How I got 10,000 courtesy Starpoints from American Express

by Michael

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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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Mike May 9, 2016 - 11:28 am

never had to do this with Amex, but got 20k AA miles by using the Citi secure messaging system in a very similar situation. just tried to write in a friendly and appreciative tone, not demanding anything.

Michael May 9, 2016 - 12:01 pm

I’ve had similar success using your method for Citi and Chase, but never for AmEx, so keep this in mind if this ever happens to you with them!

DJ May 9, 2016 - 11:35 am

I was in the exact same situation with that card- after multiple calls, I was able to get 7000 courtesy points, but they wouldn’t give me the full 10K

Michael May 9, 2016 - 12:00 pm

Well, 7,000 is definitely better than zero, but that’s still a bit of a bummer that you couldn’t get the full 10,000. Maybe it depends on to which supervisor you speak, and maybe I got a little lucky that I got a good one.

SAN Greg May 9, 2016 - 12:32 pm

This is the way customer service is done! Chase should look at this and learn, as I had a similar situation with them recently. Last December I called Chase to confirm annual spend on my United Explorer Visa card, as I wanted to make sure I qualified for the 10k Mileage Plus bonus miles for $25k annual spend. $26k was the response.
After I didn’t see the miles post in January I called again and a representative confirmed that I had reached the spend requirement, but a week later I received a letter in the mail stating I had $24,600 in spend, so was not eligible.
Naturally I called back to see what the discretion was and the rep couldn’t do anything. Needless to say I canceled the card – and my wife did as well (with no effort at all from Chase to attempt customer retention). We feel a bit bad because as recent United 1k’s we are now much less inclined to support Oscar Munoz and team United’s drive to being the great airline it can be.


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