(Update: The Fix Is In!) If You Recently Signed Up For An Amex Card Be Prepared For Frustration

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American Express Card Activation Issues

American Express Card Activation Issues

Well, this was not an article I expected to write. Usually Amex is a pretty easy issuer to deal with when talking about new cards. The cards are normally already added to your account upon approval, they come quickly and activation is a breeze. Well, something is broken or something has changed recently. I had American Express card activation issues last night for myself and my wife. Mine was fixed somewhat easily (I think) but my wife’s took over an hour on the phone and chat and still didn’t get fixed. I thought it was weird that both of us had the same problem and my buddy Rick said that he heard of some other, similar data points. So this doesn’t appear to be a one off thing.

Update 11/30/22: How To Fix Your Account

This issue has been percolating for 2 – 3 weeks now and American Express still seems completely clueless as to what is going on. People signing up for Business Gold and Platinum cards in the last day or two are having this same issue still. They call in and the tech support has no clue what to do. They are able to add the card to their log in eventually but the Membership Rewards accounts are still not linked and the new card shows a 0 Membership Rewards balance. My buddy Rick from ToP figured out how to get to the right person and gave me the info. I then tried it myself and was able to get it corrected.

Get Your Cards On The Right Account

You first need to get all of your cards in the same login, usually waiting a few days does it if you get an error at first. Even if you created a new log in you can go and delink that card from the new log in. I did this with my wife’s card. I had to click delink twice since it said it couldn’t the first time. Once that is done go to your normal Amex login and add the card like you normally would.

Call & Ask For The Membership Rewards Department

After this is done call the number on the back of the card but ask for the Membership Rewards department not normal customer service. Say you want the accounts linked so all your MR points are in one place. She was able to do this within a few minutes where normal service reps have no idea. Watch if you had points post on the new account already though. They will need to be manually transferred over to the combined accounts. Same goes for any pending points in your account if your statement has settled. Hopefully they should all post there automatically going forward.

Issues Activating Our New Amex Business Platinum Cards

We each were targeted for those 200K Amex Business Platinum and business checking account offers. The plan had been to wait until December to time the applications perfectly but my sister needed some help with a discounted Switch for the holidays and they were in stock on Dell’s website, and we would have credits to cover it, so I jumped a little early. I figured I can always downgrade the cards to the Amex Green Business card in January of 2024 if there are no retention offers and it will work about the same as planned.

We were both instantly approved and the cards arrived two days later. I always love the speed with which Platinum cards arrive! We unboxed them and went online to activate them like we have for dozens of other Amex cards.

Upon activating them we were not prompted to log into our account, the only option was to set up a new account. I decided to just log into our accounts and add it manually. That is when I was hit with this error.

American Express Card Activation Issues

Amex Chat To The Rescue, Well Sort Of

After seeing that I fired up Amex Chat on my account, luckily it was actually available. I went through some verifications and the rep was able to link up the accounts and clear the errors. After that I was able to manually add it to my log in. The Membership Rewards balance wasn’t accurate, showing zero, but he said that they should be linked up within 72 hours. I am not so sure that is how it will play out though, more on that later.

Next up was my wife’s account and I figured it would be the same issue but an extra 10-15 minutes wasn’t a huge deal. Or, so I thought! The Amex chat rep was unable to get the accounts linked and told us to call in. Of course it had to be her account to call in!  I called, since I was an authorized user on the account, and talked with the rep. My wife did need to get on for a bit and give like 4 verifications before she could hand the phone back to me. It seemed excessive compared to previous interactions where I spoke on her behalf.

Then we went through all kinds of questions and hoops and the rep just couldn’t get the accounts to link up. I kept getting put on hold for her to call technical support and would come back but nothing. All in all, I spent an hour on chat and the phone and the rep came back to say they couldn’t figure it out and I would need to put this card under its own login. Not ideal!

American Express Card Activation Issues

What Caused This?

Amex is no stranger to buggy IT. Usually it comes in the form of credits etc. not posting properly. I have no idea why it was so difficult to add a card to a log in account. The business checking account added to the account no problem.

I wonder if it has something to do with this beefed up security on the site. I have noticed the need to get secondary verification to log into our accounts quite often now when it was never a thing before. The option to login after approval didn’t pop up in the past either. It kind of errored out and wouldn’t let me do it.

