Posted by William Charles on September 19, 2017
Manufactured Spending

Published on September 19th, 2017 | by William Charles

154

Is American Express Cracking Down On Giftcard/Simon Malls Purchases For Minimum Spend Requirements/Authorized User Bonuses?

There has been some rumors circulating that American Express has not been counting gift card purchases towards minimum spend requirements and authorized user bonuses, in particular purchases made at Simon Mall. It should be noted that in the fine print of all American Express offers it states: Purchases to meet the spend requirement do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of traveler’s checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, or purchases of any cash equivalents.

From what I’ve read this seems to have started in early August. Some discussion of this can be found here:

It seems that only bonus points (e.g sign up bonus/authorized user bonuses) are affected by this change and not points earned from regular spend.

Datapoints

Simon Malls

Other Stores

  • Reader received authorized user bonus on three cards with purchases at Kroger but not at CVS

Our Verdict

For me what is concerning is that other sign up bonuses from the same time period are posting fine and also people seem to be getting their bonuses quickly when hitting the minimum spend requirement not including their Simon Mall/other purchases. I suspect the RAT is at play here, but I don’t say that with any level of confidence.



154 Responses to Is American Express Cracking Down On Giftcard/Simon Malls Purchases For Minimum Spend Requirements/Authorized User Bonuses?

  1. Tommy B. says:

    No problems meeting 2 minimum spends on the Delta personal & business golds through August and getting the miles for them. Could this be limited to MR’s?

  2. scott says:

    Isn’t this news kind of old? Amex took back 100,000 MR bonus points I earned last year from the Platinum card because I completed part of the minimum spend at Simon Malls. There were a whole bunch of stories on this last year.

    • Mike says:

      Was not that from leaked link not intended for public?

    • Geo says:

      Clawback after points post from a leaked-link application and points not posting at all after meeting min spend are not the same thing.

      • Chris says:

        This also happened to me (and yes, I used the leaked link for the app). I suspect that they just wanted to use that gift card excuse to claw back their points.

      • scott says:

        It is very similar in that the only clawbacks they did were from those who met minimum spend by going to Simon Malls. If you didn’t go to the mall you got to keep your points. That was the beginning of Amex looking into the whole Simon Mall thing. They’ve been cracking down ever since.

  3. Josh says:

    I received only one of four AU bonuses on each card I loaded it to (Platinum, PRG x2, Hilton). The MR purchases were made at giftcards dot com and the Hiltons were done at Safeway. In every instance I received the bonus for 1 AU and not the other 3.

  4. Em says:

    Did 1 of 4 SPG authorized user purchase at CVS and already received the bonus. Will go through with the other 3 and report back.

  5. Al says:

    DP: I’m finishing up the final $3k spend for the 10k extra SPG points on the Business card. Purchased $1500 at Simon Mall to finish up then talked with amex on chat to confirm I hit the spend. They first stated that I need $1500 more to meet the requirement and that some of my purchases did not count toward the min. I played dumb and asked which purchases did not count. After a few minutes the rep said they talked with their manager and that I actually have met the requirements and would receive the bonus. Statement closes the 25th so will report back.

    • Robert says:

      Amex posts sign up bonuses a day or two after you satisfy the requirement. If you haven’t already received them, better get on the real spend to make sure you spend enough in time.

      • AnameOfaguy says:

        It took me almost 4 weeks to receive my bonus on both 100k Amex Plat and 50k PRG. It didn’t seem to have any correlation to closing or payment dates. All organic spend (if you count 1 plastiq payment and two GoC cards). These were my first MR-earning cards though. Not sure if that matters? I have had a blue cash card since 2007.

    • NinjaX says:

      keep us posted. its good u played dumb. no reason to help them ID ur shit. altho that sounded scary at first. did they actually say which transactions didnt count?

      • Al says:

        They never told me which transaction didn’t count. He just told me that I would receive the bonus. Problem is I forgot to save the conversation (not sure if I can go back to it). After seeing a few DPs of people not getting SPG points due to this, I decided I will MS the $1500 again, but at the grocery store to be safe. Really don’t want to miss out on the 10k SPG.

