While I generally used to love American Express, over the past year or so they have become an unreliable bank with mediocre card options and limited transfer partners. A few years ago, I told everyone that AMEX is the best due to the vast transfer partners, amazing signup offers, and generous cards. While some of that still exists today, the customer service American Express is providing is rapidly declining. In my eyes, the one area where AMEX continues to shine are the Centurion Lounges – that’s mainly why I still keep my Platinum Card.
As of yesterday, I’m really disappointed in AMEX and I feel like now they’re a faceless corporation that doesn’t give a damn about anyone anymore. It isn’t just AMEX that has disappointed me over the past few months – but also other banks, too. Anyway, one of my very close friends yesterday forwards me an email she received from American Express which stated something along the lines of:
“We’ve cancelled your card account and we are writing to let you know so that there aren’t any surprises when you try to use your card.”
She got this same email 5 times for all of her credit and charge cards – meaning they were all cancelled. Naturally, she called AMEX as soon as she could because the email didn’t explain why, and she was instantly connected to the worthless Financial Review department (a.k.a the rudest, most unreliable, and incompetent agents ever). She was told to call back later because her “account manager” was on another call. WTF?! Not only were her cards cancelled overnight.. now she has to wait to find out why? What kind of bank does this? Apparently only one agent works your “case” and you can only speak to them.
When she finally got connected to her account manager, the manager rudely (in a very threatening voice) informed her that she cancelled all of her cards because she was using PayPal to pay someone that AMEX believed my friend knows personally. Basically, American Express was telling her that she is manufacturing spend and the other person is paying her back. My friend sent one payment of around $500 to someone she agreed to buy a piece of furniture from (a friend of a friend) and yes, she knows the person she bought the item from personally but under no circumstance did they pay her the cash back. What the absolute F#$k, AMEX?
The manager went to further “explain” to her that this was illegal (it isn’t) and that she would have “problems” with other banks. I wasn’t on the call so I can’t confirm exactly how the call went, but I trust my friend 100% and when she called me crying this morning about what happened she more or less told me what I’m writing. What kind of bank closes all cards overnight because they suspect something without even verifying it first? Look, I understand if it were to trigger a Financial Review… but an overnight cancellation? You’ve got to be kidding me. My friend asked if there was anyway to re-open the cards and explained what the $500 purchase was for… but guess what the AMEX agent did? Said “no” and hung up!
My first instinct was to tell my friend to call Membership Rewards and transfer all of her 300k+ points. Thankfully, she was able to do that… but oh my god. I’ve lost my trust in American Express completely now – cancelling all cards of someone who sent one payment via PayPal for something she reasonably purchased is ridiculous. Do you really think she would manufacture spend through PayPal at a rate of 3% in fees? I don’t think so – and it was one, single transaction!
All in all, no bank is like it was a few years ago. All of these restrictions on signup bonuses, accounts being cancelled overnight, and reduced redemption availability makes me sad as it is harder than before to earn and burn miles.
Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!