Maybe there is an issue with these 200K combo application links? Our business checking accounts got added to the right Membership Rewards account no problem though. I have a feeling the chat agent was able to add my card to my log in but that the Membership Rewards accounts will be different still.

I prodded the call center employee that they have different Membership Rewards accounts, don’t you think that may be the issue. She said could be but there was no way for her to merge them. That seemed crazy to me but I went ahead and added the card to a new login because I was over dealing with it all.

American Express Card Activation Issues: Final Thoughts

Did I get 4 different Amex employees that were incompetent (chat rep, call center rep and 2 technical support people) or is there a deeper issue going on here? Let me know in the comments if you have had similar American Express card activation issues and what card they were on. Let’s see if this is a much larger problem.

All I keep thinking is, dang I wish I waited until next month to apply. Maybe these bugs would have been fixed by then! No good deed goes unpunished I guess. Ha!

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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32 COMMENTS

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32 COMMENTS

  1. I also received my new Amex Business Platinum and when activating, the website wanted me to create a new login. Based on your recommendation, I called in first to general Customer Service and got my card successfully added to my account, then saw the 0 MR show up. I then called Membership Rewards and within a minutes, the friendly CSR unlinked my card from a new MR account, and then linked it to my existing MR account with points in it. Thanks for explaining the steps!

  2. Same issue happened to me for a Biz Plat that arrived today. I was confirming the card online, but it never asked me to log in, but instead make a new account. So then I went and logged into my account and tried to confirm the card, but was getting the User ID error. So then I tried to add the card manually to my login via mobile and desktop–same User ID error.

    Finally, followed your advice and called and asked for the Membership Rewards department. Keep in mind, I have not created a separate login yet. The MR rep was adament it must be because I already have a few business platinums open, OR because I have too many cards on my account. She strongly urged I open a new account, but I persisted there must be a fix. After waiting on hold for 10 minutes while she talked to their digital department, apparently they were able to link the new account to my existing User ID, and told me to check back in 48 hours to try and add the card to the account.

    • Hopefully it all works correctly in a day or two to add it and then you can have them merge the MR accounts

      • After 48 hours, I got the card in my online login, but it was showing 0 membership rewards points. Unfortunately, the Membership Rewards rep could not link the card to my primary MR account, saying he was still getting an error that I had reached the limit of how many cards could be on my MR account.

        For reference, I have 8 active charge and 5 active credit, although I’ve had 10 charge and 5 credit in the past, so I’m not sure what the hang-up is. Perhaps the number of AUs/employee cards on other accounts has something to do with it.

        We even tried to delink a Business Gold I’m not using to see if we could add the new Business Platinum in its place, but the delink wouldn’t even work. Ultimately the rep opened a support ticket for the digital department to look into. He was 99% confident they should be able to fix it and said it would take 5-7 business days.

        • So annoying. I would try calling back in a few days. I doubt they ever get back to you but hopefully a new rep will know how to handle it or the account will have been unlocked by then.

          • Update: Still a mess. I realized after a week that instead of seeing 0 Membership Rewards points, I wasn’t seeing anything about MR. I called the MR department to find out that my new Biz Plat wasn’t even enrolled in MR. Apparently, when the rep delinked my Biz Plat from the new MR account and tried to link it to my existing MR account, he just left it sitting there. Because of this, I wasn’t seeing any pending points on spending I had made towards the $30k MSR.

            A rep in the MR department was able to create a new MR account for me, so at the very least, once my first statement closed, the points would post there. At this point, I had decided to just chalk it up and have two MR accounts.

            Well, another issue: To stack with the $30k MSR, I took advantage of some employee card offers for 5k/$2k. I saw that even though the Rewards Activity was showing a few of these 5k bonuses as “Earned”, my MR balance still read 0 points. I called Amex to “check in” on the bug. The rep told me my case had been closed with no resolution. She reopened it. In the meantime, she said it was pretty easy to just transfer points from one MR account to another–which she did for me. So I was at least given the MR from my 1x spend during the first statement, plus a few of the 5k bonuses.

            I logged in today to find that my Biz Plat was once again not showing anything about MR–I think they delinked me once again and never relinked me! At this point, this is a huge headache, and I don’t even care about the MR accounts being linked.

            I can provide a DP though that this issue appears to be fixed for new accounts. I opened a different/new MR card just two days ago and was able to easily add the card to my online User ID and it is now showing the same MR balance as the rest of my cards.

          • And wow, just like that, I think I have fixed it.