  6. Young says:

    I am also dealing with this issue. Met the MSR on Delta Biz Plat and the $25KMR/$2K Spend offer on existing PRG with Simon Malls purchases and neither bonus has posted. Spent 30 minutes on chat with someone about why the bonuses haven’t posted and got the run around. He said they should be posting soon because I got regular miles to post from the purchases on the Delta. We will see

  7. RightNYer says:

    It’s their policy, and they can do what they want, but it’s stupid. American Express receives the same merchant processing fee from purchases of gift cards that they do from purchases of anything else (I would think?). The only business justification for this is that you’re not likely to incur interest charges, but that’s true for many types of purchases.

    • CtownBin says:

      It’s true that they receive the same fees, so it’s unclear why they care- and I have always had the same question. I think the reason has to do with why card issuers give bonuses in the first place and have a minimum spend requirement- which is that they feel that in the long run, this will give them a customer who is likely to CONTINUE spending relatively heavily on the card, giving them more fees in the future. However, once it becomes possible to meet the spend through methods such as Simon, that correlation no longer exists, since it becomes easy to meet the spend, collect the bonus, and then not spend anything on the card at all afterwards- which costs them money. By ensuring that the bonus is only given out on “organic” spend, they increase the chances that the people to whom they give bonuses are people who will continue spending on that level on a regular basis going forward.

      Having said that, even with these reports, I am confident it will still be possible to meet minimum spends- it will just take a bit more creativity than it has in the past.

      • RightNYer says:

        That’s a good point, although recently, I’ve been hitting minimum spending by making federal tax payments (I always owe money anyway). The way I see it, the extra fee of 1.07% (1.87% – .08% Simon fee) is more than worth it to not have to deal with liquidating Visa gift cards. I wonder how long that will last for.

    • Joanne says:

      I just chatted with 2 representatives have copied and pasted the most recent verbiage regarding what does NOT count toward credit card promo (see below). AM EXP now ACCEPTS GIFT card purchases!!! EXCEPTION online American Express gift cards.

      As shared from REP:
      •Interest charges / late payment fees / over-the-credit-limit fees / returned payment fees / foreign transaction fees •Cash advances / Express Cash transactions •Reloadable prepaid card purchases and loads •Balance transfers / all purpose checks •American Express annual membership fees / program fees •American Express fee-based enrollment services •Purchase of American Express Travelers Cheques and Gift Cheques •PASS Card from American Express funds reload •Savings deposits on Card •Privileged Assets •Transactions associated with Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) claims •Federal Excise Tax Offset Fee •Membership Rewards point redemptions •Bulk Mail Charges with U.S. Postal Service ​​​​​​​•American Express Gift Cards purchased online.

    • Joe says:

      You fail to see the point since it’s not about the processing fees. All spend counts towards regular points earning however for the lucrative bonus offers it’s in their T&C that all the spend needs to be organic. Bonus offers are a big loss leader to acquire new customers and those using MS are not likely to be long term customers.

  8. VK says:

    I had posted this on the SPG thread. I had received communication this month on my SPG card that they are changing the policy on bonus points. It said that instead of the bonus points posting immediately, it ‘might’ take upto 60 days for it to post.

    Sounded like enough time for the RAT team to do their audit.

    • Mimi says:

      they’re lying on up to 60 days to post bonuses because I know a lot of those who got approved for personal SPG back in March, met the MSR in April and have not received their bonuses as of Sept. when they contact CS, they are told of a glitch and the CS can’t also manually add the bonuses because the system prevents them.

      I wouldn’t be surprised though if they deny bonuses now for any/all purchases amounting to $500 or more so people have to be more creative from hereon out ; )

      best strategy would be purely organic purchases but that’ll be impossible to meet especially for those who have a lot of new cards.

    • Thanks, VK. Any chance you could take a picture of that for me & send it to will@doctorofcredit.com?TIA

  9. David says:

    Counter DP here (though not involving Simon Mall).

    Opened Plat personal around Aug 16, 75K/$5K. $2.5K in VGC purchases at CVS and Rite Aid, the rest organic spend. Bonus posted when my first statement closed, even though I was $100 short of MSR (excluding the annual fee).

  10. Mimi says:

    AXP RAT must be pressured to do their job to find those spend that will not qualify for bonus and they must be very busy these days.

    AXP took their sweet time in a lot of SPG personal accounts that signed up for the 35000 pts and many are still waiting on their bonuses to posts. I have referrals I already received 5K bonus pts when they signed up and feel bad for them that they didn’t get their points yet when they’ve met MSR back in May. Each time they inquire about their bonuses, they’re told to wait for 8 to 12 weeks more when it’s over 12 weeks from May when they fulfilled the required spend. I’ve told them they have the option to file complaint to CFPB if they are getting nowhere.

