American Express’ Rewards Abuse Team (RAT) has been on a war path lately. They have been clawing back rewards and closing accounts galore on many of their cardholders. Unfortunately, I too am now included in the group of those who were clawed back. This is the story of how I was clawed back by American Express, only increasing my frustrations with them.


What Happened?

The Purchase

In June 2019, I decided to use half of my Business Platinum Card’s $200 annual Dell credit because it was about to expire. My family needed a new printer and some ink, so I figured that would be a great way to use the credit.

I also saved an Amex Offer for Dell purchases a few weeks before I made the purchase. The offer let me save 10% on online purchases with Dell. I spent just under $100 on my Business Platinum Card, thereby using most of the credit. Plus, I stacked the Amex Offer to save an extra 10%. I was thrilled because I got to use the credit and save over $100.

I decided to close my Business Platinum Card in September when the annual fee came due and I decided that it was not worth paying. Plus, I was only getting one point per dollar for flights booked directly with the airline.

Clawed Back

Yesterday, I received an unexpected bill in the mail from American Express. I initially thought that it was for my Blue Cash Everyday Card. But I receive paperless statements for that card, so that was not it. I opened the envelope to find that I owed American Express just under $10 for the Dell Amex Offer from my old Business Platinum Card. That was when I knew that I had been clawed back.

In hindsight, I realized that my net spending was $0 on that purchase because the $100 Dell Credit was used for the entire purchase. Therefore, there is no reason why the Amex Offer should have been triggered. This is the reason why I clawed back, even though I closed my Business Platinum Card three months ago.


Final Draw

That is the story of how I was clawed back by American Express. My main takeaway is that you should always read the fine print, especially with American Express and how militant they are being as of late. Knowing the details of any offer, no matter how big or small, could change whether its worth taking or not. Amex is a great source of examples (and frustration) from their application rules to their earning and redemption rules.

I hope that I will not be clawed back even more, or that Amex closes my Blue Cash Everyday Card. Therefore, I would rather play it safe with Amex moving forward. Despite my frustrations with American Express, I want to maintain a healthy relationship with them. This is because they have excellent cards and many opportunities for travel.