American Express reward points big error: do I have any redress?

Four_Oaks_Bookworm
Four_Oaks_Bookworm Posts: 25 Forumite
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edited 10 May 2023 at 1:13PM in Credit cards
In November I took out an American Express Preferred Rewards Gold card, because I started a new job with lots of business travel.  The introductory offer was for 30,000 Reward points (= 30,000 Avios if you choose to convert it) if I spent 3000 within the first three months, which I easily achieved.  About a month in, I noticed another offer on my account which was for 20,000 if you spent £5000 before the same three month deadline.  I also easily achieved this.  The 50,000 reward points have been sitting in my Amex account since then, whilst I waited to decide how to use them: in the meantime I'd earmarked some flights for a summer trip but not yet spent the points.

Today I received a letter (in the post) from Amex, telling me that the second offer was an error, and that they had debited 20,000 points from my account.   I have several questions:
- Can they do this 'just like that'?
- What if I'd spent extra to achieve the second target, spending that might have been on a different card or even that I didn't need to spent (especially if I was vulnerable for example)
- What if I'd already transferred those points out of my Reward account?  Could they have tried to claw them back?

I'm naturally v angry at this because I had earmarked them for a well earned holiday.  Any tips or suggestions welcome!

Comments

  • Zuzi
    Zuzi Posts: 205 Forumite
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    edited 10 May 2023 at 4:28PM
    I don't have answers to all your questions, just the last one - no they are not trying to claw them back, I know because I was in the same situation but I transferred those points away before they realised the error. As a result I now have about minus 17,000 points, I still use the card for some shopping here and there but will make sure I cancel it before the card fees are due in the second year. 

    There was an FAQ document they'd linked with questions about this, did you receive that? I will edit my post with it if I find it. I feel for you if they managed to take the points away before you could use them. For all it's worth, I actually gave them a call while the second bonus was counting down asking if it was genuine, so I feel they could have realised their mistake earlier, I would not have been mad if that had happened early on. As it was, I too reached the second spend limit and got the extra 20,000 points automatically so at that stage I felt that I deserved the extra bonus...

    ETA the link to their page on this issue, although your letter probably included it too. My letter was sent back in March, almost two months ago, it's interesting that you only got yours now. 

    https://www.americanexpress.com/content/dam/amex/uk/benefits/20k_points_removal_QA_web_f_updated.pdf
  • WillPS
    WillPS Posts: 3,461 Forumite
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    If you spent extra just to meet you met the target which Amex offered you, then you have a legitimate basis for a complaint.

    Your spend since you hit that deadline might indicate otherwise though.

    With points schemes, if you have a windfall, it's worth cashing out ASAP because they're unable to have any way of clawing them back afterwards (as indicated by that FAQ helpfully posted above, you could now simply close your account with a negative points balance).

    (This differs from the advice when you have an unexpected cash windfall, because if that's spent and then deducted it becomes debt.)
  • Four_Oaks_Bookworm
    Four_Oaks_Bookworm Posts: 25 Forumite
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    edited 11 May 2023 at 3:24PM
    Update: I called Amex and vented at them, going hard on the 'fraudulent representation' and 'irresponsible encouragement to spend', and the helpful lady on the other end immediately promised to reinstate the points in the next 48 hours, which they've already done.  I did ask what they would have done had I already transferred the points out, and she said I would have just been in debit on the points scheme (I then would have done exactly the same as @Zuzi above and closed the card before the second year fee kicked in).  Incidentally I never received the FAQ document, just the letter which was dated early May.
  • WillPS
    WillPS Posts: 3,461 Forumite
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    Update: I called Amex and vented at them, going hard on the 'fraudulent representation' and 'irresponsible encouragement to spend', and the helpful lady on the other end immediately promised to reinstate the points in the next 48 hours, which they've already done.  I did ask what they would have done had I already transferred the points out, and she said I would have just been in debit on the points scheme (I then would have done exactly the same as @Zuzi above and closed the card before the second year fee kicked in).  Incidentally I never received the FAQ document, just the letter which was dated early May.

    Result! Thanks for reporting back.
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