  11. James33 says:

    DP: All Simon GCs purchases did not activate bonus for Ameriprise Gold. When I chatted with Amex rep, they specifically told me I did not meet MSR because the transaction did not count. I’ve read other reddit DP’s that chat reps excluded Simon GCs in their calculations as well. Not a good sign.

    Did plastiq and some organic spend and it posted a couple days after MSR met.

    • Jason says:

      James33 (and anyone else buying GCs at Simon): what is the merchant name that shows up on your AX statement after buying GCs? Does it include the name “Simon” in it?

  12. Robert says:

    In 2015 I have has amex clowback my bonus points because of GC spend.
    Nothing new here.
    (Especially when you’re having a real person watching every thing you do for the real dedicated RAT team)

  13. Carter says:

    And this is why I don’t MS the min spend on my Amex cards. I don’t mind doing some MS on them for regular bonus points afterward. Big for a big sign-up bonus, I’m not going to risk missing out on it when we know that Amex is taking a closer look at how you met that min spend

  14. Robert says:

    Why is anyone still MSing to satisfy Amex spend requirements? Haven’t they made it clear that’s a bad strategy?

  15. Ender says:

    Got 2 opening bonus and 2 AU bonus after hitting the requirement at Kroger, points posted immediately. So I guess some L3 data is in play here.

    However I would just complete the requirement organically regardless how Amex is policing this, just for peace of mind.

  16. MH says:

    This thread like the reddit and FT ones is why if it does happen it will be easy/easier for the RAT to do their job.

    I see no benefit to say or ask “Can I buy GCs for my SPG, Delta, Platinum, etc., etc.”

    These are not private message boards, and as appears from the Barclay limitations, either all banks are reading these public threads or they are discussing among themselves how to limit reward seekers.

  17. JVP says:

    What about giftcards.com purchases? Would be ironic if they would let them pass.

    • Mimi says:

      yeah, maybe it’s not obvious to them what those huge purchases are for? ; )

      people ought to plan ahead on how they’re going to meet the MSR before applying for axp card(s) or any CC for that matter. there’s posts on FT and reddit where noobies ask how they can meet the required spend AFTER getting approved for several cards.

    • sdsearch says:

      giftcards.com was being denied by Amex months ago (per posts on FlyerTalk), so it might even predate Simon Mall, I’m not sure. Someone who didn’t think ahead did their whole $$$$ minimum spend on giftcards.com on some card, and was surprised (?) that Amex was denying them the bonus.

      Basically, Amex denies you if they REALIZE that you bought gift cards. So you have to hide it well. I don’t understand how buying on a site “famous” for selling gift cards (or in this case NAMED for it) is “hiding” it.

  18. RCO says:

    Someone asked a good question on FT:

    “For those whose bonus points aren’t posting, have all of your purchases been for increments of $503.95? $1007.90, $1,511.85, etc?”

    Any DPs on this would be helpful. I will be trying to see if different amounts will still trigger the bonus. Going to do some GC purchases today at Simon for the Hilton Surpass.

  19. mny says:

    got me worried guys.
    I needed to put $6500 on my Amex $$ cc so I could get to 5% back at grocery stores, my calendar year just turned over..
    Did much of that spending at simon mall, but on gift card deals they ran, not cash equivalent cards like VGC and MC’s.
    I’ll check in a month when I get my next statement from them.

    thanks for posting

    • Mimi says:

      if I’m not mistaken you’re referring to 0BC? since the 6.5K spend is just a qualifier to start earning 5% on gas,groc,DS purchases, I *think* this will slide but of course, take this with a grain of salt because once they flag an account and review it manually, they will see what you’ve bought and disqualify such purchases. the fact that the first 6.5K purchases hardly earns anything, is why I think they’ll let this slide.

      if the new team can show and prove to AXP how much they were able to save them in paying bonuses, they may be rewarded accordingly.

      • Jason says:

        That first 6.5K qualifier on OBC should slide with GC purchases, so long as it is not obvious, like giftcardmall.com … Simon GC purchases worked for me on OBC to reach the 5% level… but I spread it out over several months.

    • Josh says:

      I can confirm that $6500 to GC.com did count toward the required spend as of August 20th. Also earned 5x on subsequent Kroger grocery GC spend.

