Brussels Airlines American Express card and M&M - a rant

Old Feb 1, 14, 6:25 am
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Brussels Airlines American Express card and M&M - a rant

‘Simple comme bonjour’ – as simple as saying ‘hi’, so say the French. That’s what I expected it to be like. After all, once someone has filled out the on-line form indicating he wants an American Express (AE) card and a frequent flyer account, surely they will have some kind of simple, automated process in place to take care of all that and keep the customer informed, right?

It all started on the 15th of August 2013. Being an avid traveler, I had been following Bart Lapers’ blog for some time. The world-famous-in-Belgium-blogger seemed to be doing what I was trying to do too: luxury travel on a budget. I had already saved us a lot of money by avoiding the ridiculously expensive packages from Belgian tour operators and booking flights and hotels separately, through German tour operators or direct. I had even found a much better travel insurance deal in Holland. I was learning every day. But frequent flyer programs weren’t working for us. We did not nearly fly enough to get anything out of them. Until I read about the Brussels Airlines Classic American Express card. Now that seemed like an interesting deal. Ok, it cost €60 per year, €40 more than my VISA and €60 more than my partner’s Mastercard, but hey, I should be able to earn around 25.000 miles a year through purchases and flights, and my miles won’t expire, so it should be worth it. If not that, at least it will be fun!

So I decided to sign up. Killing two birds with one stone, I indicated I was not yet a Miles and More (M&M) member, so that would be taken care of too. And yes, a couple of weeks later, a nice package arrived in the mail. It contained my credit card and all I wanted to know about it, and more. How to activate it, the insurance coverage details, who to call in case of questions. Great! But wait… besides the nice M&M, Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa logos on the card, there was no info whatsoever on any frequent flyer program, not a single word…. That same night, I called AE a first time to ask where my M&M card was, or at least my account number and login info. I was informed they were just the after hours emergency customer service and they did not know anything about it.

Having scheduled a trip to South Africa and Mozambique including flights with Egyptair and SAA at the end of September, I really wanted to know to which M&M ID they had linked my card. It took me four – increasingly frustrated - calls to AE and M&M over the next couple of days to find out that AE would only create me a M&M account when they wanted to send my earned miles info to M&M, which would only happen after about three months, when they were sure I was paying my bills. Funny thing is, it was someone at M&M customer service who was finally able to enlighten me. AE customer service was completely oblivious. So I had to create a M&M account myself, and call AE to let them know my ID.

Five months later, I have paid five AE invoices. I have earned 8315 miles with my AE card. To their credit (pun intended), the invoices do seem to indicate correctly the amount of miles earned each month. They added the 1500 points subscription bonus, and the additional 1500 bonus for subscribing through Bart’s link. They even correctly calculated the 1,5x points for paying our flights to Vienna with the card. I now realize, though, it wasn’t my smartest decision ever to pay the scandalous €16 credit card fee for using my Brussels Airlines credit card to pay for two Brussels Airlines flights for a total of €310, getting me 465 points, while no one would even be so stupid as to consider the equivalent 1000 mile purchase for €35 offered by M&M.

To end the story on a bombshell: so far, none of these points have made their way to my M&M account. I guess I will need to start making some more calls…
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Old Feb 1, 14, 11:51 am
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Miles earned in a certain month make it into the account after the bill for the next month is issued. At least that's what happens with my mastercard.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 2:50 am
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Originally Posted by malmostoso View Post
Miles earned in a certain month make it into the account after the bill for the next month is issued. At least that's what happens with my mastercard.
That's what I hoped would happen. Doesn't seem to work, though. My invoices contain three boxes related to miles: New Miles and More miles, Corrections and Bonuses and Miles transferred to Miles and More. The first two are used, the third is always 0...
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Old Feb 2, 14, 3:53 am
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Interesting. Is the AMEX issued by BCC Corporate? My Mastercard is, and I don't have these boxes on the invoice. It simply says "this month you earned XXX miles", where XXX corresponds to the EUR of the invoice. No talk of corrections and bonuses anywhere.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 4:30 am
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In my case my miles always credited to my M&M account at the last day of the month. Then on the first business day of the next month I will get the e-invoice from my bank.

I have been already credit miles for January, while hasnt received the jan statement from my bank.

