Published on December 5th, 2017 | by Chuck217
Amex Invalidates Signup Bonus Points for those who Gamed the Spend
In the past few days, some people have been getting emails about not being eligible for their Amex signup bonus since “activity on your account indicates an effort to reach the Welcome Bonus spend requirement in a manner that is not consistent with the terms of your Cardmember Agreement.” This is being reported by multiple readers (1, 2, 3, 4), DDF members as well as Milesperday.
We are writing to let you know that, unfortunately, you are not eligible to receive the Welcome Bonus for the [insert] Credit Card. Activity on your account indicates an effort to reach the Welcome Bonus spend requirement in a manner that is not consistent with the terms of your Cardmember Agreement.
In the past, we’ve heard reports of crack down for Simon Mall gift card purchases. In that case it was an issue of points not posting, I’m not sure if anyone got an actual claw back. The Milesperday report indicates that even grocery spend is not immune, possibly only in cases where Amex has Level 3 Data on the merchant.
We’ll have to wait to see if they actually pull the points back, but on paper at least they are saying the person isn’t eligible. On Amex’s own cards they can easily claw back points, and even put your balance into the negative (that’s happened to people in similar circumstances). For co-branded cards, like Delta, it’ll be trickier for them to claw back after the fact, especially if the points were already spent, though I’m sure they can work something out if they really wanted to.
The Amex RAT team has been on an absolute rampage this year, and apparently wanted to end the year with a bang.
- They updated their terms to penalize those gaming the signup bonus system
- They may have begun cracking down on some kinds of minimum spend purchases for counting toward signup bonus spend, such as Simon Mall
- They added terms on the SPG and Hilton cards indicating rewards may begin coming with a 12-week delay starting November 1, 2017
- They added terms allowing them to temporarily suspend earning and redeeming Membership Rewards points
- Now they’re apparently disallowing all kinds of manufactured spend from earning signup bonus, even clawing back points when they feel you gamed the bonus.
I’m getting nervous myself about signup bonus points on a new Amex card. Please contribute your own data points in the comments below.