  20. Gl says:

    Does Amex use level 3 to find out that gift cards are specifically being purchased? My Simon sells a few goods and services besides GCs.

  21. JP says:

    Got AU bonus and retention bonus when buying gc at giant grocery. This was in late August

  22. R says:

    They told me the purchases at Simon mall don’t qualify for minimum spend

    • Albert H says:

      My question is how do they know? I just looked up the coding for my local Simons mall which codes as specialty store, but i check the other mall(a Macerich) it shows the word “gift” in the statement. Makes me wonder if amex sees that and not includes that into the minimum spendings.

      • Mimi says:

        I guess it is safe to forget about the coding for SimonMall, it is possible that regardless of the amount of purchase, the merchant’s name is flagged to be possible MS. Same goes for Macerich so any purchase from those merchants will likely be scrutinized.

        there’s no doubt rats and brats are reading various sites and with abundance of DPs online, it makes their jobs easy. we can’t blame just a site or two, it is what it is, we just have to learn to be creative ; )

      • R says:

        If you have multiple $100 transactions within minutes and then from there not difficult to analyze. That’s why grocery stores don’t fall under this if you combine gc with other items.

  23. Mser says:

    Simply amazing how many nitwits call and ask.

  24. TheMonkeyTech says:

    This happened to me as well. Here’s a DP –

    I opened 8 SPG cards, a biz and a personal for each of my 4 family members. 7 of the cards was mostly MS between amex gift cards online portal, grocery stores, and drug stores. The 8th card, that was last to arrive, I put 2k on it with Simon Mall GCs. I don’t live near any simon malls so I didn’t put any simon GC spend on the first 7 cards, but we took a trip to an outlet one day so i bought the GCs on site. The rest of the min spend was organic at the outlet buying crap.

    I got bonuses on 7 of the cards, but never got the bonus on the 8th card that I had used to buy Simon GCs. All spending was completed around the July-August time frame.

  25. Daniel says:

    I was a victim of Amex’s clawback on Business Platinum Cards in late 2016. They only took away half of my points (I did have a fair amount of legitimate purchase on the card) which led me to believe they’re looking for charges that resemble gift cards (same amounts at the same points of purchase – usually at Walmart for $504.94). Since this has happened to me, I’ve made sure to add in some grocery purchases in combination with my gift card purchases to make sure my total purchases are varied. I’ve not had another issue with Amex clawbacks since. We used this method to meet the minimum spend on my wife’s Business Platinum a few months after my clawback and received all her bonus points.

    • Joanne says:

      @ Daniel so if I walk into Walmart and purchase a couple thousand of gift cards you don’t think Am Exp will honor that? They just told me today gift card purchases are legit!

      • Andrew S says:

        …You talked to them about this? See, YOU are part of the problem when you do that.

        • Joanne says:

          @Andrew S. Speak for yourself. I don’t intend to waste my time and money if Am Exp will not honor my purchases!

          Your comment was unnecessary!!

          • Andrew S says:

            Unnecessary? People like you end up ruining it for the rest of us! You clearly have no idea what you are doing, and on top of that you have an attitude of entitlement.

            If purchases don’t count then tough. That’s a risk you take when you work in this business.

            My comment is very necessary. Hopefully in the future people like you keep their pie holes shut.

          • NinjaX says:

            aaaaand this is why we cant have nice things…

          • TheMonkeyTech says:

            and……the customer service agent hangs up laughing at Joanne. We got another winner! Forward this customer account number to the RAT team please

        • Joanne says:

          @andrew
          You are Not worthy of my time!!
          I don’t do things blindly with hope!!!
          My last comment to you!

          • Elmer says:

            It would actually be best for ALL of us if AMEX would just permanently shut down people like Joanne that call in and ask obvious questions about MS that is explicitly AGAINST the t&c of the card you signed up for. I wish they’d just shut down all your accounts and black list you rather than just not give you a sign-up bonus.

        • Joanne says:

          Yep Andrew, I don’t do things blindly with hope!!
          Last comment, you are not worthy of my time!

