Amex Canada - no goodwill gestures due to COVID

Old Jun 4, 20, 3:08 pm
  #1  
Moderator, Air Canada
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE100K, WS Gold, BA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson/NH Gold
Posts: 9,118
Amex Canada - no goodwill gestures due to COVID

I've already felt like the Platinum card wasn't offering very good value at the moment with no travel to enjoy most of its benefits. Amex Canada is doing 2x points on the card, which is sort of okay but not all that valuable since most of my spending is on travel, and did launch an interest offering this morning that's 1:1 statement credit (up to $250) for spending at a small number of grocery stores, which is not all that valuable to me since none of them are at all near me. So overall it's maybe not terrible, but not great.

Long story short, I found out today that my Platinum card had been incorrectly "invalidated" by an Amex rep who messed something up a couple of days ago. This was inconvenient to me as my credit card was declined when trying to pay for my lunch, but then I had to spend half an hour on the phone with Amex figuring out what happened and getting them to send me a new card, and now I'm going to have to spend who knows how long changing my card number on file with Netflix, Amazon, etc...

Where this gets COVID-related is that normally I find Amex will throw a few points or a small statement credit or something at you as a goodwill gesture for something like this. You know, 5,000 MR or $50 or something. And it's good enough that I'm at least mollified even if not entirely satisfied.

But I was told (by a supervisor) that Amex Canada's current policy is zero goodwill gestures, because of COVID. I was told about all the wonderful ways they're "adding value" to the cards, i.e. the 2x points and that $250 statement credit I mentioned above. I pointed out that the benefits of the Platinum card are almost all travel-related, and therefore currently inaccessible, so at best some of these things are trying to make us whole for the things we've lost. But to offer zero additional compensation for the inconvenience they've caused with this whole fiasco is just brutal. I also took the opportunity to talk to the guy about the renewal of my Platinum card, which is coming up this month, and whether they would do anything in terms of reducing the fee, offering a few MR, etc, and told was the same thing.

I've had various forms of Amex cards since 2008, and generally I've found their customer service to be quite good, but I'm really disappointed by this attitude and response to the pandemic that I've encountered here, and I may cancel my Platinum card out of spite (and then just get another one when travel resumes and it's actually worth having).
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Jun 4, 20, 3:37 pm
  #2  
mia
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 41,351
Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
....card had been incorrectly "invalidated" by an Amex rep who messed something up a couple of days ago.....
Did you contact American Express to do something that was not done correctly?
mia is online now  
Old Jun 4, 20, 4:41 pm
  #3  
Moderator, Air Canada
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE100K, WS Gold, BA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson/NH Gold
Posts: 9,118
Originally Posted by mia View Post
Did you contact American Express to do something that was not done correctly?
They had (twice) failed to deliver a new Business Platinum card to me, so I called to get that sorted out. She needed to cancel the Business Platinum that I never received, but somehow she cancelled both that and the regular Platinum. Yet she failed to issue me a new regular Platinum.

There was no reason for her to be touching the regular Platinum at all. I get that it was probably a simple moment of carelessness on her part, and mistakes happen, but given that this has been 100% screw-ups on Amex's end, I think it's reasonable to expect them to do something to make it up to me. Which, due to COVID, they won't.
strickerj and groenroos like this.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Jun 5, 20, 2:23 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: YYZ & MCO
Programs: AC E75K, MR/SPG Plat Ambassador, UA G
Posts: 61
Adam Smith similar data point here.

I have ~$80k annual spend on personal platinum due to work travel and when I called about annual fee last week they offered nothing (typical retention bonus is 10k MR). As discussed in Air Canada forum they also reversed some charge backs which I wasn't happy about and escalated to manager. The manager said he understood frustration but couldn't offer anything other than to close card if I was unhappy.

