A few months ago I wrote a post on how my SIL applied for Delta co-branded card primarily for checked bag benefit. Of course, she was also very much looking forward to getting her welcome offer of 70k miles. She recently got married and moved to Michigan, and plans to fly to Florida at least 4-5 times per year to visit us.
Well, she has fulfilled the spending requirements, but there was no sign of bonus. I thought that was odd, but asked her to wait until the next statement closes before contacting Amex. Alas, that statement closed and still nothing. The next thing I know, she is calling me in a furious mood. Apparently, Amex rep told her she didn’t qualify for Delta bonus. He also claimed that she got the dreaded pop-up notifying her of this, and she acknowledged it on the application.
I asked her if that was true, and she said she didn’t remember. But said it’s possible. When she asked me for my advice on applying for the card, it didn’t even occur to me that she would run into this issue. After all, she has only gotten two Amex cards in her life, the last one (Amex Everyday) 6 years ago. She also uses the cards regularly for spending. It’s incredibly bizarre that Amex algorithm would identify her as an abuser.
What’s even more ironic is that I got a targeted offer on Delta card and received my bonus without issues. And I must have gotten 10 Amex cards in the last 6 years. Go figure. It goes to show that being too careful/conservative in this hobby may not pay off as much as you might expect. I felt really bad about what happened and gave her advice to reach out to an Amex supervisor one last time to plead her case. Alas, she decided to cut her losses.
My SIL was understandably frustrated with the whole situation and her immediate reaction was to cancel all of her Amex cards. However, I told her to sleep on it and not make any rash decisions she may regret later. After all, the damage was already done and having to pay for checked bag on Delta flights would only hurt her. Plus, she did say that she liked having priority boarding that is one of the benefits of the card.
She also wanted to transfer her small stash of Membership Rewards (12k points) to Virgin Atlantic and at least cancel that card. See my recent post on why this program can be a good deal for Delta economy flights. However, I asked that she would wait until there is a transfer bonus. That will likely happen within the next few months, and after that she can say Adios to it. The card doesn’t have an annual fee, so there is no rush. She is planning to tell the chat rep why she is canceling as well as everything she thinks of Amex, but I guarantee they won’t care.
Still, as long as she is polite and if it makes her feel better, why not!
The importance of not letting this hobby drain you emotionally
When things go right, it’s very exciting. Flying in business class and staying at a nice hotel covered entirely via miles and points (that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford) is a special kind of rush. It’s addictive, and causes many folks to stop thinking clearly while looking for a repeat.
Then when something invariably goes wrong, it’s like the end of the world. And something will go wrong, I guarantee it. I’ve missed out on bonuses before because I didn’t read the fine print. I’ve had miles expire due to being absent-minded. Many trips I was really looking forward to were canceled due to circumstances beyond my control.
But I’ve had more wins than I can count, so I choose to focus on those instead. In fact, if I lost all of my miles and points tomorrow with no possibility of ever replenishing them, I would count myself incredibly lucky. I’ve seen places many only dream of. Growing up in Soviet Union I never in a million years thought I would one day stay in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora via IHG points. But it happened.
Or that my kids would swim in a Great Barrier Reef:
And many other wins too numerous to count.
Sometimes when a program implements negative changes, it feels like some folks are two devaluations away from having a massive heart attack. And I must say, we as bloggers tend to help feed this frenzy. When United recently raised the rates on some of their awards, I’ve seen headlines including words “devastating” and “heartbreaking”. I’m sorry, but did someone die? Will your children go hungry due to this change? I’m not referring to any specific blog, but more of an overall trend in online coverage.
Speaking of, my daughter yesterday told me of a friend at school. My kid was saying to the girl how much she hates school lunches, to which the friend replied that that’s the only good food she has all week. Apparently, the other day her family ran out of money and they had to have snacks and jello for dinner. I think that sort of qualifies as heartbreaking. But paying more for a business class award after United (years ago) said that they will be moving to dynamic pricing? Hardly. Neither does missing out on Delta Amex bonus, for that matter.
Yes, it’s unpleasant and frustrating when your carefully crafted plan goes awry. But that’s the reality of miles and points hobby. The only guarantee is that there are no guarantees. If you can’t handle it, perhaps you should take up crocheting. I’ve heard it lowers your blood pressure.
Leana is the 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.