          • AL says:

            Joanne, it’s pretty obvious you are new here, so…welcome. Just as an FYI, most people who read this site really really really frown upon calling customer service regarding questions that are meant to game the system. To be honest, your going to get a more accurate answer in here than you would from CS. It would surprise the hell out of me if you had any question that couldn’t be answered in here. You asked the most basic rookie question”what is vgc” and you got a helpful answer. Take some time, read the blog and ask any questions you don’t understand. Just like any group in society, there are social norms. This is a friendly site, but posting about a call to CS regarding ms is gonna cause some blowback. Take that for what it’s worth.

          • Rich says:

            Funny comment from a newb. As you can see from other comments and dps, gift cards can be excluded and they will clawback or deny you bonuses if they figure out you bought them. The frontline csrs will tell you anything you want to believe or hear, but the supervisors will certainly deny that’s the rule. Why don’t you call again 😉

      • 86 says:

        I got my 1% back for buying a gift cards with my Amex from the Amex web site, so gift cards are eligible purchases for earning rewards. Ineligible purchases are buying those same gift cards now to meet the initial sign-up bonus (to thwart churners).

  26. a bird says:

    i have a bad feeling that drug store also fall under the same axe.

    as it stands now, i havent receive AU bonus yet and majority of spend is in see vee ass, double u gee

    but fortunately, i still got time to make more purchases

  27. Curmudgeon says:

    DP on Amex Premier Rewards Gold: Thought I had met the threshold for spending but found myself $700 short which is also the amount spent at a Simon Mall in August.

    It doesn’t post as a Simon Mall, just the name of the mall itself and codes as “Other – Miscellaneous”.

    On the other hand, no problem getting points (both MR and SPG) for regular purchases at Simon. It just seems the purchases aren’t working anymore for initial bonus.

    • NinjaX says:

      well thats good. so simon at least get 1x for normal spend? given many MS on SPG, i assume its MSR banned for now and then normal spend will be next.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        So far I’m seeing 700 MR points pending on the Amex PRG from Simon Mall purchases from early August.

        Got all my SPG points with the statement ending a couple weeks ago; all were Simon purchases. Next statement closes early October so I’ll see then if SPG keeps posting points, but I think they will.

  28. bodiddely says:

    Interesting — seems like it was have been just as if not more easy for AmEx to block Simon mall purchases from counting towards any kind of spend. This tells me they are fine with MS as an ongoing practice outside of earning signup bonus. They don’t want to give a churner 100k MR for MSing 10k at Simon, but if you want to MS that 100k MR by buying $67k in VGC at 1.5x on an EDP, that’s more than fine by AmEx (or so it seems).

  29. Darv says:

    I think this business of trying to disqualify people because of different types of transactions is ridiculous. American Express’s problem is not with how people are making transactions, it is how they are accepting applications.

    Yes, in the vast majority of cases they are reviewing, people are buying Visa/MC gift cards with the intent to liquidate. But even if that’s true, people still buy these gift cards for genuine gifts (forget “legitimate,” as these are ALL legitimate purchases).

    Or how about Amex saying that a Plastiq mortgage payment isn’t allowed?

    They could argue if I buy Amazon gift cards or AMC movie gift cards, I might be liquidating them. Yeah, maybe, almost certainly not.

    If American Express wants to stop people from gaming their system, they need to prevent those people from getting cards in the first place. It’s ridiculous that they have people going through accounts and combing for transactions that *might* be with the intent of gaming.

    It should be that if a merchant legitimately processes a transaction and it codes as a purchase, then it is a purchase and counts toward a minimum spend requirement or any other bonus category.

    Or if Amex wants to change the system, change it so that some of these transactions code as cash advances.

    Just ridiculous that gift cards are not genuine purchases. I don’t manufacture spend, so I have no skin in this game, but I do occasionally buy store gift cards for personal use or birthday/Xmas gifts, and I should NOT have to worry about this causing problems.

    Amex should be above this.

  30. Max says:

    I really don’t understand why they care so much. They are clearly investing a lot into these RAT teams. If I open a new Amex I can very easily just Paypal myself for a 3% fee. That is absolutely a valid way to meet a min spend, and I’m sure Amex would get a very small proportion of that as interchange fees (Paypal charges the same fee with a bank account or a credit card so I’m sure they’re aggressive in taking a cut). Or I can buy a $3000 TV and never put anything on the card again.

    Cracking down on consistent MS I can understand if it really is costing them a lot.

    If the banks really want to stop people moving from one CC to another they should just be much tougher on limiting new accounts to like 1 a year.

