Buyer beware: Pay very close attention to the terms of your Amex Offers

Jan 22, 2021

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I’ve been a fan of Amex Offers before they were “cool” — i.e., before American Express effectively starting using its discount platform to give away “free money,” with offers so generous, the issuer’s effectively reimbursing your entire purchase.

I’m talking $50 off a $50 purchase at Best Buy or Home Depot, $200 off a $200 flight or hotel stay, or, allegedly, $30 off a $30 purchase at Wine Insiders, all with The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Screenshot courtesy of Amex.

While some of these deals have proven to be just as generous as they seem, the Wine Insiders offer in particular almost feels like it’s been designed to be especially difficult to redeem. That’s exactly what I encountered with that $30 off $30 deal — several other cardmembers have similarly found the promo to be exceptionally tricky to complete.

The issue is outlined in the offer’s terms but can still be easily overlooked, especially if you’re not familiar with URLs, or the way internet addresses are structured. Let me explain.

In the case of this particular offer, you might assume you can click the “Redeem Now” button, pick out your wine, pay with your eligible card and be good to go. Not so fast.

Screenshot courtesy of Amex.

After you click over to WineInsiders.com, there’s a good chance that you’ll inadvertently navigate over to what’s called a “subdirectory” — it’s common for websites to use subdirectories to organize various pages, and, until I encountered the terms here, I never thought much about them.

They’re critical when it comes to the Wine Insiders deal. However — if you accidentally click over to a subdirectory that includes the words promos, promotion, collections or vouchers, you’re no longer eligible for a credit.

Screenshot courtesy of Amex.

Wine Insiders displays a few individual bottles on its home page, but you’ll need to hover over “Wine” and select a category to find more options. However, the challenge is that every single category listed — from “Red” to “Spain” — changes the URL to wineinsiders.com/collections, making your purchase ineligible.

Screenshot courtesy of Wine Insiders.

For example, here’s what you get when you click “Red.” Look carefully at the address bar — see how the URL changed to include the “collections” subdirectory in the screenshot below?

Screenshot courtesy of Wine Insiders.

Instead, you need to click “Shop All Wine” and then narrow down your options using the checkboxes on the left side. Sneaky!

Screenshot courtesy of Wine Insiders.

Assuming you add at least $30 worth of wine to your cart from that page and pay with the card that you’ve added the Amex Offer to, you should receive a $30 statement credit — officially, up to 90 days after the promotion ends, on Sept. 30, 2021. However, I generally receive my credits within a few days of an eligible purchase.

And what if you’ve already made a purchase that you’ve determined is likely ineligible? You can try pleading your case with Amex, but if the credit doesn’t trigger automatically, you might be out of luck. I spoke to a handful of agents, including one who offered to call up the “Offers team,” where an agent ultimately determined that my offer was eligible and even added a note to my account to confirm.

I later received a call from an agent who insisted that my order wasn’t eligible, though she was willing to honor the previous agent’s decision once I pleaded my case. In total, I spent well over an hour on the phone working to get this resolved, so I’d recommend reading the terms and conditions very carefully before you place an order and consider capturing screenshots during the process as well.

In this particular case, you may also consider sending a Twitter direct message to @wineinsiders, including your order number and a brief explanation. Several customers have had success with Wine Insiders issuing a $30 refund to make up for an unsuccessful Amex Offer redemption.

Screenshot courtesy of Amex.

As frustrating and time-consuming as this particular Amex Offers experience was for me, I’ve managed to save over $700 with The Platinum Card® from American Express alone. Overall, the program has been well worth the effort for me.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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