Another Amex Clawback Excuse, Bulk Fares & Mileage, Missing a Chase Payment & More!

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miles to memories roundup

Posts That Caught My Eye

Bet You Didn’t Know: Is Chase Using Bulk Fares for Sapphire Reserve Tickets? Does It Matter? (Hint: Yes!)

Bulk fares make a huge difference to how you earn mileage on flights purchased with bank currencies such as Ultimate Rewards and ThankYou points. On a recent American flight for example, I was booked on a bulk fare which meant I earned more mileage than I would had it been calculated on my ticket cost. Sometimes though, these fares are not upgradeable!

Amex Took 200K Membership Rewards Points from Us, and My Plans to Get Them Back

It appears that Amex continues to do everything in their power to claw back the points from this “rogue” 100K offer. I have written before about how they have done it to people who manufactured spend on the card and now for product conversions. I do not think Amex is in the right in this particular situation, but of course considering I am not a lawyer, I’ll let you decide whether it is legal or not.

Missed a payment on a Chase card? Secure message them instead of calling

Chase is normally very good about waiving a late payment fee as long as you don’t make a habit of paying late. Over the years I have made such a mistake twice and had the fee waived via secure message both times. Of course, auto-pay is your friend.

Hilton Category Changes

Hilton announced its latest category changes. Nothing too groundbreaking. Lots of category drops for properties in Turkey and a few increases in China and in the U.S. The changes go into effect on October 12, 2016 and you can view the list here.

Great Deals

Meijer is offering $5 off Visa, MC and Amex gift cards through 10/5/16. More details here.

Have a great evening!

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. It seems to me that Amex is reacting to people that used a targeted offer that they were not targeted for. On an individual basis, they are looking at accounts and determining if they have done enough business with you to let you keep that offer.

  2. Thanks for referring us yet another of these Amex clawback sagas — this time for no apparent ms…. which has me wondering, did I miss a major “disturbance in the force” ?

    If Amex is now deeming ms (however they define it) as forbotten, then their cards now go to the bottom of my interest list.

    Yet what’s been happening with other major favorite cards in this space? That is, is the Amex “dark side” expanding? I’m especially wondering about Chase Ink and Chase w/ airline cards. Are there t&c’s with those cards too, heretofore unenforced, that somehow could be used like a hidden “bomb” and go off retroactively on us?

  3. PLEASE on that AMEX clawback.

    She cancelled the card two days before the annual fee conversion rules changed, after she had used the $200 travel credit, and after she had attempted to use the $100 TSA PreCheck fee.

    She got busted. Opened the card with no intention of keeping it open.

    My guess is that she was going to cancel the card mid January so she could double dip the $200 travel credit and still get $150 back. When AMEX changed the prorate rule she decided to cancel it just expedited it.

    When she writes a post with a title of “Goodbye, Amex Platinum and thanks for the points” then goes on to brag “I’m quite happy with this outcome because it means I bought 100K MR points for $183 total.”

    Hope AMEX sticks to their guns.

    • @Lopere I appreciate your perspective. I’m the one who wrote the post on Amex clawback. I admit that I was reckless about the whole thing. That said, I didn’t violate any rules. I didn’t see anything in the offer stating I couldn’t apply for the card unless I intended to keep it for years. There was no warning about conversion, either. In fact, the rep said it would be totally fine. Also, I did not take advantage of the $200 credit or any other perks. That’s why I converted the card. The rules on conversion and pro-rating fees didn’t change on September 1st. They only apply to cancellations. I won’t pretend, I applied mainly for the points, though I was hoping to utilize a few perks as well. If I did, I would have kept the card open. Either way, I do appreciate your comment.

      • Leana,

        Well thought. Everyone here is trying to take the advantage to earn points for travel unless they either work for AMEX or jealous, We are in same boat and should help each other.

