Posted by Chuck on September 20, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on September 20th, 2017 | by Chuck

42

Amex SPG, Hilton & Delta Cards Add 12-Week Waiting Clause for Rewards

In the September statements for the SPG, Delta and Hilton Honors card, there are new terms mentioned which allow Amex to delay issuing rewards for up to 12 weeks. The change is effective November 1, 2017.

Bonus Starpoints received from your Card will be posted to your SPG account up to 12 weeks after the end of each month. Your account must not be cancelled or delinquent at the time of bonus fulfillment.

Currently, regular spend usually shows up in your SPG account a few days after statement close. Other bonuses usually post a few days after requirements are met, I believe (as with all Amex cards).

I’m a bit unsure if the new language is targeting bonus offers specifically, like signup bonuses and AU bonuses, or if it includes regular spend as well.

Is this the RAT team at work? It’s odd they started with a co-branded card; typically crack downs start on their own cards where they maintain stronger controls. In a similar move, Amex might be cracking down on using gift card purchases toward spend requirements. Could it be they want more time to review for MS purchases? Time will tell.

Hopefully, it’s some sort of SPG-specific thing co-branded thing which warrants more time, and isn’t related. If it is a broader crack down, I imagine we’ll soon see updated terms on other Amex cards too.

Hat tip to reader VK



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Rye
Rye

I hope ‘regular’ spend isn’t included

Carter
Carter

When I log into my SPG account and look at “recent activity”, all of the deposits of SPG points are listed as “bonus” points, whether its from regular CC spend, expenses during SPG stays, bonus points from SPG stays, etc.

bob
bob

I don’t see how this can apply to regular spend……there is no card out there that makes you wait that long for any rewards…..I’d drop the card for sure if they made you wait 12 weeks……starwood points are not a freaking CD that you wait to mature.

chaseaholic
chaseaholic

their CB rewards make you wait ages. it’s 2 full statements after the one in which you made purchases I believe.

either way this is possibly a very troubling new announcement.

Carter
Carter

It doesn’t say that they will in actuality make you wait this long. Language like this is so that they reserve the right to do so if needed. That way, if they need to investigate your account or spending, they can invoke this term as cover. I would still expect SPG points to post quickly for the large majority of folks.

projectx
projectx

I can’t imagine the general public tolerating a wait of three months for rewards points to post. MAYBE on a sign up bonus, but monthly spend? No way.

Justin
Justin

I think you are overestimating the general public’s interest in points and ability to track. My friend has had the BCP for awhile and I just informed him the cashback posts the statement after the statement in which you made the purchases. Hes a light churner too. Most people don’t track or care

JC
JC

I took this to be an extension of Amex offers whereby they would start offering SPG points for some offers just like they do with MR points. I figured they wanted to protect themselves in case people didn’t read the terms of the offer but I definitely see where it could be for signup bonuses and spend bonuses.

They also added this language to my Hilton Honors September statement.

Olympia
Olympia

Still waiting for my bonus and looks like it’ll take that long. Annoyed with them.

MH
MH

“Is this the RAT team at work?”

Of course it is!

With people on reddit, FT, and elsewhere making posts and threads titled “How to MS____card? Except they fill in the blank.

None of these are private , even here.

Justin
Justin

Why would they care about non-bonused MS? They make the same interchange fees they do in every other purchase?

William Charles

I guess one reason they might care is that MS purchases are less likely to lead to fees and interest charged than regular purchases. Remember interchange fees are only one part of the business model.

Dusty
Dusty

I wonder if this has something to do with the problems they had with the 35k bonuses not posting like they should (and the offers seemingly not attached to the cards. Could just be a CYA clause.

Jeremiah
Jeremiah

>Could just be a CYA clause

My thought exactly.

1. Technical glitch or reward abuse team review causes bonuses to be delayed past the period enumerated in the card agreement

2. Enough CFPB complaints are lodged and/or their legal compliance team decides they need to cover their asses better

3. This change is made

Don’t see how it necessarily implies that they will alter how they post normal awards (although I suppose it certainly could)

vorsha1514
vorsha1514

DP: statement closed 9/18, ‘regular’ spend at giftc@rdm@ll, points posted same day.

