What’s Going On With The Amex Wireless Credit And Google Fi?

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What's Going On With The Amex Wireless Credit And Google Fi?

What’s Going On With The Amex Wireless Credit And Google Fi?

It looks like the Amex wireless credit doesn’t work if your Google Fi service is paused. This is a call for data points on Google Fi and the Amex wireless credit. Here’s what I see from my account and from others I’ve talked to. Please share if you have data on Google Fi with the temporary Amex credits.

Recap On Amex Wireless Credit

American Express announced temporary perks on multiple cards back on May 1, 2020. We covered what works for maximizing the Amex wireless credit and streaming credit. From multiple chats, tweets, and phone calls with American Express, I know they internally notified employees and updated their ‘approved vendors’ list on May 24. In this May 24 update, Google Fi is listed as qualifying for the wireless phone credits with American Express (available May-December 2020 on the Platinum Card and Business Platinum Card).

So, if Amex says that Google Fi qualifies for the monthly $20 wireless credit, it should be cut & dry. Unfortunately, it’s not. Typically, American Express credits trigger automatically. They show on your account 2-3 days later when triggered by qualifying activities. For many people, it’s working as planned. Not mine.

Issues with Amex wireless credit for Google Fi users

Data Points With Google Fi

Here are the relevant data points concerning the Amex wireless credit as it applies to Google Fi.

  • Both “pay in advance” and auto-pay are triggering the credit for most people.
  • Paying in advance is possible through payments.google.com

So where’s the confusion? Google Fi allows users to turn their service off & on at will. I only use it during international travel, so my service is paused. It looks like this creates problems.

  • For users whose service is ‘active’, the credits trigger automatically in 48 hours.
  • My service is ‘paused’ and does not trigger automatically on either business or personal cards.
  • Whether ‘active’ or ‘paused’, the billing codes match exactly when reporting to American Express on the Business Platinum Card.
  • On the personal Platinum Card, billing codes report correctly then change to incorrect later for some users, including paused and active accounts.
  • Starting in July, this also happens to some Business Platinum Card payments.

What's going on with the Amex wireless credits and Google Fi?

Chain Of Events

So, what’s happened? If you have missing credits with Google Fi payments, here’s what I’ve been able to figure out.

Interactions with Amex

On June 1, I made a $20 payment to Google Fi from my Business Platinum Card, and it coded as “telecom service”. On June 10, after seeing reports that others received credits as expected, I talked to American Express via chat. They advised me to call the number on the back of my card. After calling and telling them the data I had available (others got credits very fast, I got no credit, etc.), they told me about the May 24 update. They made a note on my account that I qualify for the credit. The phone rep said the credit should come within 30 days max and to check back if that didn’t happen.

On June 11, I paid $20 to Google Fi from my personal Platinum Card. It listed as “telecom” and then surprisingly changed to “cable & pay TV” a day later. It then triggered the streaming credit, which wasn’t what I wanted and isn’t correct. I took it as a loss and made sure to use the streaming credit in July before making the Google Fi payment.

On July 3, I made the $20 Google Fi payments from both cards after first using the streaming credits on the personal card. In June, both payments were made with the same card, same computer, same browser & same Google Fi account. Both charges immediately showed “telecom”, but the personal card later changed to “cable & pay TV” for the purchase type. In July, BOTH payments (personal and business) later changed to “cable & pay TV” after initially showing “telecom”. Thus, they are not triggering wireless phone credits.

Google Fi not involved

When I tried to talk to Google Fi about what’s going on, they referred me to American Express. I wasn’t surprised by this, given that it’s an Amex credit. Amex has no knowledge of how Google Fi “pause” and “active” settings work, so that wasn’t helpful either.

Manual credit for Google Fi payment from Business Platinum Card

Manual credit

On July 10, I inquired about my June credit on the business card, since it was still missing and more than 30 days old. The Amex chat rep told me he saw the note on my account from the phone call in June and issued the credit. 24 hours later, the credit posted as a manual credit. It is NOT listed as the Amex wireless credit like normal. Here’s how the normal credits should look from someone whose credit with Google Fi triggered automatically:

Automatic credit for Amex wireless credit with Google Fi.

Amex says it’s not working perfectly

In fact, during my July 10 chat with American Express, they admitted that they’re trying to get these credits to issue automatically for everyone. The issue is that they seem to issue automatically for NEARLY everyone already. Just not for people whose service is currently paused with Google Fi.

