Make Sure Multiple Items Are Charged Together to Get the Amex Business Platinum Large Purchase Bonus
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
When buying some photo gear recently for an upcoming project, I planned to take advantage of the large purchase bonus available on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. While I often enjoy many of the great perks of the Business Platinum card that help it rank it in TPG’s top travel rewards credit cards, this was a feature I had not used before.
The bonus provides 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million extra points per year). Since the Business Platinum card has an excellent purchase protection program, I opted to use this card instead of my Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express — as the large purchase bonus would give more points for greater value per dollar spent based on TPG’s current monthly valuations.
Rather than ordering online via an online shopping portal, I worked directly with a camera store salesperson who I enables special pricing, priority waitlisting for new gear and personalized customer service.
Immediately after placing the order I saw the “Large Purchase Approved” notification from American Express for the full invoice total of $8,974.06
However, in the following days I received some automatic emails notifying me that one of the items I wanted was on back order, another was drop shipping directly from the manufacturer, and a memory card shipped separately from the main shipment.
While the drop-shipped item was charged for in the main shipment, the back-ordered items and memory card did not. These items only totaled $193, but my card would not be charged for these until they shipped. I suspected this would mean the $193 would not be counted toward the large purchase bonus.
An email from Amex a couple days later informing me I received the bonus confirmed this.
From the American Express Benefit Terms:
“You will not get the extra points associated with this benefit if American Express does not receive information that identifies your transaction as eligible for the benefit. For example, a purchase transaction of $5,000 or more will not qualify if the merchant divides the purchase into transactions of less than $5,000 before providing the information to American Express. Airlines, hotels, retailers, aggregators, and online marketplaces are a few examples of merchants that may divide purchases into smaller transactions. Transactions may be divided by date of availability, shipping date, ticket, or reservation, among other things.”
In my situation, I only missed out on about 96 bonus Membership Rewards points. Had I needed these last few dollars to hit the $5,000 mark, I would have been out at least 2,500 points — worse yet, if my entire purchase had been split in half I would have lost out on the full 4,487 bonus points (valued at $85.25).
In the interest of this post and of collecting a data point for the future (and to get every point possible), I waited until the other charges posted and called Amex to request that the 50% bonus points be credited.
Mind you, this was a pretty small amount of points (valued at $1.82) but I wanted to see what the result would be in case I encountered this with a purchase that got split up in the future.
After speaking with a Membership Rewards representative, I was informed that the smaller amounts were ineligible. This did not surprise me as the terms are pretty clear, but definitely taught me to be careful when making phone or online purchases in the future as I could have missed out a lot more points. The representative also confirmed that the bonus points were showing in my “pending points” balance and would post to my account after my bill was paid in full after the next statement closed.
This served as a good reminder to check and see if items are all in stock before making a big purchase, as well as to find out from the merchant if the card would be charged for everything at once. The purchase approval notice I received suggested it had, but the store’s system didn’t finalize the charges until shipping. The policy of not charging until it ships is common — and some websites like Amazon.com also have multiple sellers so your cart might show $5,000, but they could post as multiple charges if shipments are from different merchants, shipping separately, backordered, etc.
If making a big purchase like this in the future, I would also speak with a sales representative to make sure the purchase is all charged in one transaction, regardless of whether anything is backordered.
A workaround could be buying a gift card for the full amount first from the merchant — then using the gift card to make the purchases — but you wouldn’t have benefits such as the purchase protection or extended warranty of the Platinum card. Plus, an in-store purchase is unlikely to post as fragmented transactions if it’s swiped and signed for for the full amount — so consider this option instead if possible.
Have you ever missed out on a large purchase bonus or found a trick to make sure you receive the bonus with large multi-item shipments? Please share your experience in the comments.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees