American Express Issues
American Express once was the example of stability in the points and miles hobby. Offers continue to grow, including No Lifetime Language offers, which are handed out like candy. Welcome offers frequently post early, authorized user offers and retention offers continue to roll in. All of this makes American Express popular in many aspects. However, a recent trend is developing that beckons a warning. As we see and hear a multitude of American Express issues, we take a moment to examine the issues and offer a word of caution.
American Express Issue #1: Membership Rewards Account Linking
In fall 2022, American Express started issuing new cards, but not awarding points or welcome offers. This is because Amex was not issuing cards linked to a person's existing Amex Membership Rewards account or login. This took some time to research and troubleshoot. Each time customers called American Express, representatives would give their standard answer of 8-12 weeks for welcome offer points to post (more on this later). But us points and miles hobbyists knew better. The solution was calling the Membership Rewards (MR) department to link your accounts together in order to get the points. If you got a knowledgeable supervisor on the phone, the welcome offer would then post within a few days. The Membership Rewards account-linking issue continued all the way into 2023, but recent data points are increasingly rare.
Issue #2: Card Authentication
Issue #1, above, directly lead to another issue for some Amex customers. If a secondary Membership Rewards account and/or login was created for you, Amex cannot see any of your cards and cannot activate a new card for you. This appears to extend beyond the Membership Rewards-earning cards. Is it possible the Membership Rewards reps linked the accounts backward or did this break something else? Who knows. Representatives cannot see the cards, so every time someone calls Amex, they have to give the full card number via secure authentication. This can lead to back-and-forth with reps and makes the call take much longer. This also can confuse representatives as they keep saying you do not hold that card. This is an ongoing issue.
Issue #3: Last Five Digits of Cards
This one is just unexplainable. Over the last year, many folks, including myself, had issues with American Express chat reps closing or downgrading the wrong cards! This is because it's very common for customers to have multiple American Express cards ending in the same 5 digits. When customers would chat or call to close a card, the representative would close the wrong card, even though customers identified the specific card product and credit card number. This typically took multiple phone calls or chats to get corrected.
Issue #4: Temporary Card Number
When tax season began in early 2023, many customers used their temporary card numbers (i.e., the digital card number regularly offered at time of card approval) to pay their taxes. We at ToP quickly discovered that this spend was not tracking for welcome offers. Again, calls to address these American Express issues just led to confusion and more scripted answers. In fact, this issue confused Amex representatives so much so that they stated large purchases such as cruises, vacations, premium economy airfare, and taxes did not count towards earning a welcome offer.
We knew this was incorrect and correlated it to those folks that charged these large purchases on temporary cards. Lo and behold, when such charges go on a permanent, physical card, the same exact spend counts and a ToP team member earned a welcome bonus. We are still seeing issues with temporary cards, although it seems not as widespread as it was in spring 2023.
Issue #5: Delta Welcome Offer Issue
I saved the best and most recent American Express issues for last. While this seems limited in scope, I was directly affected. Some who signed up for Delta Business Cards have not had their welcome offer or other points post. I received my Delta Business Platinum Card on March 12th and immediately began spending on the card. Something was not right, given the first statement posted quickly on March 23rd with no points earned. I met the minimum spend in early April and this statement cut again with no points awarded. I could actually see my points in my account, but they did not post in my Delta SkyMiles account. The other unusual thing is that my tracker in the Delta app and my Delta account are tracking my spend.
To resolve these American Express issues, I contacted Amex on three different occasions. One phone call I was passed around to three different reps and a supervisor. At one point, a representative told me to call Delta even though they admitted they had not sent the points to Delta. In another chat, a representative claimed that my account is under some kind of review on the backend, but supposedly only in regards to my new Delta Business Platinum Card. You can imagine the fear set in when you here the words, “account in review”.
Other representatives claim they do not know what I was talking about. It got to the point where I advised I was filing a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaint, which is something I did not take lightly. The most telling sign from all of my interactions was a comment a supervisor making mention of issues with “returns” and or “chargebacks” on Delta cards. Ultimately, the points were award on day 92 from opening date.
American Express Issues: ToP Thoughts
American Express certainly looks broken. Their tracking, customer support, and backend systems all look like they have gone awry. There is no other explanation to have this many things go wrong in this short of a time frame. Many of these issues involve thousands of customers, while some seem more isolated. Meanwhile, we're all getting different answers for the same issues and running endless circles with representatives. It seems to start with the American Express IT and leads to a lack of information being given to the representatives. Have you experienced any American Express issues? Come over to our Facebook group and share your stories.