I'm surprised that it seems many of you have never heard of this. It's been posted in articles on different credit boards and blogs for well over two years. Here's a blog link below that discusses it, along with other interesting info. There's also a link in the article to a huge, detailed thread on CreditBoards from May 2007. This is very real and should be considered if you're interested in maximizing your credit relationship with banks like Amex, etc... Cheers.
Edit to add: This isn't just an Amex THANG....other big banks use this as well.
My first Amex purchase was made online for cigaretts. Never got them (guess the boat sank), and had to ask Amex to refund . . . which they did.
Never affected my relationship with them.