American Express Claws Back Airline Credits Which Were Refunded By Merchant

Update 5/2/20: American Express Airline Incidental Clawbacks Intensify – Now Clawing Back 2 Years Worth Of Credits

Update 5/1/20: Another round of clawbacks. Hat tip to The_Fartful_Codger

Update 4/14/20: Another round of clawbacks has gone out. What is particularly worrying is that American Express is clawing back some legitimate purchases that were involved in flights that were cancelled by the airline.

American Express just sent out a mass email that they are removing airline credits which were already credited back by the merchant. For example, if you charged an airline incidental fee to your Amex card, then cancelled the charge and got a refund by merchant. The Amex system ‘didn’t realize’ that the charge was refunded by merchant and they credited you with the refund, essentially resulting in double-refund.

Now, Amex will be debiting all of those 2019 credits. Someone uploaded an image of the letter here. Lots of people getting a bunch of clawbacks from this. Even on closed cards, you’ll probably get a bill in the mail for this.

We’ve seen lots of these kinds of claw backs from Amex over the past couple of years for credits which they didn’t feel were justified. Going forward, it’s worth assuming that nothing ‘works’ other than the intended usage of this and other Amex credits.

Please: No discussions of ideas, tips, methods that ‘work’ in the comments; keep that in your private chats.

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Charlie R.
Charlie R.

FWIW, in 2019, I had a refund due to a plane change of a UA Economy Plus purchase using part of a $250 Aspire credit, and it hasn’t been clawed back yet. Will update this if it is.

$112 Economy Plus, $112 credit
$169 Economy Plus, $138 credit
$169 refund, no clawback yet

jkk
jkk

Well… No clawback for me yet on my Platinum card. Even with the Southwest cancellation I was credited for last year, I didn’t max out the airline credit.

Amex airline credit is mostly just a gimmick at this point IMHO. I didn’t use my airline credit for my Biz Plat, Gold card, or Hilton cards at all last year despite quite a bit of travel. I basically value Amex airline credits at $0 at this point and don’t factor them into the decision to keep or cancel the card.

Avi
Avi

jkk Serious question, how do you get enough value out of your Platinum cards to more than offset the annual fees after the first year?

jkk
jkk

Consultant work. Before this pandemic, I was on travel for 1-2 weeks every month. The lounge access alone is worth it for me.

jkk
jkk

hmmm… another person posting under the same monikor “jkk” responding to a question directed to me the original commenter…

Avi
Avi

Different jkk, also a good answer!

jkk
jkk

Yes, but I added a picture to my profile to prevent confusion anyways. There was another thread where a “jkk” was quite rude!

jkk
jkk

That’s the question going forward isn’t it!

Up until now: 5x MR on flights, Biz Plat rebate on booked flights, miles transfers especially Delta when I find a great redemption opportunity, 1.25x on transfers to Schwab, lounge access in the occassional situation where I would not otherwise have complimentary access, Marriott Gold status (not worth much but occassionally has paid dividends–I usually stay at Hilton or IHG so I wouldn’t have Marriott status otherwise), Extended warranty (such as when my Dyson vacuum and Dyson hair dryer died–maybe I need to reconsider buying Dyson…), travel evacuation insurance (as COVID has proven, you never know when you might need it), Uber credits (usually for rides to and from an airport), Global Entry/TSA precheck renewal.

As for the future given the geopolitical landscape, we shall have to wait and see…

Avi
Avi

Always curious about this, thanks!

The Man
The Man

Maybe I think I am not understand correctly (please correct me if I’m wrong). Are people really mad Amex is catching up to this and closing a loophole from people trying to game the credit?
What kind of entitlement BS is that? Honestly, if you didn’t rightfully earn the “credit”, why should Amex honor it?
That’s like going to return something at a store, getting the refund but keeping the merchandise.
What kind of shit is that?
I mean, again, I could be wrong how I’m reading.
Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

mjonis
mjonis

In some cases, what you describe is happening. On others it’s “legit”. Example: You purchase a seat upgrade on United (economy to economy+) that’s legitimately entitled to the air fare credit. Then, you go to fly (months later) and United changed plane or something and you are downgraded again, so they credit your credit card. Amex waits until A YEAR LATER to finally “reverse” the credit. So now you’ve lost the credit (previous year) because you had to use it in the calendar year. There’s other completely valid cases where this can happen as well. The main issue folks have with this is that Amex doesn’t reinstate the credit so that you can use it “now”, and are waiting (in some cases) over a year to finally get around to this.