    • Yes I can see in this case but most of us still have the card and paid $450 and used the card for some thing else too not just MS. If they want to exclude the Gift card they should spell out or told card members ASAP instead giving out bonus after 2nd statement then waited right after about 3 month period expired taking away the bonus without any explanation even their customer service people: chat, phone, supervisor, reward investigation specialist could not explain why and even told my purchases were valid for bonus. Don’t you think it is a conspiracy or unfaithful from someone/department at AMEX?

    • I especially liked her comment a few months ago just after getting the card.

      “Additionally, I believe it wouldn’t make us look very good as customers if we cancelled our cards right after receiving the bonus. Banks are not stupid, and I would hate to tick off Amex in any way. They have several bonuses I haven’t yet taken advantage of. It’s just not worth it to get a few hundred dollars back now and risk foregoing thousands of dollars in rewards later on.”

      Good job, mission accomplished.

  4. After reading the article about Amex I remembered something I learned a while back. I had accumulated a lot of Delta points with Amex, and could not find anything that I liked to redeem them with. So I called Amex and asked if I could use them for purchase of a retail item (I was eyeing up an expensive camera lens). The answer was plain and simple. Delta owns the points, and they determine what you can redeem them for. Lesson to be learned here is “you DO NOT own points”. The airline or credit card does, and they allow you to redeem them within parameters. That is the fatal flaw in the argument that the writer of the article did not realize. She did not own them. She had no card or certificate that said “you own this amount of points”. If it is not in your possession, you do not own it. None of us own our points. They are held by the credit card bank or airline. If you get the ire of the airline or credit card up, this may be the price. So it seemed that she did not want to pay another $450 fee, and transferred out of the Amex platinum program. Her points went with her transfer. I think her only hope is that she saved a screenshot of her conversation with the person she was chatting with. As a representative of Amex on their site, what he/she stated may get the points back, but I doubt it. Lesson learned…call and speak to a real person, ask that any conditions of any action be placed in your file. Something similar happened to me, just not as drastic. When I opened my Premier Gold card, one of the benefits is a $100 airline credit for baggage fees, incidentals, food on plane, etc. I asked in a live chat how Amex determined that a charge was valid for that reimbursement. I was assured that the “system” scans your activity and will recognize it. OK, I bought tickets on Frontier, was charged for baggage but never reimbursed. After calling Amex I was told that I must pick a single airline to use for reimbursement before booking, and since I had not done that, I ate the baggage charges. Once again, the chat room people are not always up to snuff. It is better to call.

  5. I’m obviously not a fan of American Express scrutinizing gift card purchases.. but I’d think gift cards are “purchases or reloading of prepaid cards”.. no?

    When you see everyone getting the points frozen… make every effort to do 100% organic spend.
    Don’t cancel right after you get the points cmon guys!
    Don’t be so short sighted!

    • Joe,

      You can’t reload the GC, it is the difference. When you saw it, it is too late 3 months already expired. You got the bonus after 2nd statement so they should tell us at that time or did not give us the bonus but they went ahead to give out the bonus and they waited until 3 months expired to get points back. Do you think they did the right thing or faithful? Even their employees told me I did every thing correctly and did not understand why when I called and asked. Don’t you think some thing strange since if it is their policy the person investigate the bonus at the Reward department should know instead he had no clues and told me it is strange and he did not understand why and open the case for me!!! Cancel what? I still have the card.

  6. Shawn,

    I think everyone who is in this situation should file with CFPB. I did and AMEX responded back said some amount spending not qualify. I filed dispute base on 3 reasons:

    * Gift card is not equivalent to cash since you can’t use outside US. Some merchants do not accept GC and it does expire and you can deposit to bank to pay for you bill.

    ^ GC is not the same as Debit card and I cited an article from

    * They should let us know ahead 3 months period to meet the minimum requirement for bonus and look like AMEX did without good faith trying to get away of giving bonus points.

    According to CFPB my case is closed and sent to FTC. If we have enough people to file and dispute, FTC will look into it or at least AMEX would have bad press.


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