Back in the middle of 2017, American Express updated their terms to counteract the acts of “gaming” or “churning” American Express credit cards and charge cards and the related sign-up bonuses. We first saw this appear on the Delta Gold Amex, through it has definitely creeped into the terms of the otehr card offerings…
One part of this update included anti-abuse language, which allowed Amex to claw back bonus or even close down accounts.
ANTI-ABUSE LANGUAGE – “If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with the welcome bonus offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain a welcome bonus offer(s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit Starpoints to your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.”
And yes, they are hard at work trying to enforce the updates to these terms – see Amex Rewards Abuse Team (RAT).
Also in the offer terms is language allows Amex to delay sign-up bonus amounts for a pretty significant amount of time – 8 to 12 weeks after meeting spending thresholds!
BONUS DELAY – “Bonus points will appear on your Starwood Preferred Guest statement 8-12 weeks after you reach the spend threshold.”
This is the part I really don’t like…
I totally get understand where Amex (or any card issuer) is coming from wanting to limit those who abuse the system. I am pretty sure the majority of those people who have put themselves in borderline “abuse” situations (myself included) are well aware that they are at placing themselves some advantage over the card issuer. If that card issuer decides to take action, that is there right.
But, there are those who stick to the rules, and still get the shaft…
Bonus 8-12 weeks after you reach the spend threshold?
That just seems like a long time, right!?
If I recall, the standard terms on American Express cards stated 6-8 weeks, though typically bonuses would post either as soon as the spending threshold was met, or possibly after the statement was close and bill was paid.
This is the first time I have seen American Express where they actually may be sticking to their policy and in my specific experience, the the timeline has gone a little something like this:
10/5/2017 – Sign-up for SPG Business card under following bonus structure: 25,000 bonus Starpoints after making $6,000 in purchases within the first 3 months and an extra 10,000 bonus Starpoints after making an additional $4,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.
10/26/2017 – Met $6,000 spend requirement – triggering the initial 25,000 point bonus
10/27/2017 – 1st Statement Close
11/24/2017 – Met additional $4,000 spend requirement – triggering the additional 10,000 point bonus
11/24/2017 – 2nd Statement Close
11/25/2017 – Chat Amex utilizing the online tool confirming the sign-up bonus offer. Investigation was opened by the
11/282017 – Call Amex referencing the above investigation
12/3/2017 – Chat Amex referencing the above investigation
12/13/2017 – Chat Amex referencing the above investigation. Instructed to wait the full 8-12 weeks…
TODAY 12/22/2017 – Still no bonus yet… just a lonely 13k Starpoints…
No longer of the days where you can hurry up and meet spend shortly before your desired redemption. Lucky for me I was not in pressing need of these bonus points in order to book upcoming travel, but I would still prefer them to be safe in my account than subject to this 8-12 holding period.
Be careful applying for American Express cards in the future with upcoming redemption contingent on the sign-up bonus and expect delays in bonus posting!
Have you noticed a delay in your SPG Business Amex sign-up bonus posting? Or any other American Express card for that matter?