Why did AM EX refuse SPG Award points

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Mar 2, 2019
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#1
I am an avid traveler who collects frequent flyer and hotel reward points as if they were gold. I have always been a fan of the Hyatt Rewards Point and had never really utilized the Marriott/SPG award program before, although I had an account. A friend of mine who is a Marriott/SPG fan recently referred me to the SPG award card by American Express. Pursuant to this special offer, she would receive some bonus points and I would receive 75,000 bonus points, if I spent $5,000 during the first 3 months (it was a card issued to my home based business). I used the link to apply pursuant to the award offer and was approved the very same day. When I received the card the name was misspelled. Then, I had an issue with Starwood because the reward account AM EX opened was also in the wrong name. All of that was straightened out after many calls by my husband and me. The reward points were always discussed with both AM EX and SPG representatives as that was the primary incentive to open the account, consistent with the intent of the offer, and we wanted to make sure that they were appropriately credited. (SPG did award me 10,000 reward points for the problems with the merger of my accounts, given the original misspelling of my name.)

My husband and I focused on spending the $5,000; we prepaid our insurance and made sure that other expenditures previously paid in cash or by other accounts were charged to the SPG /AM EX card. To make a long story short, after many follow ups we did not receive our 75,000 points. A case was opened up by one of the AM EX representatives and when we called again after a couple of weeks we were told that AM EX had exercised their discretionary power pursuant to their terms and conditions not to award us the points. We apparently had been found to have abused these types of awards. The only thing I can think of is that I cancelled an AM EX card about 6 months prior after carrying it for over 5 years.

My main point of contention is that I was never informed of the denial of my rewards points, except after many calls and requests and after I had spent the $5,000. It seems to me, that given the incentive, I should have been made aware that it would not be offered to me immediately as I would not spent money that I would have otherwise not needed to spend or I would have allocated those expenditures to a different account. (I might add that most of the times I called the service rep would tell me to be patient that the process was time consuming, that I was shown to be qualified for the incentive and that I would eventually receive the points. It was not only after at least 5 or more calls that I was told of the denial.)

Ironically I keep getting incentive offers; now for a Marriott account.

Is there any advice you can give me. I have gotten nowhere on the phone with the representatives or their supervisors, although everyone has been very polite..

Thank you for your time and consideration
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
What were the terms and conditions of the award points? There are always terms and conditions and most of the time these awards are for new cardholders only.

I did find this under terms for an Amex referral program:

This offer is not available if they have held any other American Express Cards in the past six months that earn the same points currency.

You will need to show us the terms for us to be able to comment. It’s up to the friend that referred you to read the terms to ensure you are eligible and you also should have received something with the terms.
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 14, 2018
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#3
What were the terms and conditions of the award points? There are always terms and conditions and most of the time these awards are for new cardholders only.

I did find this under terms for an Amex referral program:

This offer is not available if they have held any other American Express Cards in the past six months that earn the same points currency.

You will need to show us the terms for us to be able to comment. It’s up to the friend that referred you to read the terms to ensure you are eligible and you also should have received something with the terms.
There are lots of reports and articles about people being denied signup bonuses by Amex. Just google "amex deny bonus". They appear to be cracking down on people gaming the signup bonus system.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#4
If one had an AmEx card previously and then cancelled it to open another card for rewards, one is likely not eligible for the welcome bonus.

AmEx has an online eligibility tool since June 2018 -- and people will get notices such as the following:

Based on your history with American Express welcome offers, introductory APR offers, or the number of cards you have opened and closed, you are not eligible to receive this welcome offer.

The credit card issuers are not interested in credit card churners who open and close accounts for bonuses -- it is likely a financial loss for them.

You could have used the online tool before applying. If you look at the terms and conditions of the application there is usually a warning that bonuses are not guaranteed.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,688
15,306
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
There are lots of reports and articles about people being denied signup bonuses by Amex. Just google "amex deny bonus". They appear to be cracking down on people gaming the signup bonus system.
I don’t think it’s people necessarily gaming - sometimes people don’t realize that closing and reopening cards can result in denial of these things.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
I don’t think it’s people necessarily gaming - sometimes people don’t realize that closing and reopening cards can result in denial of these things.
The banks look at it as "gaming" because of all the blogs out that there recommend such tactics -- ironically the banks advertise on those sites. At least AMEx has the online tool to check since last June, and AmEx seems to be very restrictive.
 
Mar 2, 2019
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#7
The terms and conditions allow them to deny bonus rewards to anyone they want at their discretion; that is what I was told. I cancelled my am ex card over 6 months ago and it had nothing to do with my applying for the spg card. I don’t refute am ex’s right to deny my bonus point I object that I was not notified immediately prior to my use of the card. I was told by an ex reps that I was eligible for the offer. It was not until I satisfied the $5k threshold that a case was open and I was denied. Not cool. I they want their cake and eat it too
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
The terms and conditions allow them to deny bonus rewards to anyone they want at their discretion; that is what I was told. I cancelled my am ex card over 6 months ago and it had nothing to do with my applying for the spg card. I don’t refute am ex’s right to deny my bonus point I object that I was not notified immediately prior to my use of the card. I was told by an ex reps that I was eligible for the offer. It was not until I satisfied the $5k threshold that a case was open and I was denied. Not cool. I they want their cake and eat it too
There is a double standard, as I noted the irony of the credit card companies advertising on blogger sites. the blogs that encourage churners. You can write to the contacts of AmEx to voice your complaints.
 
Likes: VoR61
Dec 19, 2014
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#10
American Express has one of the most restrictive rules with regards to welcoming bonuses. This policy was adapted in 2014 which states that if you have received a welcoming bonus on a card type, you are not eligible for receiving a welcoming bonus regardless of when the card was canceled.