  31. Young says:

    Does anyone have any DPs about MS’ing via Simon to meet the MQM requirements on the Delta cards (i.e. 25K in spend for 10K MQMs and another 10K MQMs for 50K in spend)? Understand it doesn’t work for MSR, but sounds like it would work for this if it counts as reg spend

  32. Jarrett says:

    The big question and concern for me is if using Simon GCs for spend will also affect the $25,000/$50,000 and $30,000/$60,000 MQM boosts on the respective Delta-branded Amex cards… Any thoughts on this?

    • NinjaX says:

      the answer for me is fairly simple IMHO:

      1) everything is YMMV. proceed at your own risk

      2) RAT is not a myth. who knows what he roadmap looks like for IDing abusers. see No. 1.

      3) at this point, TC and algo implementation is being tested and rolled out. you have a small window of opportunity to use Simon before total block out

      4) MOST KEY: its been discussed so many damn times that I am still shocked people are complaining about MSing issues on AMEX CC. ever since the leaked links got nuked, the entire community should already be aware that MSing AMEX is at your own risk and YMMV whether it be MSR or annual spend bonuses or AU or anything else. at the very least, it could trigger FR. previously, people still didnt give a shit since we didnt see wide reports of issues. now, we are just seeing the inevitable. nothing is surprising here.

      • Andrew S says:

        Times have changed. We’re sadly passed the days of being able to do 70k+ a day at WM in BPs.

        Sad? Of course. Still, I was able to buy a house thanks to MS. Maybe it’s time for me to retire……

        • NinjaX says:

          yes. we are all sad. but maybe this is for the better. its too saturated anyway. no such thing as free lunch and limited resources. zero sum. its time to move on to a different strategy.

          so u bought a house with MS? maybe i actually met u then. haha. spoken to a few HH who did the same. RIP WF.

      • Jarrett says:

        NinjaX:

        1) I agree, so much of this hobby is YMMV… But, up till now, this hasn’t been YMMV. It’s been, in nearly all cases (using an example such as the Delta Platinum Amex), that if you spend $25,000, in nearly any way, you received the first of two potential 10,000 MQM boosts. Period.

        2) Truth.

        4) I wasn’t complaining about anything, whatsoever. I’ve gotten an incredible amount of mileage out of these MQM boosts over the years, pun intended. I’m merely airing my question, so as to make it a yet another DP people may report on so I can see where we’re at. While sign-up bonuses have been an issue in the past, and likely on the chopping block for a while, I’ve never once experienced or heard of the specific Delta Amex Platinum or Reserve card MQM boosts being an issue from any type of spend.

        • NinjaX says:

          yea. i agree with what you are saying and I wasnt attacking you.

          i was simply making a statement that whatever worked in the past was always on the “about to be nuked” road-map. ever since the leaked link clawbacks and those getting clawbacks for NOT even MSing on leaked links (RAT digging into prior MS abuse) and the AMEX powerpoint presentation to address gaming, i knew it was only time.

          of course, people were careful about MSR w/ organic spend but not annual spend bonus like your Delta. everyone still MSed like crazy on all cards thinking it was only for leaked links and SPG was hit the hardest. so to answer your question, it will most likely STILL WORK for delta MQM until a few more months. looks like NOV is the new date. its still YMMV, but it looks like after NOV then the RAT will be in full force looking for spending anomalies and really doing data mining to see what shit you bought.

          speculation is that this is all for MSR and normal spending MS abuse is OK. i disagree. MSR may be the immediate AMEX priority, but any review process or algo can encompass all types of spend or bonuses.

          TBD. good luck to all. be careful out there.

  33. NinjaX says:

    ok guys. seriously. nothing is surprising here and this was inevitable. for those who are pissed or upset or entitled because GC purchases are “legitimate”, you havent been around long enough. RAT is real. the AMEX AXE was long overdue anyway. still painful, but not as painful as clawbacks.

    i mean would you rather have GC not count or have it count then clawback? this is exactly what everyone requested during the last clawback that came AFTER the 90 day MSR. people said “if youre gonna claw my shit back, at least give me time for MSR BEFORE the 90 days are up”. welp… you got it in the form of GC not counting. so there you go. be careful what you wish for.

