Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great weekend. 2 months ago, I wrote First Class Flights Cheaper than Economy with AMEX Business Platinum 35% Membership Rewards Points Rebate. In that post, I showed how I booked an Alaska Airlines first class flight using American Express Membership Rewards Points to trigger the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate. That flight was booked on May 30 for travel in mid October and cost 19,666 Membership Rewards Points. According to the benefit terms, the rebate should appear in 6-10 weeks. Based on the May 30 booking date, the 10 week mark was August 8. I kept checking my Membership Rewards account ever few days in August, but no Membership Rewards Points ever posted. On Friday, I decided to call the American Express Membership Rewards department to investigate the issue. What ensued was not a very pleasant experience with the rep.
The call started out fine. I asked the rep to investigate the transaction and figure out why the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate did not post to my account. The rep was not very familiar with the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate (a bad sign), so I was put on hold so they could research the benefit. When the rep came back, she said that the 197 Membership Rewards Points would post to my account soon (another bad sign). Wait, what? I was expecting 35% of 19,666 = 6,883 Membership Rewards Points. This part was kind of awkward, but I told the rep that she was wrong and that I was expecting 6,883 Membership Rewards Points. She was confused and put me on hold again. When she came back, she told me that she was able to manually process the 35% rebate for the $196 flight (she rounded down my $196.66 flight). She processed the 35% of 19,600 = 6,860 Membership Rewards Points. She then told me that this benefit was only available for first and business class flights and that my economy flight was not eligible, but she was doing me a favor. This was surprising and I told her that I did book a first class flight – it was a short, hour-long flight from San Francisco to Orange County in Alaska Airlines First Class. I then asked her when the Membership Rewards Points would post to my account and she said that they were already there. I thanked her for her help and logged back into my Membership Rewards account. There they were, all
6,883 6,860 Membership Rewards Points. Strangely, the transaction shows that it was linked to my American Express Everyday Credit Card (very random) and not on my American Express Business Platinum Charge Card (which is the only card I have that offers the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate benefit).
I took my frustrations to Twitter and reached out to @AmericanExpress. Shortly after writing the tweet, I realized that @AskAMEX would be more helpful.
.@AmericanExpress spoke to CSR about the AMEX Biz Plat 35% rebate for first/biz flights booked with MR Points. CSR was not familiar with 35% rebate and short changed me on the number of MR Points I should have earned. Not a good experience. pic.twitter.com/cOUivlRjUR
— Grant Thomas (@travelwithgrant) August 23, 2019
A few minutes later, I was DM’ing the rep from @AskAMEX and she shared a link to an American Express live chat. After explaining the situation and my frustrations with the whole process (why didn’t the 6,883 Membership Rewards Points automatically post within the 10 week window?), she gave me another 50 Membership Rewards Points as a goodwill gesture. I wasn’t necessarily asking for more Membership Rewards Points, I just wanted them to be aware of the issue and my negative experience with the American Express phone rep. These Membership Rewards Points also posted to my American Express Everyday Credit Card.
In the future, if I decide to book another flight with the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate, I will set an alert on my calendar for 10 weeks later to followup with American Express. Hopefully I get a rep that knows about the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate and how to process the rebate. Honestly, there are not that many worthwhile benefits of the American Express Business Platinum Charge Card, so the Membership Rewards reps should be very familiar with the 35% Membership Rewards Points rebate. If you have had any similar issues with the rebate, please share them in the comments. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!