With the (probable) upcoming merger between Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott, nobody really knows what will happen to the programs, the points, or award availability. It is common that every year around late summer, SPG raises the standard bonus on their American Express personal and business cards from 25,000 points up to 30,000 points. Not wanting to wait around to see what happens with the merger, and knowing I had some big expenses coming up in late March and April whereby I could easily meet the minimum spending requirement, I applied for the SPG personal card on March 2nd.
Literally the very next morning, I saw this:
Leaving 10,000 Starpoints on the table? Ouch.
This especially hurts due to American Express’ two relatively restrictive rules: 1) They won’t “match” the terms & conditions other offers; and 2) You only get a sign-up bonus once per lifetime. However, I knew there sometimes could be ways around this, and when this offer came out, the Doctor of Credit wrote a great piece on how to approach requesting a “match” of points in this type of situation.
I completed the spending requirement in April, and saw the 25,000 bonus points added to my account. At that point, I followed the Doctor of Credit’s recommendation to the letter, calling in and even using the term “courtesy points”, rather than asking for a “match” of the increased bonus. I politely spoke to the representative, explained the situation, and asked to speak with a supervisor, since I knew they had greater authority.
Upon being connected to a supervisor, it took no more than 90 seconds explaining my situation and application timing before he told me that he would add 10,000 courtesy Starpoints to my account immediately, and that I should see them within 72 hours. Indeed, my account now reflects the equivalent of the 35,000 Starpoint bonus.
Even though they won’t formally match other offers, it never hurts to ask. It certainly was worth ten minutes of my time to get 10,000 courtesy Starpoints from American Express. And remember that in these types of situations, you always get more flies with honey.
Have any of you had similar success with American Express in this regard?
Michael Prodanovich is a contributor to Point Me to the Plane, and author of The Ultimate Guide to Free Travel.