A Huge Obstacle to 5X Everywhere with the NBA Amex: Did Anyone Else Run Into This Problem?

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BBVA Compass NBA Amex Bonus

NBA Amex 5X Problems

As I have written about previously, yesterday was the first day of the NBA Finals, also known as the beginning of 5% everywhere on the BBVA Compass NBA American Express card. While this NBA Finals period is uncapped, going forward you will be limited to 5% on just $5K in purchases per bonus period.

Since this is the last unlimited hoorah, my wife and I headed out yesterday to a local mall to buy what we need. Unfortunately the customer service desk at this mall saw us pull out our unchipped BBVA Compass NBA Amex cards and spouted the following policy:

“We cannot accept non-chipped Amex cards.”

They said that non-chipped Visa and Mastercards were fine, but this rule applied specifically to American Express cards. After confirming the policy with a manager, we left with our tails between our legs. We even called up BBVA Compass for replacement cards, but they said that chipped cards won’t be out until July.

Why Is Non-Chipped An Issue?

Last year the law changed in the U.S. to require merchants to install payment terminals with chip readers. If a merchant doesn’t have a chip reader, then the fraud liability is on them. If they have a chip reader, but a customer uses a non-chipped card, they are supposed to be in the clear. That is why this policy is confusing to me.

A Way Forward

I am not going to lie, this mall was a good part of our 5% strategy for the next couple of weeks, so we are going to have to adjust. There is one other mall in town we may try, but other than that we will be visiting grocery stores. Unfortunately there aren’t many of those that are friendly either, considering Albertson’s and Von’s pulled all of their big cards.


I figure that enough of you may be out and about using your BBVA Compass NBA Amex cards so I thought I would ask how everything is going with them. Have you run into this situation or another one out in the wild? I am curious to find out if this was just a case of one location making a rule or if this non-chipped Amex ban in place elsewhere.

Shawn Coomerhttps://www.milestomemories.com
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. My card was denied at the mall and I was texted a fraud alert. Then the clerk told me she could not swipe my card again BECAUSE it had been denied once. Even after she heard me call my bank.

  2. I called to notify of upcoming large purchases and the two told me my daily charge limit had been temporarily upped to 10k per day!

  3. Ive been told only the Cleveland Cavaliers card will successfully charge over $5K per transaction. Seems legit

  4. Just did $4k on our BBVA cards today, at the Mall.

    No issues here on the East Coast.

    Michael O: The cards have a daily SPEND LIMIT of $5k. Its simple. DONT go over that limit, per card.

    Spend $4k per day on the card, and you will be OK.

  5. The problem with this card is seemingly any purchase above 5k gets declined for fraud. Even if you call first and notify them. Even after you verify via text message its legit and try next day. It’s so bad that the representatives at the mall know the nba card and tell me how many are not working (most) and unfortunately with them you only get one shot per day per credit card. That might be why they switched at your mall to chip to help minimize the chance they go through 19 Visa cards and then have to cancel the transaction. Waste of their time.

  6. This family owned Pakistani grocery mart in LA lets me buy money orders with cc so my promo experience has just been heavenly. I pick up 5-6k on the way home and use mobile deposit. I’m hoping it triggers the grocery bonus, though iirc all purchases got 6x in February for some odd reason.

  7. I’m personally not going out of my way to maximize this promotion. If it fits my usual routine and I can find ways to maximize it’s value then great, if not then that’s fine too. I know the saying is no risk no reward but in this instance for me personally there’s a point of diminishing returns with this promo.

  8. Hi Shawn,

    I have no problem and just bought 2 X $500 GC yesterday. I am from the East Coast though and this is Simon Mall.


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