Fiby

The changes take effect 11/01

SouthFayetteFan
SouthFayetteFan

I wonder if this applies to SPG (and saw reports of Hilton and Delta) as they can’t do a clawback with partners. Once your points transfer to a partner it’s over and they can’t get them back if they find something they feel abusive. With MRs they can clawback at any time (even putting people negative as we’ve seen).

Philco
Philco

They certainly can do claw backs from partners don’t kid yourself. Just because we haven’t seen many doesn’t mean it doesn’t or it cannot happen. If you want to do a test try this. Buy something in month one, wait for statement to close, return item in month two with NO further purchases let statement close negative. My bet is you will see a “claw back” on your airline/hotel frequent traveler program for the negative amount (this has happened to me twice for legitimate refunds). This is all automated.

I am also personally aware of several 6-7 figure claw backs from a bank from a certain frequent flyer program some years ago initiated by the bank.

While partner programs are certainly at less risk of claw backs/loss they are not invulnerable..

SouthFayetteFan
SouthFayetteFan

How about this…I’ve done your so-called test and actually speak from experience.

On multiple occasions I’ve had a return post on a card (did this on Marriott, Hilton, & Southwest) with no other expenses that month and the negative balance just sits there on your card. It does not “transfer” or get taken out of the partner account. I once had a negative 125 point balance with Marriott just sit there for 9 months. Each month my CC statement showed -125 points.

I was considering cancelling the card so I asked a CSR what would happen to the negative points and they said all transferred points are earned and final but any pending points would be forfeited. I said…how can I forfeit negative points, he said you’re right, they will just go away but we can’t take points back out of your Marriott account. I ended up spending money to bring the points back to 0 before closing to not risk any future adverse action with Chase – but I assume if they could have taken those points back during the 9 months they would have.

I’d guess that it’s in the partner contract actually that once points transfer it can’t be reversed. For example, what if I earn 30k bonus StarPoints from AMEX…I and use them as soon as they hit my account for a stay that would’ve cost $500. Then AMEX tries to claw them back because of MS activity. Starwood isn’t letting me go negative in my account…how do they ever get their money back? This is an AMEX problem and Starwood I’m sure wants to remain out of it (especially if it could give them bad publicity). Now AMEX can put you negative on their side, but you can just cancel the card and move on (risking any future issues with AMEX no doubt).

FLL
FLL

Years ago several people I know had their UA sign up bonuses clawed back by Chase when at the time Chase had informal 24 months policy but not enforced by the system as not to issue a card so it was possible to get another bonus before the 24 months period is up.

Therefore if a bank wants to claw back earning on partners it certainly can.

William Charles

Yeah that’s an interesting theory and makes sense.

Churner
Churner

On personal delta reserve card received last week as well

Mser
Mser

This might be a way to prevent retention bonus offers being given and then people cancel anyway. If you have to wait 12 weeks, can’t get a full AF refund anymore

JP
JP

Isn’t 30 days max for AF refund?

Spencer
Spencer

This type of rule is needed because people sign up for a new card, meet the spend, pay the annual fee, get the sign up bonus and transfer it out, then close the account and get a full refund on the annual fee. All within 30 days start to finish. This really burns the card issuers. I’ve even read of people doing it in Dec / Jan and getting two annual $200 Amex Platinum travel credits. And just to throw salt in the wounds, the same people MS the minimum spend.

Fiby

The changes take effect 11/01.

frogger
frogger

Well I just got my SPG card last week. I think it is a bad policy to make you wait 12 weeks and defeats the whole purpose of giving sign-up bonuses to people who aren’t bonus chasers/churners. You want people who don’t think long term who charge up a ton and pay it over time. These people want their bonuses right away. I have no problem waiting though.

Matt
Matt

I suspect that non-MS’ers won’t see any change — we’ll still get the points within a couple days of statement closing like before. This feels to me like it is just giving Amex the option to clamp down on folks abusing the system by MSing…

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