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Sunday, February 10. I apply for a targeted 100,000/$10,000 spend on the American Express Platinum Business card. Instant approval.
Sunday, February 10. I apply for the general AMEX EveryDay Preferred, 15,000/$1,000 offer. Instant approval.
What Happened Next
After receiving my card, I quickly met the required spend and several days later, the sign-up bonus (or “acquisition bonus”, as AMEX reps call it) posted to my account. Hurray!
Not so fast…
The day later I signed in again, and noticed that my 15,000 points were missing.
Heading to the Membership Rewards detail, I see “-15,000 Membership Rewards… Adjustment.”
I immediately call the number on the back of my card, and the first representative says that card members can only earn one Membership Rewards bonus in their lifetime. Meaning, you can only earn the sign-up bonus on a Membership Rewards cards once. So if you get the Personal Rewards Gold and the bonus, you cannot get the bonus on the EveryDay card. Very incorrect.
Why AMEX Usually Takes Back Points
When someone loses their points like that, it is known as a “clawback”, and typically happens for one of two reasons:
- You’ve had this product before. AMEX limits personal and business sign-up bonuses to once in a lifetime, but even if the card is closed, you can still reopen, get approved and use it (for the benefits, lets say); you just won’t be eligible for the promotional sign-up.
- You did not meet the requirements because you had a return on your account, less than the (in this case) $1,000 required for the acquisition bonus.
I definitely did not have this card before (I keep a log) and AMEX was able to look that up and confirm that this was the case. And in terms of refunds/returns/charge-backs, I only had $11.99 returned… Nothing even close to $1,000, and just in case, I spent over the $1,000.
Where We Are Now
After speaking to the first line representative at AMEX, I scheduled a follow-up with their Membership Rewards department. When that call came, all they were able to tell me is that they opened up an investigation and that I’d need to wait 92 days to see if it posted again and then 4 – 6 weeks after that for the investigation to conclude.
Sure, it’s only 15,000 points, but it’s just really odd behavior from AMEX considering that I honestly did not violate any rules.