Amex chat rep admits to issues with Google Fi wireless credits

Final Thoughts

I am still excited about this perk from Amex, but the excitement is wearing off from the legwork required to receive the credits. It’s nice that I’m able to pre-load a bunch of credit into my Google Fi account while it’s paused. Now, I have money towards future bills and won’t need to pay anything for a while. However, getting the credits requires more effort than it should. The issue I’m most concerned about is that I fully plan to close my Business Platinum card later this month, unless they make me a great retention offer. Chasing down credits from Amex for a card that’s closed isn’t something I look forward to.

Are you using Google Fi for your Amex phone service credits? Is it posting automatically? What about those whose Fi service is currently paused? Thanks for sharing your data points.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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13 COMMENTS

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Short reply: Call Amex if you do not receive the credit.

    Long reply: To add to the mystery, I am eligible for $10 back on my monthly cell phone bill by charging it to my Amex Green Card:

    “U.S. Wireless Telephone Service Credit: From May 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 you can earn up to $10 in statement credits each month when you use your American Express® Green Card to pay for monthly wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.”

    I use a Pixel 2 as my only phone. My Google Fi service is always active. Neither my May charge nor my June charge resulted in a $10 credit, including more than 30 days after posting. The Terms and Conditions of the offer note:

    “Please allow 2-4 weeks after the eligible purchases are charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the Account. Please call the number on the back of the Card if statement credits have not posted after 4 weeks from the date of purchase.”

    I called each time after more than 30 days. Both times the representative said Google Fi was definitely eligible and cheerfully issued a $10 credit that posted the following day. The second agent even referred the issue to the systems people to see if the credit could be automated in future.

    The issue might be the Merchant Category Code. The charge shows up as “GOOGLE*GOOGLE FI GOO G.CO HELPPAY#” on my statement. Online, however, when you click Additional Information it indicates “CABLE & PAY TV.”

    That is clearly not the right category. Perhaps Google Fi is not coding correctly because they do not, technically, qualify as a “U.S. Service Provider” specified in the Terms and Conditions? Google Fi does not own and operate towers; instead, it “put[s] you on the best available network among three major networks from T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular as well as a network of Wi-Fi hotspots” (per the Google Fi website). I wonder what it coded as on the Platinum card for @kevlarlover who received the credit.

    Fingers crossed that Amex (and Citi, Chase, etc.) include charges for Google Fi automatically in future promotions. The Fi service is popular with frequent travelers and they are, presumably, considered valuable customers.

      • Yes. When I mentioned not getting the $10 credit for Google Fi, both times the agent offered me the credit right away.

        I just checked my May, June, and July charges online. All three charges have the description “GOOGLE*GOOGLE FI GOO G.CO HELPPAY#.” When I click on Additional Information, however, there are three different categories!

        DIGITAL GOODS: GAMES [May]
        CABLE & PAY TV [Jun]
        TELECOM SERVICE [Jul]

        That last one looks promising!

        • Even when mine listed as telecom in June it didn’t trigger. Keep me posted to let me know if yours triggers correctly.

          • The “TELECOM SERVICE” charge did not trigger the $10 after one month. I called an agent who, again, credited the $10 right away.

            I think the “Additional Information” link on the Amex website might not be useful for Merchant Category Code. No number is given, and my August bill shows “A0ELXTIL SELLER.” It is different for each of the last four months.

            The agent could not provide the MCC number, but he checked each GOOGLE*GOOGLE FI charge and said they show up on his system in the category “Business Services” and the subcategory “Internet Services.” It is not clear why those are used, but it would explain why the $10 is consistently not triggered.

          • Thanks for the update. Mine from July still hasn’t triggered, so I’ll be calling them this week, also.

          • My September charge [which just lists “Google Services” when I click the link for more details] automatically received a $10 credit with the description: “AMEX Wireless Phone Service Credit.” No phone call was needed this time, so fingers crossed that the system was finally fixed to recognize Google Fi.

          • Awesome. I’ll do mine as soon as the credit posts for streaming, and I’ll report back.

          • WAE – I’m happy to report that my Google Fi $20 credit on Amex Plat (Schwab) triggered automatically this month. First time! It coded exactly the same as all the other months.

  2. Unfortunately, your “paused” theory isn’t accurate, or at least not completely – my Fi service is paused, and credits from both my wife’s and my platinums are posting automatically.

    • Back to the drawing board. Thanks for the data point.
      Are they triggering the wireless credit (not the streaming credit)? Personal or biz cards?

      • My Fi service is active and I made an advance payment when I still had both streaming and wireless credits fully available. It never posted even so. The DPs seem variable and I have other ways to liquidate both so I just moved on.

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