My Disappointing Experience with AMEX Business Platinum 35% Membership Rewards Point Rebate

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.

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!

14 thoughts on “My Disappointing Experience with AMEX Business Platinum 35% Membership Rewards Point Rebate

  1. Alex

    Used it many times in the past and promptly received the rebate in less than a week for AA and UA. This time, I booked a flight on July 15, also in AS and the rep told me to wait the full 10 weeks.

    Reply
  2. James

    It’s clear they don’t have a great grasp on the program, despite the fact that, as you said, it’s one of the few benefits of the card. The points often don’t post automatically for me (regardless of carrier), and it’s clear that the 6-10 week timeframe is designed to create an opportunity for them to “forget” and for you to forget. It’s obvious they could have them post immediately, if they wished.

    A year or two ago the bonus didn’t post (was expecting 8,000 points) and after repeated, frustrating calls they credited the account 80,000 points. I threw up my hands and said you know what, fine. I certainly do enough business with them.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      You are probably right, American Express could definitely process the rebate in 1-2 days (after the 24 hour free cancellation period ends with the airlines) if they wanted to. I would be glad to get 80,000 Membership Rewards Points, but I doubt that will happen :/

      Reply
  3. docntx

    AMEX reps are very random. I have had amazing reps, and some rather clueless.
    If the call goes South early on, it is my cue for HUCA.
    Same goes for their IT.
    Sometimes I receive the MR promptly (or before I expected them), and sometimes they seem to be tied up.
    “Pending” points are a good way to see if they are coming.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      That’s a good strategy. It really is luck of the draw when you speak to anyone (airline, hotel, credit card, retail, etc.) Sometimes it works out, but sometimes you just end up wasting your time.

      Reply
  4. Christian

    I booked a couple of Thai business class tickets in May and waited for my rebate. And waited. Finally after more than 10 weeks, I called Amex. The agent I spoke with said that they were opening a ticket, and that if I was right my points should be deposited in a week or so. I got a call 5 days later saying that it was done (it was). Not an easy system.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Better late than never, but still a terrible experience for cardmembers to call in about everytime the points fail to post automatically.

      Reply
  5. Kalboz

    I find dealing with AMEX customer service to be very frustrating especially when automatically transferred to their overseas sites which happens 100% of the time! Even on Twitter, AMEX service really sucks! BTW, Citibank isn’t any better!

    Reply
  6. Darin

    Posted this on FT last night:

    I’m kind of at my wits end with Amex and the lengths you need to go to get points that should have been automatically rebated. I called last night and spent 10 minutes with a clueless agent who didn’t understand the program, telling me I had to fly on the same carrier as my fee rebate to get the point rebate. I explained the biz/first class rule and she seemed skeptical, put me on hold for a long time, came back and confirmed that I was correct but I would have to call back tomorrow when the MR office was open. Thanks, you couldn’t have mentioned that without putting me on hold for 10 minutes?

    Called back tonight when MR was open and spent 20 minutes this time, still with no resolution. He took my trip ID numbers, put me on hold, again for an extended period, then came back to tell me their travel team was too busy tonight with bad weather rebookings and he needed them to verify class of service on my bookings. Told me I should call back tomorrow.

    So two agents and thirty minutes over two nights and still no resolution. I think I’ll stick with CSR redemptions and lose the Biz Plat, it’s too much work. As it is, one of the reservations was from March and I had forgotten about it until I realized that a later one hadn’t posted and went back and researched.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Dang, that is very frustrating. AMEX should definitely improve this system and make it more cardmember friendly. Hopefully you can get a resolution. Try Twitter, @askamex was pretty helpful for me.

      Reply
      1. R H

        It originally was quite member-friendly; it also originally was 50%, not 35%. Which was my original motivation for signing up for an Amex Bus Plat card. But three months after I got the card, after I had paid the annual fee and made one use of the rebate, Amex cut the benefit by 30% and slowed crediting of the rebate from the day after the charge cleared to many weeks later. It was reported at the time they did so to make the benefit more unpleasant to use, thus reducing their cost of providing it.

        Reply

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