American Express's statement:
"In order to ensure fairness and clarity with our Card Members, we will be making a change to our acquisition incentive control rules for American Express Consumer Cards. Beginning May 2, 2014, welcome bonus offers will not be available to applicants who have or have had the Card they’re applying for. For example, if a Card Member once had or has a Platinum Card, they will not be eligible to receive a welcome bonus offer on a new Platinum Card application."

This is not a SPG/MR/Bonvoy issue. This is an American Express issue.

Since you state that you previously had an American Express card that was cancelled 6 months ago, this is the issue. American Express makes the sole determination. As others have said, you can appeal to the executives at American Express, but I don't see where American Express has done anything wrong. You weren't eligible for the offer.
 
Mar 2, 2019
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#11
American Express has one of the most restrictive rules with regards to welcoming bonuses. This policy was adapted in 2014 which states that if you have received a welcoming bonus on a card type, you are not eligible for receiving a welcoming bonus regardless of when the card was canceled.

American Express's statement:
"In order to ensure fairness and clarity with our Card Members, we will be making a change to our acquisition incentive control rules for American Express Consumer Cards. Beginning May 2, 2014, welcome bonus offers will not be available to applicants who have or have had the Card they’re applying for. For example, if a Card Member once had or has a Platinum Card, they will not be eligible to receive a welcome bonus offer on a new Platinum Card application."

This is not a SPG/MR/Bonvoy issue. This is an American Express issue.

Since you state that you previously had an American Express card that was cancelled 6 months ago, this is the issue. American Express makes the sole determination. As others have said, you can appeal to the executives at American Express, but I don't see where American Express has done anything wrong. You weren't eligible for the offer.
My issue is not without denial but with their lack of notice prior to my use of the card. Since their right to deny bonus awards is discretionary my reading of the terms and conditions would not have alerted me as to their determination. I consider AM EX practices to be deceptive. By the way I am still receiving offers from AM EX that offers bonus awards
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,688
15,306
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
My issue is not without denial but with their lack of notice prior to my use of the card. Since their right to deny bonus awards is discretionary my reading of the terms and conditions would not have alerted me as to their determination. I consider AM EX practices to be deceptive. By the way I am still receiving offers from AM EX that offers bonus awards
But it actually does affect your qualifications if the terms state you must be a new credit card holder.

Can you direct us to the terms of the offer you received?
 
Likes: VoR61
Mar 2, 2019
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#13
What were the terms and conditions of the award points? There are always terms and conditions and most of the time these awards are for new cardholders only.

I did find this under terms for an Amex referral program:

This offer is not available if they have held any other American Express Cards in the past six months that earn the same points currency.

You will need to show us the terms for us to be able to comment. It’s up to the friend that referred you to read the terms to ensure you are eligible and you also should have received something with the terms.
My old am ex card was different currency. I was told the terms and conditions reserves to an ex the right to deny bonus miles on a discretionary basis
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#14
My issue is not without denial but with their lack of notice prior to my use of the card. Since their right to deny bonus awards is discretionary my reading of the terms and conditions would not have alerted me as to their determination. I consider AM EX practices to be deceptive. By the way I am still receiving offers from AM EX that offers bonus awards
Just because you receive offers does not mean that you are eligible for the offers. I receive offers all the time, including offers that I know I am not eligible for.

American Express' practice MAY or may not be deceptive, but at the end of the day, you weren't a "new" cardholder. You do have a legitimate complaint in that you weren't informed about ineligibility. However, that is a he said, she said issue, and you may get a gesture of goodwill in return if you write the executives as previously advised.

I will add that you wrote that you feel like American Express is "they want their cake and eat it too." Based on your posts and responses, I have the perception that you are doing the same. If an offer of 75,000 Bonvoy points is enough to sway you to "I would not spent money that I would have otherwise not needed to spend" then you are a willing participant in the "game."

At the end of the day, you don't have to convince me (or anyone else on this forum). You have to convince a decision maker at American Express for any additional goodwill compensation.
 
Feb 10, 2017
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#15
Just because you receive offers does not mean that you are eligible for the offers. I receive offers all the time, including offers that I know I am not eligible for.

American Express' practice MAY or may not be deceptive, but at the end of the day, you weren't a "new" cardholder. You do have a legitimate complaint in that you weren't informed about ineligibility. However, that is a he said, she said issue, and you may get a gesture of goodwill in return if you write the executives as previously advised.

I will add that you wrote that you feel like American Express is "they want their cake and eat it too." Based on your posts and responses, I have the perception that you are doing the same. If an offer of 75,000 Bonvoy points is enough to sway you to "I would not spent money that I would have otherwise not needed to spend" then you are a willing participant in the "game."

At the end of the day, you don't have to convince me (or anyone else on this forum). You have to convince a decision maker at American Express for any additional goodwill compensation.
Very well stated..
 
Sep 27, 2017
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#16
If I am understanding things correctly, the OP is not upset at the fact he was turned down for rewards. He IS upset that he was not notified of his ineligibility only after spending $5,000 on the card to earn rewards. If he was ineligible, why was he not told from the word "go". The bank acted as if though nothing was wrong until after he tried to collect on the reward. That is where he is feeling deceived.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jan 6, 2015
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#17
I agree with your assessment Riroon. AMEX could/have and should have informed oparra when she signed on that the prior card closure negated the rewards offer. Did the prior card show on the rep's screen? During signup, is this information displayed?

Bottom line: was the AMEX rep negligent (unlikely I think), or is the process flawed? I would hope and appeal will result in the rewards applied . . .
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,688
15,306
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
The process is flawed bevause AMEX assumes everyone is going to read the terms when they sign up. Instead they wait until the spend is done and the consumer asks why they haven’t been credited.

This might be something to report to the CFPB.
 
Likes: VoR61