            Adding to my novel I just wrote–since my Biz Plat wasn’t even showing 0 membership rewards points, I assumed it was delinked. I figured I’d take a stab adding the card to my account via the “Add A Card To Online Management” in the Account Services>Card Management tab.

            And low and behold, I think it worked! My Biz Plat is now showing the same MR balance as the rest of my cards.

  3. So weird, 250k Biz Plat, no issue. One week later, 2 biz golds required their own login and after 4 chats and 2 phone calls, they finally showed up but with 0 points when there’s 766k points showing on the other cards. Also, this is the first time I’ve had a pending bonus after the spend was hit vs it posting right away.

  4. I am having exact same problem with P1 Biz Gold + AU (P2) and P2 Biz Plat + AU (P1).

    P1 issue was resolved (I thought) – after multiple chat/calls, I was able to link Biz Gold to my existing login username then MR pool linked to the exiting MR pool. 2 days later I got my AU card from P2 Biz Plat – couldn’t active online so had to call to activate. Then I couldn’t add AU card to my exiting Amex login like I normally as AU. Chatted Amex and was told try to add to the account management 24~48 hours.

    P2 issue not resolved after 2 hours on the call, I can see P2 new Biz Plat under the existing user name but “0” MR balance even though other MR cards shows existing points. Opened a case and was told to wait for 72 hours and contact back. P2 is supposed to get P1 AU card from Biz Gold, I am expecting another round of headache.

    P2 is also waiting 10K MR SUB on adding Authorized user whereas 90K MR Biz Plat main SUB was posted immediately.

    Hopefully at least P1/P2 get SUB+AU SUB since Amex confirmed that the offers are attached to the applications.

    I don’t think I have this much headache with Amex for last 10 years.

  5. The concern on this offer is this: since there is an extra 20k bonus for doing both business checking and business platinum, having the two accounts under separate logins makes me doubt the extra 20k bonus will post automatically.

  6. This bodes ill since I’m getting the same offers as you even though I have 3 biz platinum cards and was seriously considering going for number four.

    For my previous business platinum card, I’ve hit the spend threshold handily but am not seeing the 150K point in my MR balance. Previously the signup bonus had appeared very quickly after the spend had been met but it’s been over a month. AX chat assures me that there are no problems but when something that was previously instant suddenly takes months I start to worry. Any insight appreciated.

    • I haven’t had a bonus in 4 or months on a Business Platinum but mine posted within a week for sure so that is worrysome / annoying for sure. Although Amex always tends to have points issues end of year / early in the year. I’ll see if anyone else has heard of issues with points posting though.

  7. I have had issues too! They still cannot get my Hilton account to link! Each time they keep creating a new one. I have had an old Hilton account for a while, I don’t want a new one. It helps to show how long you have been a member. Right now I still can’t transfer points to my Hilton account. Not as a big deal yet until they have a bonus then it will be a big deal for me…. I am sooo frustrated. Not sure if it is because I closed the old AmEx Biz Plat and now I am trying to use the new Biz Plat card…

    • I don’t think the closure has anything to do with it. Just seems like new Business Platinum cards are buggy as heck

  8. Got approved for a business platinum. Tried to add to existing account and got the error saying separate acct req’d. Started chat and was told it would be fixed in 24-48 hrs. About 46 hrs later it was not added and I tried adding it manually and it worked that time. Membership rewards balance on new card shows zero. I’ll wait 72 hrs and check that again.

  9. Just now had a heck of a time trying to get to my AMEX Business Checking account.
    Would not appear as expected. Had to log out and log back in over and over
    You are not alone, Brother.

  10. I had this problem and accidentally created a unique ID with my 3rd Amex Biz card. I asked the rep to add my card to my account and delete the new unique ID. I did have to go through the same Amex chat exercise 3 times. Even though it didn’t show up after 24 hours the first time, I asked again and they said they would get back to me. I would try to add the card again and after 48 hours, I was able to add it.

  11. I recently applied for a new business platinum as well, and I also had to create a separate login, even though I applied for it within my existing account in the Amex app! They told me there’s nothing they can do. In the end the points will get used in the same way no matter which account they come from, so I don’t REALLY care, just saying it’s not only you…

  12. Mark, so sorry to hear about your problems with Amex. We just added my wife’s personal Platinum card to her account and everything went smoothly. We got her Platinum information when we were approved and had everything up and running in her account in about 15 minutes. The card arrived two days later and we used it that afternoon.

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