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Miles and Points Recap: Plastiq, Free Miles, Delta Offers, Update on My Amex Saga and More!

This is a news recap from last week, tailored to regular family. For faster updates, follow me on Twitter or check my feed on the right side of the blog.

1) Last reminder on this Plastiq (my referral link) promo:

plastiq

I’ve actually started to use Plastiq more and more  for stuff like car payments. It’s very convenient since I don’t do MS. It frees up my spend and allows me to take advantage of 5% categories via other credit cards.

2) A list of various ongoing miles and hotel points promos by the guys at DoC. Check the post and see if anything looks appealing. You never know when these points may  come in handy. 

3) Apparently, there is  a working  link for 25,000 points on Amex SPG Business version of the card (for now). Here it is, pays me no commission. (Hat tip to Dansdeals)

4) Amex has increased bonuses on Delta co-branded cards. This happens  a few times per year, and if you are Delta hub-captive, you should definitely pay attention to them. Normally, I don’t focus on Platinum Delta SkyMiles card, but this time is a bit different. Both personal and business versions have an increased bonus of 70,000 miles.

Nothing to sneeze at, so even with $195 annual fee (not waived in the first year) it’s pretty good deal. See details on Delta co-branded personal cards here, and two business versions here Personal versions don’t pay me commission, while business ones do. (Hat tip to Runningwithmiles) 

5) Several decent Chase checking and savings accounts promos.

 An update on my Amex Mega Fail

 I got a response to my CFPB complaint. Amex said that my points were technically not  available at the time of conversion:

cfpb

I called Amex and even the supervisor said it’s a bit confusing. You think? She said my points were in “pending” status at the time of the conversion, even though it wasn’t indicated anywhere in my profile. This is a bit bizarre because they were available for redemption or mileage transfers, so how could they be simultaneously pending? Here is how the events went down:

amex-leana-2

The bonus is listed in “earned” category, nothing pending about that. When I logged in prior to this debacle, my account showed 100,300 points and underneath of  it it clearly said “available.” You can’t have points available and pending at the same time. It’s a contradiction.

By that logic, the clawback should be in “pending” status as well, and they should let me upgrade back to Platinum product. It’s only fair. Did I ever mention that at one point I thought about becoming a lawyer? Two can play this game. Once again, I’m not trying to come across as a self-entitled jerk. I just think if it’s OK for big companies to enforce technicalities, it should be OK for little guys like myself to follow suit.

My reader Joe said this to me in the comments yesterday:” FWIW, Amex has always said that is takes ~8 weeks+ for the points to actually be yours (although even then they’ve clawed back) — they’re kind of just advancing you the points for your convenience to be “friendly”

I honestly have never heard of this bizarre policy, but I’m sure the commenter is correct.

I thought a lot about it over the last few days, and wanted to mention a couple of things. First, I debated on whether it would even be a good idea to share it with readers. Why? Well, it’s embarrassing. I should have known better. But I have a policy of recording the good, the bad and the ugly. This one definitely falls into the third category. 

To be honest, I expected a lot of backlash from readers. Surprisingly, most offered words of support. Do I deserve it? I’m not sure, but thanks anyway. A lot of what we do involves being “interesting.” Some are more interesting than others. I try not to get on a high horse unless I see fraud presented as an OK thing to so. And I’ve always thought of myself as a rather boring lady hobbyist. But not anymore!

I do feel like I have a good case, but whether or not I will pursue it legally is unclear at this point. I’m a lover, not a fighter, and hope this dispute can be resolved  amicably.  That’s why I emailed Amex Chairman’s office yesterday and currently awaiting their  response. Developing… 

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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14 thoughts on “Miles and Points Recap: Plastiq, Free Miles, Delta Offers, Update on My Amex Saga and More!

  1. Sorry about your Amex drama! With Chase I have had a missed sign up credit due to fine print and an insurance issue where I lost out on $175, but nothing as big as your Amex clawbacks. I find it usually takes several emails or calls to get to someone who will not send a form email or form response.

    I read through some of the Amex fine print. This term might be where your reader or even Amex got the idea of pending points for 8 weeks: “Points will be credited to your Membership Rewards account within 6-8 weeks after charges appear on your monthly billing statement.”

    To me this term reads that it is possible for points to be pending for 6-8 weeks before the points are credited. But your account shows the points credited on 07/14/2016.
    Amex did not remove your points until 9 weeks and 6 days after they credited them. You also have a screen shot saying you would not lose your points when you switched.

    I also read this scary term on the current Amex Platinum offer:
    “Your Card Member Agreement includes an arbitration provision, which restricts your opportunity to have claims related to the account heard in court or resolved by a jury, and to participate in a class action or similar proceeding.”
    It doesn’t say anything about small claims court. Wow! Maybe I should be reading the fine print a little closer- who knows what they put in there!

    I would use your green cards a little bit and continue to argue how you followed the terms and would like to remain an Amex customer with the green card or return to the Platinum if that is what is required to have your points reinstated. Good luck!

  2. “they should let me upgrade back to Platinum product” I see this as the perfect and only possible resolution. I would start this procedure if there is the opportunity to create a “case” with a credit analyst.

