Rant: Membership Rewards Team Keeps Screwing Up

Old Nov 4, 19, 12:35 am
  #1  
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Rant: Membership Rewards Team Keeps Screwing Up

After years of being generally pleased with Amex customer service, I'm beginning to be very frustrated with the MR team. First, as has been extensively documented on this forum, points routinely fail to code appropriately or to post at all. Second, and worse IMHO, is that the MR team is remarkably lazy and consistently fails to investigate the system glitches, instead opting to send the same vague form letter explaining that they have "investigated" and determined that a charge that is clearly eligible for bonus earnings is "ineligible," with no further explanation.

Not sure what others' experiences are, but this is now happening to me with some frequency. It culminated over the past week with two clearly eligible charges:

An expensive dinner at Gianni's in South Beach, which is clearly a restaurant, coding as 1x on the Gold card. They don't sell anything *but* on-premises food, as far as I am aware. Got the lazy, unresponsive form letter rejecting any adjustment.

An FHR prepaid (not advance rate, proper prepaid per Amex FHR 5X terms) booking coded as 1x on the Platinum card. Submitted a ticket and got the form response again. THIS IS NOT A MERCHANT CODING ISSUE; THIS IS AMEX IN-HOUSE. The original error itself is unacceptable. The fact that I once again got the lazy, unresponsive form letter rejecting any adjustment is simply unconscionable.

ETA the cards used for clarity
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Last edited by LowValueCustomer; Nov 4, 19 at 6:56 am
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Old Nov 4, 19, 5:45 am
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What card did you pay with?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 8:14 am
  #3  
mia
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Originally Posted by LowValueCustomer View Post

An expensive dinner at Gianni's in South Beach, which is clearly a restaurant, coding as 1x on the Gold card. They don't sell anything *but* on-premises food,
This appears to be a dining room located in a hotel. If it uses the hotel's merchant account it wouldn't code as a restaurant. What do the transaction details say?
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Old Nov 4, 19, 11:30 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
This appears to be a dining room located in a hotel. If it uses the hotel's merchant account it wouldn't code as a restaurant. What do the transaction details say?
Thanks for the reply. It codes as RESTAURANTS in the transaction details.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 11:57 am
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I've had success actually calling and chatting with customer service - not sure if you're just going through chat or going through your online statement. I've sat on the call - made them pull up the transactions in dispute, and when they saw the proper coding it was rectified pretty soon thereafter. It might sound annoying, but it's not that bad. Get the 4 or 5 disputes you have queued up and bang through them on the call in a few minutes and I bet you'd see better results.

YMMV, but I've actually been impressed by how much gets coded 4x on my gold - all my local coffee shops (which most certainly aren't restaurants) that I frequent daily are coded 4x. Even seasonal pop-up beer gardens in my neighborhood posted 4x.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 12:08 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by PHLondoner View Post
I've had success actually calling and chatting with customer service - not sure if you're just going through chat or going through your online statement. I've sat on the call - made them pull up the transactions in dispute, and when they saw the proper coding it was rectified pretty soon thereafter. It might sound annoying, but it's not that bad. Get the 4 or 5 disputes you have queued up and bang through them on the call in a few minutes and I bet you'd see better results.

YMMV, but I've actually been impressed by how much gets coded 4x on my gold - all my local coffee shops (which most certainly aren't restaurants) that I frequent daily are coded 4x. Even seasonal pop-up beer gardens in my neighborhood posted 4x.
Thanks for this advice. I've been going through the chat and online statements. Calling was going to be my next step, although I fully expected it to be an exercise in futility given the repeated failures over chat. Good to know the phone agents can be reasonable.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 9:36 pm
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MR team told me they only accept "standalone" restaurants as true restaurants for bonus purposes, meaning restaurants inside hotels, schools, office buildings, malls are all likely to not be eligible for bonus category. If the restaurant is inside a hotel, then it is not surprising to me.

The FHR case, on the other hand, is simply unacceptable, and I wish you the best getting that one fixed.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by rog92 View Post
MR team told me they only accept "standalone" restaurants as true restaurants for bonus purposes, meaning restaurants inside hotels, schools, office buildings, malls are all likely to not be eligible for bonus category. If the restaurant is inside a hotel, then it is not surprising to me.

The FHR case, on the other hand, is simply unacceptable, and I wish you the best getting that one fixed.
Right, having read far too many horror stories on here, I'm aware that it's just Russian roulette with what gets coded as a restaurant and what doesn't. As I mentioned to mia and probably should have put in the OP, this particular charge expressly states RESTAURANTS under the transaction details, which makes it doubly frustrating. But ultimately yes, the Amex FHR booking is by far the most egregious of this week's screw ups. Can't blame that one on the merchant code.
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Old Nov 5, 19, 6:10 am
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This is a good use case for the Green card. Whether it is a restaurant or a restaurant located in a hotel and coding as some sort of hotel (regardless of whether the AMEX category says restaurant) you should get your 3x points.
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