Credit Cards

The Importance of Documenting Every Offer

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Of all the tips on maximizing points and miles, one of the most important one and least mentioned:  document everything!

Far too often I depend on the credit card, airline, and hotel companies to keep track of everything I’ve done. Yet they’re human too (or automated) and they’re going to make mistakes. This really came home a few months ago.

Back in December my Starwood Preferred Guest Business AMEX was targeted for a Facebook Ad promotion. All Facebook Ad spend would earn 3X points through April, which was better than the 2X points my American Express Gold Rewards Business Card gets.

The card number had recently been changed because of fraud and I was having trouble registering with the new number, so I called customer service for help. They registered with the old card number (which in their systems was linked to the new one) and I promptly started crediting all ad spend to that card.

In February I got another email with my new card number promoting the 3X Facebook Ad offer. Just to make sure I tried to register again and it said I was already set.

In early April I get another reminder, the month ends and my Starwood balance stays the same. I read the terms and conditions and waited another 4 weeks for the points to credit.

Nothing. I email American Express Customer Service and get a reply that the offer was only targeted at Membership Rewards cards and the SPG card didn’t count. I responded letting them know that I was in fact targeted, to which they responded they had no records to that effect and I can mail them supporting documents if I have them.

I went back in my email and found the three emails and was wishing that I had also taken a screen shot of my registration confirmation (next time!) and mailed it off that day. 2 months pass and I hear nothing, so I contact them to follow up.

I’m told they never received the materials so they closed the case. But they’ll review it again if I want to send everything to them, this time at least offering an option to upload them electronically. I painstakingly scan and upload all the documents page by page since it takes .jpg but not PDFs and wait to hear back.

A few days later I get a response saying I’m still wrong, my card was not targeted for the offer but as a sign of good will they would credit me the missing 24,000 points. That’s right, after 4 months and multiple emails, they suddenly credit the points from good will and not because the documentation I sent in showed their emails targeting my SPG card specifically…It’s a shame the good will generated by awarding the points was completely destroyed by their snippy email.

(highlighting mine)


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