American Express - Promotion Promised but Not Delivered
Aeroplan Plus Card - Complaint
About a month ago I applied for and received an American Express credit card that had a promotion of obtaining 5,000 Aeroplan welcome miles upon first use of the card. I made my first transaction, waited a couple of business days for it to process and then checked my Aeroplan account. The miles did not show in my account, so I called American Express Customer Service for cardholders. The person I spoke with at American Express was unhelpful, rude, and dismissive and did not take any action to resolve the problem. She told me the 5,000 miles would be credited to my account upon the statement closing date, which she informed me was May 20th. I then asked her to confirm, that the miles would show in my Aeroplan account plus any I earned through my spending throughout the month on May 20th. She told me that was correct.
So you can imagine my surprise and disappointment when I checked my Aeroplan account on May 20th to see that the miles were not there. I called Amex again on May 21st and was told that they could see in the notes that I had reported the incident from when I made the first transaction and could also see that the person who “helped” me had not actioned the issue to be resolved. The person I was speaking to told me she could start the process of having the miles credited to me, but it would take a few days to process. As you can imagine I was beginning to get upset at the run-around about when I would be credited miles I was owed.
She transferred me to a supervisor who told me I would see the miles in 3-5 business days. I explained to the supervisor (a man named Mohammed and now the 4th person I was forced to repeat myself to) what I had been told the first time I spoke with a representative at Amex- that I was to receive the miles May 20th- and he told me he would look into the problem and call me back. I stressed the importance of his timely return call, and told him explicitly that I would be unhappy if I was forced to wait all day to hear from him as I really needed to book my flights today and finalize my trip as I plan to leave in roughly 2 weeks. That is cutting it close for booking flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. without facing sold-out situations. He assured me I would hear from him within the hour. Needless to say, it was 4:30 this afternoon before I heard from him again; my original call was placed at 10am that morning, so that was well over an hour to wait for his call. When he did finally get back to me I was basically told it was my tough luck but it would be 3-5 business days before the miles would be transferred into my Aeroplan account, and that there was nothing they could do.
I again stressed the importance of having the miles today, and told him very bluntly that I did not believe there was nothing to be done- that a company with their resources could find a way to make good on a promise they made me weeks ago. He proceeded to talk me in circles going over the workings of their computer systems (which as a customer, I could care less about) and how, again, I would have to “be patient” and wait for my miles. He also insinuated that the fault lay with Aeroplan’s systems and not Amex’s. I informed him that I didn’t buy that for a minute and the only reason I opened the card in the first place was to earn the Aeroplan miles which would give me just enough for a flight combined with my monthly spending, and that they were on the brink of losing a customer when this is all said and done. He blatantly disregarded me and what I said and truly showed no remorse at all for the situation, took no responsibility or ownership of the issue, and no caring whatsoever that he was driving away a new customer. Beyond frustrated at this point, I waited the 3-5 business days and checked my Aeroplan account again only to see that I had been credited with the miles I earned from my monthly spending, and 2,500 of the 5,000 welcome miles that were promised to me.
Yet again, I called Amex and asked to speak to a supervisor. Once again, I was passed on to this Mohammed, but I explained the situation- again- and was told that the miles had up to 6 weeks to be transferred to me and I would see them on my June 20th statement, which is well over the 6 weeks from when I opened the card in April. I pointed that out to him, told him of the promises made, read the terms and conditions back to him so he could see where the promise was not being upheld and received what amounts to a "forget you" in response. He actually admitted that the miles were being withheld for no reason, and told me it was their marketing department's fault. I asked to speak to someone in that department and was told no, that they did not speak to people and in fact did not even have a phone. (Really? An entire department with no phone? How stupid do these people think their customers are?).
At this point I was extremely angry and asked to speak to his boss. He told me his boss would call back within 48 hours. I told him that was unacceptable and that he was about to cost his company a customer and significant business, but he told me, essentially, tough luck. So I waited yet again. Yesterday, May 27th his "boss" (I am pretty sure it was actually still him) called me back and told me the same thing the supervisor said, but added on that I did not understand what they were telling me and that I did not understand the terms and conditions of the offer. At this point I was enraged and pointed out to him that not only did I understand perfectly, but that I work for one of his competitors and probably understand better than most, and even after having my own legal department look at the offer knew I was in the right and I was owed the miles now. I pointed out to him that since the miles cost them nothing and they have nothing to gain and everything to lose by withholding them that it was absolutely ridiculous to do so. He said there was physically nothing they could do to transfer me the miles before June 20th as they are done automatically by computer. I didn't accept that as an excuse- every computer program can be altered or overridden for exceptions and told him so.
He then told me that since they knew I was going to get the miles, Aeroplan could call them while I was on the phone booking my flight and Amex would verify the miles and Aeroplan could then book the flight. (I spoke to Aeroplan and they told me that was impossible- that the miles had to show in my Aeroplan account in order to use them. This is not surprising as this is the way it is supposed to work.) I told him that was not true and at this point ready to scream in frustration and anger told him that he had cost me my vacation as I had to push it back so many times and that he lost his company a customer. I further informed him that my family holds a number of Amex cards, including business cards, and our accounts range in the millions of dollars in spending every year. I gave him one more chance and asked him if he was sure he wanted to lose all that business, and also told him I would be reporting them here and on as many websites as I could and he basically said go ahead he didn't mind, but was sorry I felt that way.
The outcome of all of this is that I have to wait until June 20th to get miles I was hoping to use for a vacation in May. Amex certainly knows how to alienate people and has no concept of customer service. Thank God I don’t work for Amex, and can be rid of them from my life when I close my card.