    the post title “Is American Express Cracking Down On Giftcard/Simon Malls Purchases For Minimum Spend Requirements/Authorized User Bonuses?” is interesting and funny, because the answer has always been YES but not systematic like 5/24 or USB AR. ever since the leaked link clawbacks, the entire community was warned about the change in AMEX CC landscape. doesnt matter MSR or annual spend bonus or AU etc etc. who cares? thats not the point. the MAIN POINT is that RAT is real and AMEX is watching and lurking these open public forum for ideas.

    we should all know about L3 data by now and should always know its YMMV w/ AMEX until its algo take permanent control. not sure why we are arguing about how AMEX knows what we buy and what MCC is blocked. if you know anything about Big Data analytics, anything can be filtered. not just MCC.

    spending with AMEX should always be organic. if you do GC then its YMMV and you may get clawback or FR or whatever. Simon looks like its blocked but i am sure there will be more vendor blocking via L3. its probably too much DB coding for now. i am sure other GC vendors will be included in the list and more manual reviews will happen. and for those providing counter DP of GC working for MSR, well, who cares. thats just for now and its only temp. dont think that will last.

  34. Van says:

    Met minimum on my PRG, got bonus using Simon… That was 5 months ago. Got an offer for spend 2k get 25k MR points this month. Did Simon again however I haven’t seen the points or do I see them pending.. so maybe they gave cracked down on it..

  35. Katie says:

    Guys very disappointing news.

    Can someone confirm if Giftcardmall and gc.com purchased count as meeting spend requirements or not?

    • Elmer says:

      Why not be the data point you want to see?

    • Mimi says:

      the names of the merchants is a dead giveaway for the rats to decide what to do.

      if I were you, it’s best to do organic spend or if you wish to buy GCs, best to buy them at grocery stores which do not pass on L3 data (for now) especially “smaller” grocery stores not part of nationwide chains.

      it’s your judgment call depending on whether you’re a risk taker or not.

      • NinjaX says:

        yes. this is exactly right. anything you do now is YMMV and you move at your own risk. everyone needs to decide whats worth it on their own. anything COULD still work. or it may not.

        think about it this way: AMEX is watching you. so what are you gonna do?

        personally, why risk it right? unless u must MS GC.

  36. 86 says:

    If Amex doesn’t want us to use their cards to buy gift cards during the holidays or even during the year when they are on sale, I will gladly use my other cards more.

    • NinjaX says:

      almost positive this is focused on open loop GC. not merchant gift cards. this is why GC resell is huge. there is nothing wrong with GC retail arbitrage.

  37. Ken says:

    I’ve only had 1 out of 4 AU bonuses post. All spend was at Walmart and legit. No MS, no GCs. Merchandise for resale only. Way over $1,000 per card and still nothing past the first 2,500 points.

    Also I didn’t get the 1,000 bonus for paying my cable bill a 2nd time despite receiving the offer email. Amex has turned into a stingy company that doesn’t fulfill its promised obligations.

    • T says:

      For SPG’s 2500 point bonus? Same here. I only had 1 out of 4 bonus posted so far. For 2 cards I got VGCs at the local grocery store. I guess I still have time to organic spend but it’s just harder since it’s under someone else’s name.

      • Ken says:

        Yup. Organic spend may not matter, and I didn’t have any MS at all and still I’m missing 3 of 4 bonuses.

        • NinjaX says:

          if i had to guess the worst, its AMEX reviewing ur purchases. not too many spend a crap load at walmart in a short period which is what i assume u did, but not sure. u just said way over 1k? maybe it got flagged?

          • NBG says:

            AU promo issue: Its a issue with Amex system. For anyone that applied the AU’s by adding all 4 at a time, the system errors out/times out. But the AU cards are processed and sent. Irrespective of MS or non MS spend, only one of the card gets the AU bonus (no DP to say otherwise). Rest in Limbo. I had a friend of mine try adding the 4 AU one at a time by having 4 screen open – his all 4 bonus posted (from what he said). And they were MS. SO its certain that Amex system is screwed up with what is says for AU promotion vs reality.

            Also if you notice for those that applied all 4 AU at the same time, the promo disappears from the offers only to come back few weeks later – meaning the system still things you have left the offer on the table.

    • Mike says:

      Compared to other credit card firms, in my experience Amex has always (since 2005) been the most pathetic one to deal with, not generous at all. Do not repeat bonuses if you ever got bonus points even once in your lifetime. That’s why i rarely use Amex

  38. PeterW says:

    2 weeks ago I received and accepted upgrade offer from regular Hilton Card to Surpass. All spending was done on GC (not Simon mall) bonus 100,000 posted couple of days ago.