I have a Mastercad M&M Gold card.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by makos View Post
I have a Mastercad M&M Gold card.
Are you a SEN? The Gold card is not on the website.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 4:53 am
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Originally Posted by malmostoso View Post
Are you a SEN? The Gold card is not on the website.
No. Also it is a LH CC not Brussels Airlines.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 5:26 am
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Originally Posted by makos View Post
No. Also it is a LH CC not Brussels Airlines.
I see. That might be why your miles post faster than SN's.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 5:30 am
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I guess the lesson here is that it took you longer to write your rant (and it will take far longer in getting this corrected) than if you had just enrolled in M&M yourself and provided that number with your card application.

Not that it should happen this way, and a bad experience for you. But why create an extra layer for things to go wrong... an online M&M application only takes a few minutes, and then you have full control over what data is provided.

Last edited by RTW1; Feb 2, 14 at 6:53 am
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Old Feb 2, 14, 5:47 am
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A mess…
A few month ago, as I was transiting through BRU, just down the staircase to the lounges, I was asked if I am SEN and if I was interested in an SN Premium AMEX. I replied I had already a M&M MC Gold card in LUX. The lady said: Oh, for Luxembourg it will work too. The expectation for 1,5 miles/euro spent (instead of 1 mile/euro for my MC) made me sign.

About a week later I got a letter asking me to send in a copy of a telephone bill, electricity bill,… stating my name and address, so the card could be issued. I sent a copy to Brussels. Instead of getting the AMEX, I again received the letter asking me to send in a proof of my address. So, I send a copy again.

2 weeks later, I received a SN classic Mastercard. I sent it back, stating I had applied for the AMEX.
1 week later, I again received a letter asking to send in a proof of my address and that the issuing of the card is suspended as long as I do not send in a proof of my address.

At that point it was enough. I simply cancelled the contract.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 6:26 am
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PetzLUX, I think you can forget AMEX Belgium. I have had a card since '93 and had similar issues when upgrading to the Plat card a few years ago. Existing client, but they asked me 5 times for proof of address! Then my wife's card would work in Luxury stores, but if she went to Delhaize or H&M it would get rejected. I recently had to ring 3 times in the same day while shopping at Macy's in the US. That has happened once in 20 years previously.

In 2012 they seriously reduced the benefits for the Plat card, yet sent no paperwork and made no changes to the website. I sent them a letter in October regarding both issues and the only response I received from them was a recent brochure listing benefits. The website still remains unchanged, proudly professing services and benefits that they do not offer for almost a year now. As soon as my French card arrives next week I will be through with dealing with them.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by RTW1 View Post
I guess the lesson here is that it took you longer to write your rant (and it will take far longer in getting this corrected) than if you had just enrolled in M&M yourself and provided that number with your card application.

Not that it should happen this way, and a bad experience for you. But why create an extra layer for things to go wrong... an online M&M application only takes a few minutes, and then you have full control over what data is provided.
True, with hindsight... But how could I have known? The form to apply for the AMEX card contained a check box to indicate if I was a M&M member already. I assumed they would take care of the rest...

Also, it is what I ended up doing: I created my own M&M account and called AMEX to pass them the number. How hard can it be to enter that number into their system and link it to my AMEX?!?
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Old Feb 2, 14, 7:24 am
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Of course you couldn't have known.... and if it's offered it should work.
But still, having one entity create an account with another.... that can only go wrong. Best to provide them with an account number you have set-up so you can control the data.

And for what can go wrong with providing an account number after the fact, a lot I would imagine. This branded card can probably only be created with an M&M number. Wouldn't surprise me if changing that number after the creation isn't going to be that easy. If it can be changed at all.... certainly not by the average employee and probably with a lot of supporting documentation as well.
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Old Feb 2, 14, 1:29 pm
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I've been an SN AmEx (classic) card holder since the card has been introduced. Generally speaking I've experienced no problems: had to call once ( 3 or 4 years ago) to get my 5000 miles year bonus posted and that's it. Miles are posted promptly, two days (!) after the date of invoice. So - as with many things - your experience will vary.

I had the card blocked once in the US - a phone call fixed it. I was told that I should notify them before (quote) "travelling to third world countries like the USA or Africa". Priceless.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by AVSA View Post
I've been an SN AmEx (classic) card holder since the card has been introduced. Generally speaking I've experienced no problems: had to call once ( 3 or 4 years ago) to get my 5000 miles year bonus posted and that's it. Miles are posted promptly, two days (!) after the date of invoice. So - as with many things - your experience will vary.

I had the card blocked once in the US - a phone call fixed it. I was told that I should notify them before (quote) "travelling to third world countries like the USA or Africa". Priceless.
Don't even mention having the card blocked lol. During my first month, after having spent about €1200, I wanted to pay about €10 at Brussels Airport. Refused

This seems to be a lot better after a couple month of usage though.
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