As much as we may not want to admit it, clawbacks from American Express are now the norm. The weird thing about them in my opinion is how far back they reach. Generally speaking, if a company messes something up, they will not retroactively punish those that were able to take advantage of something. But American Express does not play that game, and this is another one of those instances.
A few different American Express cards offer an airline incidental credit. This credit is good for any airline fee other than the actual airfare itself. Typical fees would include baggage fees, upgrade fees, costs of food and/or drink on board a flight. There are a few other things that unofficially trigger the credit too though, and one of those would include airfare that is very cheap, to tune of less than $100.
What some people were able to do was to take advantage of the last one. People were able to buy a cheap ticket, get the airline incidental fee to cover the cost, and then cancel the flight and get a refund from the airline.
In theory, that would allow someone to get up to cover the airline incidental fee, which would bring the effective annual fee down on their American Express Gold, Platinum, or Hilton Aspire card.
As a response, American Express is now clawing back those airline incidental fees. If you happen to have closed the card since then, it’s very likely you will receive a bill in the mail from American Express.
I get it, people who did this took advantage of American Express and did so willingly. That being said, I just feel that if this happened to any other company out there, they would cough it up as a loss and move on. Instead, American Express is going back years, and even sending bills to people who may have closed the account years ago. I think that is a little overboard of a reaction.
However, I can’t say that I’m not surprised. It’s important to be incredibly careful with American Express in pretty much any aspect. What’s annoying is that while you and I reading this know to be careful with American Express, there are plenty of everything people that would do everyday things that American Express would deem risky such as buying gift cards.
Have you gotten a clawback from American Express on this? What did you realistically do? Let us know down in the comment section below!