    • @Seth I would be more than happy to upgrade the card and pay the fee in order to reinstate the points. I’ve called them and offered to do it, but the rep said it’s not possible. I will try again today or tomorrow, as long as my husband agrees to it. Unfortunately, they won’t let me speak on his behalf unless he verifies his identity. But yeah, I would be happy to pay back the fee, plus a small penalty. Unfortunately, Amex is refusing to play ball at this point.

      • There is a lot in stake. The CSR can say whatever they like but credit analyst may be able to work it out. 1 card at at time may be a good approach.

  3. @ABC Thanks for commenting and for your words of support! I definitely need to pay more attention to the terms. I didn’t realize the agreement has a provision that basically denies me court rights. I wasn’t planning on hiring an attorney, but hopefully, that doesn’t apply to small claims. We’ll see. The terms on depositing the points didn’t indicate that those points would be in pending status for 6-8 weeks after they are awarded. So, it looks like Amex is trying to weasel out of paying the bonus, just like I thought. I don’t blame them, I wouldn’t want to just hand over such a huge MR stash to anyone. That being said, they should keep their promise. I will be fighting this.

  4. Everything you say sounds perfectly logical and normal. They sound like sore losers.

    They offer high sign up bonuses to entice you to accept annual fees and high interest rates, but if you don’t play the game the way they want you to they change the rules and kick you out. Grrrr.

    • @Amanda I’m pretty sure Amex would disagree and say I’m the sore loser, haha! There is no question that I got cocky and was reckless about this whole thing. Amex is looking for a way to weasel out of paying 100K Platinum bonus, and I provided them with a convenient excuse. Lesson learned. Of course, it won’t stop me from trying to beat them at their own game.

      • I’m going to argue against you in your own defense! I don’t agree. You were not reckless! If they don’t want people cancelling the account or downgrading the account three months (or whatever it was) after collecting a bonus, then they should state that in the terms and conditions up front. Yes, I suppose lesson learned is to wait a little while, but the bottom line is that you played by the rules, and they did not. (I also thought about being a lawyer once!)

        I had something similar happen to me years ago. I didn’t get my miles taken away, but I received a pre-approved offer in the mail. I can’t remember if it was Delta, American, or United. But one month after receiving the bonus I called and asked to cancel my account. The lady gave me so much grief on the phone. I asked her if it was “against the rules” and she said “no”. So I told her, “Well, it’s not my fault you sent me this offer. If you don’t like the terms of your own offer, maybe you should change it.” She said she was going to put me on a list of people that don’t get pre-approved offers any more. I said “Fine.” However, they kept sending me offers! Not my fault!

  5. I’m definitely rooting for you to get your points back, but I believe a major blunder was made here. I’m glad you wrote about it and hope that all your readers learn from it and don’t make the same mistake If you MS, churn, or are clearly an unprofitable customer — you want as little scrutiny as possible. Which means, it’s okay to pay a couple hundred bucks here and for the privilege of being out of the spotlight. A friend of mine works in the Citi New Credit products department — having looked at the PNL statements on these products the banks generally don’t break even on each customer when it comes to these big signing bonuses, until the beginning of year 3! It’s no wonder, Amex, Citi, and Chase are all coming up with various ways to discourage churners.

    I saw that someone had written that a bank would not blacklist you because they may be accused of discrimination. An unprofitable customer is not a protected class of people! Cmon people!

    I do think you should fight for the 200K pts, after all, it’s 200K MR pts. Write to CFPB, letters, arbitration, etc. At some point, though the time and brain power used on the matter would be better directed toward another, possibly more profitable or more enjoyable endeavor. After all, for me, what makes the hobby fun, is that you get all of these benefits for “free” with very little effort. (I don’t MS). Also I believe for most people given the sheer volume of products Amex offers, a good relationship with them is worth significantly more than 200K MR pts.

    Again, best of luck.

    • @Joe Thank you so much for your comment! You are absolutely right, it was a major blunder and I admitted as much in the previous post. Banks have the right to cut off unprofitable customers and extra scrutiny sure doesn’t help. I definitely don’t take it personally when banks refuse to approve me for a credit card, and it’s starting to happen more often.
      It does bother me how Amex has been handling this whole thing. They are now claiming that the rep was referring to me keeping 3,800 points after conversion which is beyond ridiculous. I did file a second complaint, and currently awaiting response. My counter argument was : “Are you telling me it was a conspiracy and you wanted me to lose the bonus? Surely any well-trained rep would warn a customer during conversion process. ” 🙂
      Of course, at some point I’ll have to let it go. But I’m seriously thinking about pursuing small claims option first.

  6. Representative from the executive office would do a thorough research on your case to see what you had done then they would re-state the same decision. They recorded the conversation with your authorization so be prepared and careful when talking to them.

    • @Sheila Thanks for the heads up! I haven’t heard back from the executive office, but my second CFPB complaint got the same response as the first one. We did ask to get upgraded back to Platinum as commenter Seth has suggested, but to no avail. Today I mailed them claim notice for both accounts, so we’ll see what happens next. They are supposed to start mediation process once they receive the letters. I’m prepared to take it to small claims court if necessary. I know it will cost me money, but I’m willing to take a chance on this thing. Will have another post once I hear back and have some sort of strategy going forward.

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