoying if she does not get the points under the bonus ID that they previously applied to her account. However, I’m under no illusion that canceling our Amex cards will punish anyone except ourselves. In the case of most of us milehounds, we’d actually be doing Amex a *favor* if we got disgusted enough to sever our Amex relationship. I’ve probably received 250k Amex MR points this year with a value of at least $4k. That’s probably representative of the average Flyertalker. If Amex receives a net interchange rate of 2% on my Amex spending, it would take $200k of spending for them to recoup their upfront acquisition cost. We’re not the types that generate that spending anytime soon. Plus, as a group, we cause a disproportionate share of the customer service burden that Amex pays for. Someone’s gotta answer the phones and pay the managers that deal with all of our bonus ID requests and “where are my points” follow-ups. We’re mostly money-losing customers. We’re *lucky* to get the offers and the customer service that we do. Someone at corporate probably snickers a ‘good riddance’ when he hears one of us stomping our feet and quitting the Amex game.

  15. Perhaps, you should read the thread. I added users to my accounts using the code and never claimed to have been targeted. At the time, all representatives were willing to add the bonus to accounts as was the current policy of Amex. I paid my $175 for 3 additional platinum cards or $45 for 5 additional gold cards, and went through the trouble of getting the necessary information of the additional card holders, meeting the purchase requirement, and basically keeping track of the cards. Why would I not have any entitlement? Had the representative said at the time that it was for targeted customers only, then I would not have had to pay for the additional cards or waste my time for what was then a valid promotion. I do plan on getting my points in due time and would rather read useful comments.

  16. I called to have 6661 added to my premier gold card for the 75,000 miles. I ended up getting 15,000 and 10,000 miles. 50,000 short if what I had hoped. But more then i originally signed up for. I decided not to fight it and to take what I got.

  17. I added 3 Plat users and 5 gold card users. ( I was told there was no limit to the number you could add twice. I also have their date, time and rep name) It took several messages but they finally added 20,000 points as a gesture. I will push a little more for my last 60,000 only because I still wouldn’t have paid $175 and $45 for the 20,000 points. But getting Global Entry and lounge access for my parents and brother makes me happy. We will see.

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