but given that this has been 100% screw-ups on Amex's end, I think it's reasonable to expect them to do something to make it up to me. Which, due to COVID, they won't.
I certainly appreciate the $250 and will use it, but agree with you that this probably should have ended with them throwing a few thousand MR your way for the inconvenience due to their error.
yyz_consulted is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 2:34 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 464
Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
[...]....and did launch an interest offering this morning that's 1:1 statement credit (up to $250) for spending at a small number of grocery stores, which is not all that valuable to me since none of them are at all near me. So overall it's maybe not terrible, but not great.
Small number of grocery stores? I don't know where in YYZ you're, and the list certainly does not cover every grocery chain out there. But Safeway + Save-On combined prob makes up a great chunk of groceries stores in Canada, especially at major cities. If you really don't have one near you, you can always use UberEats.
JordanWalker is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 5:36 pm
  #6  
Moderator, Air Canada
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE100K, WS Gold, BA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson/NH Gold
Posts: 9,118
Originally Posted by JordanWalker View Post
Small number of grocery stores? I don't know where in YYZ you're, and the list certainly does not cover every grocery chain out there. But Safeway + Save-On combined prob makes up a great chunk of groceries stores in Canada, especially at major cities.
Safeway is not part of this, only Sobey's. Metro and Longo's are only in eastern Canada. Loblaws, the largest grocery retailer in Canada, is not included. Safeway is the 2nd or 3rd largest when separated out from Sobey's. Costco and Wal-Mart also have a decent share of the grocery market. So this is good at maybe 20-25% of the grocery stores in Canada, which is definitely a "small number".

Not sure whether that was a typo or you somehow think I'm in YYZ, but I live in central YYC. There isn't a Sobey's or Save-On within 5 km of where I live (probably like 6-8, but definitely not within 5), and there are probably at least 20 grocery stores (Safeway, Co-op, IGA, plus smaller, more upscale chains like Urban Fare and Sunterra, not to mention a couple of Wal-Marts) that are closer to me than the closest Sobey's or Save-On.

And since the promo excludes gift cards, I can't just make a 30-minute schlep to Sobey's, buy $250 of gift cards, and come home. Liquor is also excluded, so no going to the Sobey's liquor store and just stocking up on booze.

If you really don't have one near you, you can always use UberEats.
None of the restaurants I order from is on Uber Eats. They're all on Skip the Dishes or Doordash. I can't speak to YTO or YMQ, but Uber Eats has extremely poor market share in YYC, and I've been told it's also quite low in YVR. Maybe out east this is a more useful feature.

Bottom line is for me, this promo is not at all easy or convenient to take advantage of. I don't know that I'll get a single dollar out of it. It does nothing to make up for the fact that I'm paying a huge annual fee to get Priority Pass and other benefits that I can't use right now.

It's not at all a valid reason to say they can't offer compensation for other things.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 5:51 pm
  #7  
mia
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 41,351
Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
....promo excludes gift cards,
Do the terms exclude purchases of the retailer's own gift cards, purchases of third-party gift cards, both, or isn't it clear from the language?
mia is online now  
Old Jun 6, 20, 5:59 pm
  #8  
Moderator, Air Canada
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE100K, WS Gold, BA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson/NH Gold
Posts: 9,118
Originally Posted by mia View Post
Do the terms exclude purchases of the retailer's own gift cards, purchases of third-party gift cards, both, or isn't it clear from the language?
The T&C say:

"Any purchases not made directly with an eligible merchant are excluded including but not limited to purchases of gift cards, oil, gas, fuel, protection plans, service plans, insurance plans, financial services, technology services, postal services, lottery services, floral services, wine, liquor and alcohol purchases, and medical or pharmacy services."

Is a Sobey's gift card purchased from Sobery's a purchase "made directly with" Sobey's, and therefore excluded from the exclusions? Not entirely clear, but the way it's drafted suggests pretty clearly to me that any gift card purchase will simply be excluded from the eligible amount.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 6:13 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: ZOA, SFO, HKG
Programs: UA 1K 0.9MM, Marriott Gold, HHonors Gold, Hertz PC, SBux Gold, TSA Pre✓
Posts: 12,234
Cancel your card. Seriously.

Yes - it would be nice if AMEX will refund the AF. In fact, I tried and I failed.

Also - AMEX has offered reliefs to those impacted. Yes - not everyone needs it.