  39. Sam says:

    Applied and got approved for an AMEX platinum card with a 75K bonus with 5k spending. First month did 1k legit spending. Second month did purchases from simon mall (gc). Many days passed after completing minimum spend but no bonus posted. Then read in some blogs that Simon mall purchases are excluded from the minimum spend. Did a legit spend for 6k ( had to pay for some insurances and taxes and they took a 3% fee for using AMEX card). Points posted within 2 days. I had many AMEX card before and this is the first time this happened. Now I am so certain that Simon purchases will NOT count towards minimum spend.

  40. Captainsave says:

    Glad im already done with MSing all of amex cards. Although it seems like only simon mall gc wont count which i dont MS from there anyways

  41. Jazz says:

    DP : On my Delta Amex Biz, 1k spent for July 8th counted but 2k spend on Aug 26th didn’t count for my minimum spend. Tom thumb GC counted.

  42. Mike says:

    I had a chat tonight for almost an hour that got me no where. 90% of MSR on an Amex Delta card was at Simon Mall during a GC deal (non-VGC)…. It’s been 2 weeks since close of that statement with no bonus posting… The chat was brutal. NO mention of Simon Mall or even that any of my spend was not qualified spend. After getting a supervisor on the chat, they confirmed I had over $3k spend and that I “should” get the bonus at the 6-8 weeks mark…. I did ask for a ‘guarantee’ that the supervisor believes I have met the MSR and that the bonus will post, along with asking for a chat reference ID…. I don’t know how much weight that will hold in a dispute if the bonus does not post…. I’m thinking if it hasn’t yet, it won’t. Fun stuff.

    • Mimi says:

      I had a similar experience with the much delayed posting of bonus on SPG personal 35K pts offer. Whenever I called to follow up, they’d tell me to wait 8 to 12 weeks after the spend and they were working on the glitch….but the last time I told him it’s been 16 weeks and all he could say was he was so sorry for the inconvinience but he nor any supervisor can’t add it manually. I was about to file a CFPB complaint by my next call but when I checked again, full bonus was there. I’m just glad I didn’t have to file the complaint just to get the bonus. All those time I managed to keep my cool, I reminded myself that it’s not the rep’s fault and I just have to be patient. Patience is indeed, a virtue.

  43. Joanne says:

    Mike, when I place a call such as yours in nature, I make sure I document the time of the call ref# and person I spoke with. I have referenced prior calls (which are generally recorded) and have been successful in receiving what I was promised.
    Good Luck!

  44. Don't Hate Me RAT says:

    At least 24k of 25k spend at Simon. Delta Plat bonus boost 10k miles 10k mqm posted with statement close. Normal

  45. PeaceandPost says:

    I did not receive 1x normal spend points from Ameriprise Gold Simon mall purchases. This post came out the day after I tried to MS 2 Ameriprise Gold card minimum spends. Didn’t get the 25k bonuses nor did either card even get 1x base spend (statement closed 4 days ago). Also purchased 3k of Simon GC’s on Hilton Surpass for minimum spend that day. Statement closed and no 100k bonus from that spend, but 3x base spend did post. SO, could be that on all MR earning cards Simon is completely excluded from earning points, and co-brands only base points qualify.

  46. Dustin Mott says:

    I read on Flyertalk that Macerich didn’t work to trigger the bonus.
    “Yes, Macerich. Confirmed via chat that is was not “qualified spend” when the purchase was not included in the total qualified spend amount provided by the CSR.
    The previous GC spend was on a now closed statement, posted at 1x, and the charge was paid in full. No bonus points were shown as pending.”

  47. Joanne says:

    75K posted after business $5K spend. Purchases included GCs and organic spend. Noticed new promo states, “no GCs” for the 50K points. So point bonus decreased and NO GC spend on the gold business cc.

    Thanks Doc for all your insightful comments and helping us to detour the system!!!

  48. Pat says:

    I tried to purchase SimonGC for my Amex Gold. Already met the spending since October. No bonus has shown yet. Called the rep and they told me to wait 8-12 weeks. Still nothing is posted. Just curious if this applies to all GCs or just Simon one??????

    • NBG says:

      I think it applies to places where they send detailed purchase data (or at-least Simon). I have done some grocery store VGC MS and points posted without issues.

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