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Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Rachael, who missed a critical step in earning points for a purchase. Here’s what she had to say:

I was purchasing flowers for a family friend, and decided to check to figure out which shopping portal would earn me the most bonus miles. After shopping around, I decided that my own targeted Amex Offer was the best deal — if I spent $50 or more at 1-800-Flowers, I’d get a bonus of 1,500 Membership Rewards points. With that in mind, I paid for my order with The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Immediately afterward, however, I realized I hadn’t actually activated my Amex Offer for the vendor! I added it to my account after the fact, but it was too late to cancel the order. I’m going to call Amex to see if they’ll add the points after the order has shipped, but I’m not optimistic. I missed out on earning Membership Rewards, and in the process I missed out on a shopping portal bonus. Don’t make my mistake!

Sometimes the simplest steps in earning rewards are the easiest to forget. Many bonus offers require enrollment, from seasonal hotel promotions (like Hilton’s current double and triple points bonus) to increased credit card earning rates (like the quarterly 5% cash back categories on the Chase Freedom). Signing up is easy, but if you forget that first step, you probably won’t benefit from completing any of the steps that follow. My advice is to be proactive when you see an offer you’re interested in; get in the habit of registering right away and you won’t have to second guess whether you did so later.

Rachael implied that she had to choose between earning miles through a shopping portal and redeeming her Amex Offer, but she should have been able to claim both. Amex Offers are awarded once you meet the spending threshold, so you can generally double dip by stacking them with other discounts or bonuses, including portal rewards. As long as you spend the requisite amount and abide by the terms and conditions, any other perks you get shouldn’t make a difference.

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. To thank Rachael for sharing her experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending her a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.