Skip to content

Here's what to do if American Express doesn't give you the right number of points for a purchase

Aug. 06, 2021
6 min read
Full length of female multi-ethnic colleagues discussing over laptop and credit card while sitting at airport lobby
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.

One of the nice things about rewards credit cards is the slew of different bonus categories. Some cards award bonus points on travel or dining, while cobranded cards may award bonus points on purchases made with the brand the card is affiliated with. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card earns 2 Delta SkyMiles per dollar on dining, at U.S. supermarkets, and on purchases made directly with Delta.

But these bonus points don't always post properly. Sometimes a merchant may have the wrong purchase code on their credit card terminal. Other times, American Express simply doesn't post points properly on its end. This happened to me on my recent trip to Milwaukee when I charged a Marriott stay to my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Instead of earning 6 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar on my stay, it was credited as a standard purchase and earned just 2 points per dollar.

This has happened to me multiple times over the years and could have cost me thousands of points. But not all is lost when you miss out on your rightfully earned bonus points. I will show you how to view the number of points each Amex transaction earns and how to ask for the correct number of points when you find an error.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

How to see how many points an Amex transaction earned

I almost lost out on a ton of Marriott Bonvoy points when Amex improperly coded a transaction. (Photo by The Points Guy)

Let's start with the first order of business: auditing your points earning. I always recommend looking through your transactions at the end of each month and checking how many points each purchase earned. Doing this keeps you on top of your points earning and will immediately alert you to any discrepancies. This could put thousands of points in your pocket if you spot a purchase that earned the wrong number of points.

To audit your points earnings, log into the American Express website. Then, select the card you'd like to audit using the card selector tool at the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

Click the "Statements & Activity button" at the top of the screen.

(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

Now, select the statement you'd like to view from the left-hand side of the screen. All transactions will appear at the center of the screen. You'll see how many points you earned per dollar to the left of the merchant name.

(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

You can view more details by clicking on the merchant name. In this case, I clicked on the Hotel Metro transaction I put on my Bonvoy Brilliant. This should have earned 6 points per dollar since it's a Marriott hotel, but instead, it earned 2 points per dollar due to a crediting issue.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

On the other hand, this hotel stay at the Le Meridien Nice was credited properly and earned 6 points per dollar spent:

(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

Related: Best hotel credit cards of 2021

What to do if your Amex points don't credit properly

So, you found a transaction that didn't earn the right number of points. Generally, I've found that the Amex chat support tool can help you resolve this issue on a transaction-by-transaction basis. You can find the chat tool on the bottom right-hand corner of the Amex website when you're logged in.

(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

The trick is to ask nicely and go into the chat armed with the information you need for the agent to identify your charges properly. This includes the name of the merchant, how much you spent and the date of the transaction. Of course, you'll also want to point out that you did not earn the proper amount of points.

Here's a sample template:

"Hello! I just looked over my [card name]'s statement and noticed [number of charges] didn't earn the right number of points. The transaction is in the [purchase category] bonus category and should have earned [number of points] per dollar, for a total of [number of points] points. The charges are: [charge/date/amount]. Please let me know if this can be corrected — thank you!"

More often than not, the representative will open an investigation into the charges and tell you to follow up in 10 to 15 days.

(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

If the investigation turns out in your favor, you should get the proper amount of points on your next statement.

(Screenshot courtesy of americanexpress.com)

Related: These are the best credit cards for everyday spending

Bottom line

And that's all there is to it. While the process isn't super straightforward, it pays to ask to audit your points earning every month and look for earning discrepancies on bonus categories. Improper points crediting happens more than you might think; auditing could put thousands of points back in your pocket.

Feature photo by Maskot/Getty Images

Featured image by Getty Images/Maskot
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023