FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Amex [USA] refuses to honor signup bonus [Consolidated]
Old Jul 10, 16, 6:58 pm
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: YYZ
Programs: E35K, TK*S ;Bonvoy PE
Posts: 363
Originally Posted by plainheart View Post
Did you get your bonus points after talking to the supervisor? I read similar stories elsewhere without conclusion.
Here's what I've learned about Amex' backward computer systems.

The most critical transaction to getting your threshold bonus is ONLY the transaction that brings you OVER the threshold. So, theoretically if your threshold is $5000 and your spending is as follows:

1st Purchase $4999
2nd purchase $3.00 Apple store
3rd purchase $25

If you return the 2nd purchase -- YOU WILL LOSE THE THRESHOLD BONUS! The threshold is effectively attached to the purchase that brought you over the threshold. Their system does not recognize the fact that you had a subsequent purchase of $25 to bring you back over the threshold.

In addition, you should also keep in mind that during the course of reaching your threshold spending, Amex will NOT net out returns that occur during your efforts to reach the threshold.

SO, here's another spending scenario. In this scenario let's just pretend your spending threshold is only $1,000. Let's say you have the following spending within 1 month (ie within the typical 3 month threshold time period):

1st Purchase $500
2nd Purchase $250
RETURN/CREDIT of item 1 -- $500
3rd Purchase $275

Gross purchases: $1025
NET purchases (ie net of the return): $525

In this scenario -- you actually **would** receive the threshold points based on the 3rd purchase!!! So, DO NOT RETURN THAT item or you will then LOSE your threshold points. Also, you do NOT need to continue spending more $$ on the card (ie $475) because according to Amex you've spent $1025.

It appears that this Amex computer programming is the only way they could figure out how to prevent 'scammers' -- I suppose the alternative of calculating net purchases (and ensuring that certain credits -- ie payments) did not screw up their calculation -- was too difficult.

What all of this means is that for Amex to give you your threshold points after you returned that KEY purchase that brought you over the GROSS spending threshold, they need to send the issue to their IT department to "reassign" the designation to the item that, in fact, is the new item that had you cross the threshold.

So, in the first example above, let's look at that third purchase (again, let's assume all of these happen within the three months):

1st Purchase $4999
2nd purchase $3.00 Apple store
RETURN $3.00 APPLE STORE purchase
3rd purchase $25.00

Based on the scenario above, your KEY purchase was the $3.00 apple store purchase -- because it was RETURNED, you are now SCREWED! So, what an Amex supervisor has to do is to contact their IT department to reassign the threshold from the Apple Store purchase (ie #2) to the 3rd purchase (ie the $25.00). This is a manual process that effectively triggers an audit of your purchases -- the supervisor will now look at every transaction and calculate your true (ie NET) spending to determine if and WHEN you met the spending threshold. They created this safeguard to prevent fraudulent points schemers, so they will scrutinize your account to determine if you are "worthy" of the threshold points -- FOR real this time, and not based on their screwed up IT logic. If you are entitled to the points, the IT department will attach the threshold points to the qualifying purchase within 6-8 weeks of that purchase date. So, be prepared to be patient.

The lesson for everyone is:

#1. Be mindful of your GROSS spending
#2 DO NOT RETURN the critical purchase that pushes you across your GROSS spending threshold (ie what Amex believes is your real threshold).
#3 If you do end up breaking rule#2.... be patient.... but persistent (assuming you legitimately are entitled to the threshold points)

Last edited by Sam_AE; Jul 10, 16 at 7:06 pm
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