Getting American Express Premier Gold Retention Bonus Or Not. It has been Confusing.

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I have had the American Express Premier Reward Gold for 10 months.  Among so many other credit cards available, my objectives to apply were:

  • to explore the American Express Membership Reward Program
  • to transfer Membership Reward points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Program
  • to keep FICO score above 720, as new AMEX credit card would have the same start date of my oldest AMEX credit card, pulling up my average existing credit card holding years.
  • to earn 3x from purchasing airline tickets for my relatives
The first year annual card fee of $175 is waived.  I would keep the card for another year only if the $175 fee can be waived, as it can help to keep my FICO score in good shape.  Last week, I called the AMEX Customer Service 1-800-327-2177 to request to cancel the card, so they would transfer me directly to the customer retention center.  (Anytime I can change my mind about canceling the card, as long as before I explicitly confirm my intent to cancel to their canceling question.)  The customer support on the phone offered,
  • 10,000 Membership Reward bonus points with no spending requirement
  • 5,000 Membership Reward bonus points if I spend $2000 in the next two months.
But the $175 fee can not be waived.  It would cost me ($6.95x15)($200 debit card fee) - ($2x15)(rebate from Visa SavingsEdge) = $74.25, and the efforts to liquidate 15 debit Visa gift cards to manufacture 15,000 Ultimate Reward points.  The final destination is Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Program.  I verbally accepted the offer.  There is no email or letter confirmation.

I felt a little uncomfortable, because I only spent $5000 on the American Express Premier Gold card in the last 10 months.  Next day, I contacted AMEX customer support via online chat this time to have some proof about the retention bonus offering in writing.  This is probably the most confusing online chat experience with American Express I ever had...

Ashley: Hi, welcome to American Express Chat. My name is Ashley. How can I help you today?
you: Greetings, I called last week to American Express regarding my Gold Premier Card, because it is about to renewal. Your colleague offered 10,000 membership reward points, and spending of $2000 for two months to be rewarded another 5,000. Can you check when I would receive the 10,000 points and when the 2 month period begins?
you: I verbally accepted the offer on the phone with your colleague
Ashley: Let me take a look at your account may I have your name please?
you: sure. Patrick Wong
Ashley: Thank you.
Ashley: In order to continue, I need you to answer an identification question. Your chat window will expand to the right with the question, please answer it in the space provided.
The agent has sent you a secure form
you: sent
Ashley: Thank you.
Ashley: One moment so I can review the account please.
you: sure
Ashley: You have until October 22 to spend the $2,000.
you: ok. do I receive 10,000 points upon card renewal?
Ashley: You should earn the points upon completing the spend that they told you.
you: completing the spend will earn me 5000 points. the additional 10,000 points does not require spending
Ashley: Oh okay.
you: I just need a confirmation, because there is no email or letter
Ashley: I see in the notes on the account they placed 10,000 points.
you: for the spending? or something else?
Ashley: I do not see anything else. Did you speak to customer service and they offered this to you?
you: yes
Ashley: I will need to get you over to them and they can assist you.
you: he mentioned 10,000 points without any spending requirement, then extra 5000 after another $2K spend
you: sure
Ashley: They do these incentives and they can assist you.
Ashley: One moment please.
Please wait while I transfer the chat to the appropriate group.

You are now chatting with Harry.
Harry: Hi, welcome to American Express Chat. My name is Harry. How can I help you today?
you: Greetings, Harry.
you: I am trying to receive confirmation 10,000 points without any spending requirement, then extra 5000 after another $2K spend
Harry: Let me check that for you.
you: My Premier Gold card is about to be renewed. I called last week and verbally accepted the offer on the phone
you:  there is no email or letter confirmatoin
Harry: Please give me a moment while I review the account.
you: sure
Harry: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.
you: no problem
Harry: Patrick, I see that you were offered 10000 Membership rewards points.
you: yes. which does not require any spending
you: then additional 5000 for spending $2000 in two months
Harry: Yes, It does not require any spending.
you: and the 5000 points for $2K spending is also true?
Harry: Let me check that too..
Harry: I do not see that offer on your account.
Harry: You can call our retention team at the number at the back of your card to check the status of the offer. If this was promised to you by the Retention team.
you: I am going to call now

I called AMEX Customer Service 1-800-327-2177 who transferred my call to their retention team right away at my request.  For 20 minutes discussion the retention rep said she saw NO retention offer for my card, and eerily enough kept mentioning to spend $30,000 for the first year to earn 15,000 Membership Reward bonus points.  She was definitely not the right person to ask.  I do not think AMEX rep intentionally rip me off.  I would call again next week to test the consistency of AMEX retention guidelines.   I do not mind canceling the card.

Did I hear it incorrectly when the first AMEX rep offered me 15,000 AMEX Membership Reward points?  I verbally repeated over the phone the offering terms which the AMEX rep confirmed.

Weird ...  This experience shows that unless retention bonus is in writing, email or letter, there is always risks.  If at least two AMEX retention reps at two different times confirm any bonus, ask them to note the bonus in your card account record.

Update: September 3, 2014

It looks like my AMEX account received 10,000 MR points on August 26, 2014.  The bonus points are not free, because the card renewal fee is $175.  I will call to find out what happens to the 5k points offer.

Update: October 15, 2014

5,000 MR points has arrived.

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