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NOT Shocking – Amex Is Clawing Back 4X Referral Offer Points

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Amex Is Clawing Back 4X Referral Offer

NOT Shocking – Amex Is Clawing Back 4X Referral Offer Points

No one loves the clawback quite like Amex RAT loves the clawback.  I mean I have a post solely dedicated to Amex clawbacks and shutdowns.  That reminds me, time to update that with this latest news.

I have had a few readers reached out to me to let me know that they now had negative Membership Rewards balances.  The culprit appears to be the Lowe’s and Home Depot 4X referral offer earnings. If you referred a friend in March, April or the beginning of May there was a chance that you got a boost in earning on top of the normal referral bonus.

Amex Is Clawing Back 4X Referral Offer

Here are the details:
  • Refer A Friend to apply by 5/5.
  • Once they’re approved, you can earn +4 Membership Rewards® points per dollar on your eligible purchases at the following select U.S. home furnishing stores, on up to $25,000 in combined purchases for three months: Anthropologie – Home & Furniture, Bed Bath & Beyond, CB2, Crate and Barrel, Crate and Kids, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Terrain, and The Container Store.

This offer was very similar to the personal card offers that added 3X bonus points on ALL purchases after referring a friend. That offer was less prime for a clawback since it worked for everything. That meant that people felt less inclined to game it.  They simply shifted their spend over to their Amex cards for everything and racked up the points.

This 4X referral offer was store specific though, which was probably too tempting for some out there.  The fact that it was capped at $25,000 might have been another tease you couldn’t resist.  If they capped it then they must be less inclined to clawback, think of the Amex Gold 4X grocery spend at $25,000.  We saw a ton of clawbacks with the Hilton spending offers last year (they still are for some), but that was an uncapped offer.

It appears that some people messed with the bull got the Amex RAT team horns. If you purchased a lot of gift cards etc. with the offer then you may want to keep an eye on your account. Amex has already started pulling back the Membership Rewards points and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this spread.  I feel like many of the stores listed share data with the card issuers so it shouldn’t be difficult for them to track people down.

Let me know in the comments if you have been caught up in the clawback.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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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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  1. I had 20k of MR points clawed back. I spent over 10k on new windows making several payments. I did not buy a single gift card yet they clawed points back. Ridiculous. I complained and they opened a ticket and told me to call back after 10 business days. Unhappy.

  2. Hey Mark, can you clarify what you meant when you said “We saw a ton of clawbacks with the Hilton spending offers last year (they still are for some), but that was an uncapped offer.”

    Specifically, what did you mean by “they still are for some”? Are you saying Amex is still doing clawbacks for abusing the Hilton promos nearly a year after the fact?

    • People have been having even the 6X normal spend clawed back if the amounts were too much for a particular month.

      • Sorry to hear that! Can you provide some further background? I.E. How much did you spend in the month that triggered the review? How much had you been spending per month leading up to that? Did they clawback the points for just that one month? Did you have recent clawbacks on other amex cards (meaning you may have been on some sort of watch list) Etc.?

  3. While I do not play in the gift card space, I sense what the issue is.

    It seems that AMEX has a problem giving points for buying gift cards when such purchases are related to an offer — sign-up or promotion.

    But, it seems that AMEX does NOT have a problem giving points for buying gift cards if such purchases are NOT related to an offer — say, 4X grocery store purchases on the Gold Card would be acceptable.

    If this is the case, this seems to be a “bright line” rule. That is, not subjective. As much as some might want it to be otherwise, the rule is fair. Turn your attention to the future and other opportunities. As Colin Powell says, “Get mad. Get over it. Move on.”

  4. what do you mean by there still are Hilton clawbacks for some. Is this to do with using VGC for SUB offers or has it also spread to regular spend (6x grocer / 15k free night) ?

  5. I did about $11K of spend, some of it large appliance purchases and home remodels, and a good bit in gift cards. I got 8K points clawed back yesterday, couldn’t figure out if it was from the double dipping with the +1MR Lowes Amex Offer or the +4MR referral offer at Home Improvement. Waiting for more claw backs but fingers crossed that is it.

    • My guess is it is like that Milk grocery stores sell at a loss to get you in the store in hopes you buy something else. They are hoping to condition you to use the card for that spend after the promo is done but people buying gift cards don’t fall trap to that etc. They get the fees but they are usually losing money on that $25k in spend.

    • It’s not just what Amex earns in fees, it’s also how they can sell these promos in the future to their customers (the stores and chains). If Lowe’s sees that they are subsidizing 6X on Amazon gift cards then they aren’t making much margin at all from that purchase, so they are less likely to do a future deal like that with Amex.


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