You are aware of the card carrying an AF. FWIW - by keeping the card, you are bound by the T&Cs. AMEX does not owe you anything.

You are not the only one impacted. AMEX has impacted as well.

So OP is indeed so unhappy about AMEX not doing anything up to his standard. Is it the right time to think about what's next?
garykung is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 6:46 pm
  #10  
Moderator, Air Canada
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE100K, WS Gold, BA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson/NH Gold
Posts: 9,118
Originally Posted by garykung View Post
FWIW - by keeping the card, you are bound by the T&Cs. AMEX does not owe you anything.
I'm really not sure what that has to do with anything. I never said Amex owed me anything. But most merchants usually offer compensation for customer service failures. Especially merchants that see themselves as catering to a premium clientele, like Amex. I've experienced several of those from Amex lately (several hours of my time wasted for problems that were entirely their doing).

As someone who has been an Amex customer for 12-13 years and typically runs six figures a year through their cards, I expected them to deliver the premium customer service for which they charge such high fees, as they have done in the past. Expecting something is not the same as being owed.

Is it the right time to think about what's next?
As I stated in the OP, the Platinum card is up for renewal this month, and I may cancel it. We'll see; I have several weeks to think about that.
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 6:55 pm
  #11  
mia
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 41,351
Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
...."Any purchases not made directly with an eligible merchant are excluded including but not limited to purchases of gift cards...
I think this excludes outsourced gift card sales (most often this occurs online), or if you were to buy a participating branded gift card at another store. I think that if you buy a gift card at an eligible physical store it will be covered the same as any other purchase.
mia is online now  
Old Jun 6, 20, 6:58 pm
  #12  
Moderator, Air Canada
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE100K, WS Gold, BA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson/NH Gold
Posts: 9,118
Originally Posted by mia View Post
I think this excludes outsourced gift card sales (most often this occurs online), or if you were to buy a participating branded gift card at another store. I think that if you buy a gift card at an eligible physical store it will be covered the same as any other purchase.
Are you willing to indemnify me for the $250 if they aren't?
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 7:03 pm
  #13  
mia
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend, Moderator: American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Signatures
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Miami & London
Programs: AA & Marriott Perpetual Platinum; HH Gold
Posts: 41,351
The sentence lists gift cards as an example of a purchase not made directly with an eligible merchant. Where is the risk if you pay $250 for a gift card worth $250?
mia is online now  
Old Jun 6, 20, 7:08 pm
  #14  
Moderator, Air Canada
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE100K, WS Gold, BA Silver, Marriott Titanium, Accor/Hilton/Radisson/NH Gold
Posts: 9,118
Originally Posted by mia View Post
The sentence lists gift cards as an example of a purchase not made directly with an eligible merchant. Where is the risk if you pay $250 for a gift card worth $250?
By that logic, many of the things on that list should not be excluded - fuel, liquor, lottery tickets, those are all purchased directly from the merchant.

As far as I can tell, they're trying to exclude certain goods/services from the promo.

Last edited by Adam Smith; Jun 6, 20 at 7:13 pm
Adam Smith is offline  
Old Jun 6, 20, 7:10 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: YYZ & MCO
Programs: AC E75K, MR/SPG Plat Ambassador, UA G
Posts: 61
Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Safeway is not part of this, only Sobey's. Metro and Longo's are only in eastern Canada. Loblaws, the largest grocery retailer in Canada, is not included. Safeway is the 2nd or 3rd largest when separated out from Sobey's. Costco and Wal-Mart also have a decent share of the grocery market. So this is good at maybe 20-25% of the grocery stores in Canada, which is definitely a "small number".
FYI - Although not included in the T&C's, apparently, a user on Reddit reached out to AMEX via chat and Safeway is included as they are a subsidiary of Sobeys in Canada. More details here... https://www.reddit.com/r/churningcan..._up_to_250_in/

Further, Lowblaws doesn't take AMEX so could not be included (at least in eastern Canada).
Adam Smith likes this.

Last edited by yyz_consulted; Jun 6, 20 at 7:15 pm
yyz_consulted is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: