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Sunday Reader Question: What to Do When Amex Does Not Honor Sign-up Bonus

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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

TPG reader Yuki asks:

“I applied for the AMEX Platinum Card in October 2012, got approved and received the card in less than 24 hours.  I spent the required $2,000 in three months but have not received the 25K bonus points.  I contacted them a couple of times on the phone and received this elusive ‘you are not eligible because the offer is not in your account’ reply.  I faxed and e-mailed a letter, asking them to reconsider.  I haven’t heard back from them so far.  Do you know if this is happening to more people?  I’m very frustrated.  Do you have any suggestions on what to do, other than, maybe to cancel the card and reapply later?”

Up until 2011 American Express didn’t have great controls on who was eligible for targeted offers and who wasn’t. So basically, if you ever heard of a better offer than what you signed up for, you could call or send a secure message and 99 times out of 100 Amex would grant you the better offer as long as they could see the bonus code in their system. However, after a couple incidents of targeted bonus codes going viral and thousands of people bombarding their call centers for more points, they really began cracking down – to the point where people like yourself are getting denied bonuses they rightly deserve.

25,000 points is the current standard sign-up bonus for the Amex Platinum, so they shouldn’t be denying you. What I’d recommend is tweeting @askamex and asking them to look into your situation. My experience, and that of many others, is that their social media team works quickly to resolve problems that otherwise might get backlogged using their normal customer service channels.

Be as succinct as possible when describing your situation: You signed up for the 25,000 point sign-up bonus, you completed the requirement and you are unhappy to be told that you don’t qualify for whatever reason. You can even direct American Express to their public 25,000 offer, which has been around for well over a year. Hopefully the social media team will do the right thing and credit your account with the points.

If not, I’d recommend escalating your concern to a supervisor, who will likely be based in the US and will be more empowered to help your cause. It’s a shame you have to jump through all of these hoops, but those 25,000 points are worth  approximately $450 to me, so don’t give up!

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