In the miles and points game, we’re always on the look out for new ways to generate points. Similarly, many in the hobby have found creative ways to generate points through credit card spend. Over the last few years, Amex’s RAT team has aggressively gone after and shut down customer accounts for ‘gaming activity’. However, Amex hasn’t clearly defined the term, leading to more confusion.  Doctor of Credit reports that Amex is sending out letters to customers that it’s clawing back points awarded to them after a recent promotional offer.

Amex Clawing Back Bonus Points

Post Covid-19, Amex made a slew of positive changes and revamped many of their cards. These limited time offers gave customers the ability to earn extra points or statement credits. Similarly, on the Aspire card, Amex offered a grocery store promo. With this promo, one could earn 12x points for each dollar spent at grocery stores between May 1 and July 31.

Amex’s most recent letter hints at the reason for clawing back those points. Customer data points indicate that these points could be clawed back for buying gift cards. Amex’s letter states the reason, which contains pretty common T&Cs that they also include with their credit card applications.

 Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of traveler’s checks, person-to-person payments, the purchase or reloading of prepaid cards, and purchases of other cash equivalents.

Moreover, I won’t be surprised if more customers end up losing points, even for legitimate purchases. A section of customers probably made a mix of genuine grocery purchases and gift card purchases. In this case, does Amex have the technological sophistication to separate the two and only claw back points partially?

The Pundit’s Mantra

In the end, Amex could well end up returning a few points back to customers who made legitimate purchases. I can understand Amex’s reasoning to crack down on ‘gaming’ activity, but if it ends up hurting customers who make genuine purchases, it’s a strategy that can quickly backfire.

On a personal note, I don’t usually indulge in manufactured spending. I spend enough on organic travel and other spend annually, helping me maintain a six figure balance in most of my loyalty accounts. Also, I don’t find it worth risking a shut down of my accounts from a major card issuer when I can generate enough points organically.

How did you utilize the Hilton Aspire 12x points promo? Did Amex award you the full points for your purchases? Tell us in the comments section.

Hat Tip to Doctor of Credit


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Disclosure: The Points Pundit receives NO compensation from credit card affiliate partnerships. Support the blog by applying for a card through my personal referral links. This article is meant for information purposes only and doesn’t constitute personal finance, health or investment advice. Please consult a licensed professional for advice pertaining to your situation.