Kevin
Kevin

I think the point is that you can thank people abusing the perk as to why now Amex is over-scrutinizing it.

Anameofaguy
Anameofaguy

Or, you can be frustrated with Amex because they purposely make these credits a pain in the ass to use. Select a single airline (but do it by January!), pick from a hidden list of qualifying fees, pray for credit, pray they don’t reverse the credit. Honestly these credits are so small in the grand scheme, particularly as fees rise, there will come a reckoning where consumers will just say “not worth it” and seek avenues that truely reward them in sanity, low effort, and lack of fees.

Kevin
Kevin

I’m not disagreeing the credits are a pain to use. Vote with your wallet and go with other cards then.

Deb
Deb

Just when you feel “AMEX is doing the right thing”…then this…just can’t trust them…they give you an inch, then take a mile..

celery
celery

Why do you think you’re entitled for credits on charges you never paid in the first place?

Avi
Avi

People weren’t doing this to earn a profit, it was just to partially offset the huge annual fee. The lack of trust comes from them enforcing this retroactively.

Jeff A
Jeff A

Wish the airlines would let me cancel for a credit as an option. I’d take a Delta GC that doesn’t expire rather than get charged $200… I guess it’s a wash in the grand total, but that $200 came from my annual fee in some perspective.

Jason
Jason

You can use the coronavirus waivers airlines have going on to use whatever method you have that’s still working to cancel for a travel voucher/travel wallet funds, just wait until you’re outside the 24 hour window where refunds legally have to go back to the original form of payment.

Josh
Josh

Did this with Delta and got $900 in eCredits for future flights…

John
John

Does this expire? Can it be used for others or only on the existing passenger name?

Josh
Josh

It is the COVID-19 eCredit – yes it expires but there’s like a year – and yes, with all eCredits its tied to a passenger name

parrothead
parrothead

Bunch of cunts considering what’s happening

Terry
Terry

Class action please

Frank
Frank

1 day after cancelling my platinum card they emailed saying they were cancelling my Marriott status. Takes 6-8 weeks for credits to post but less than 24 hours to cancel your status

N
N

Why would you even care about a Marriott status that doesn’t give you any tangible benefits at this time though?

If you are still traveling heavily now you can probably get yourself into some of the best suites without any status by simply asking nicely, and that is at any hotel chain not jut marriott;)

Anameofaguy
Anameofaguy

N and Jason, I think the point is Amex clearly has the ability and capacity to act quickly and efficiently. When it comes to delivering promised benefits they elect not to. Th6eyre a business after all. Consumers, particularly those with means need to take it upon themselves to voice their distate by shopping across the street. Of course, when they’re all serving the same shit sandwich with different packaging… America.

Jason
Jason

Did your Marriott status actually go away? When I canceled my Biz Plat last year my Hilton and Marriott status I had from linking my Biz Plat didn’t immediately get canceled. I can’t say for sure because I wound up getting a Plat AU from my parents and linking my hotel accounts to that a few months later, but I think Hilton and Marriott don’t actually update anything until their status sweeps in February.

LNK
LNK

Marriott Gold is pretty useless after they make change last year

dan
dan

any folk got clawed back on biz plat acct? acct was closed earlier this mo… if get clawed back, did folks receive an email or bill?

Bht
Bht

Yes – closed biz plat in Jan. Got claw back email yesterday and the 200 charge posted today

Max
Max

Was this for a refund that you received for the airline credit?

wwllmm
wwllmm

Is this only happening on Platinum cards?