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Is the Amex BCP worth the annual fee?

Valued Contributor

Re: Is the Amex BCP worth the annual fee?

@longtimelurker wrote:

@Runitup wrote:

@longtimelurker wrote:

@Runitup wrote:
AMEX has all sorts of pie charts and data points that you can sort on their site to verify how charges are classified. Disco is a pita that way but not AMEX.

I am talking about the question e.g. :  "Will my $20 charge at supermarket X earn 6%" Many issuers will show the point value when the charge posts (online).  

It IS a pita to get this answered on Amex, especially as you have to wait to the following months statement.

I guess we're talking about two different things.  If you say "I don't know how AMEX will code this charge at a random grocery/hybrid store" (like Wal-Mart or Target), then yes, there can be a grey area there.  If you are saying that you have to wait until the statement cuts to find out if they classified a charge as grocery vs discount store, I would disagree with that.  I am looking at my current activity where a statment has not cut and all of my charges are classified as either "Merchandise & Supplies" and then there is a sub category called "Groceries" or "Transportation" with a sub category called "Fuel" and you you better believe I expect to get 6% and 3% back, respectively, for those categories.

I do believe that you expect ot get 6% and 3% back.   The issue is exactly that sometimes you don't.   In the WholeFoods example, it did show as grocery but people got one percent.   In my OBC example from last week, CVS coded as drug store, WholeFoods as grocery, but I got 1% on each despite having spent over the threshold.  Amex agreed and credited, it's just that the process isn't 100% reliable.  


And with other issuers, if it happens, it's easy to catch, I spend $X on a gas transaction last quarter with Freedom, and I can immediately see whether I got the right reward or not.    I CAN do this with Amex, but have to wait not just to statement cut, but to  the FOLLOWING statement cut.

Agree to this point.


I'm now in the process of a call with AMEX reps (someone called me from their customer service after I escalated the issue) that some of my PRG purchases that should get the 2X because of dining (or other relevant category like supermarket) isn't getting it. 


The AMEX purchase tracker shows the purchases as restaurant / dining / grocery etc. But AMEX doesn't give me points for those purchases. It's as if their coding system is clearly broken. The rep said it's about how merchants are coded. But in that case why would the purchase tracker show it as belonging to that category?


I'm no fan of churning (I am paying the AF on CSP and keeping it - it is valuable) but I don't feel the need to keep the PRG beyond its first year. 


When visiting a restaurant that won't take Discover, my first impulse is to use my CSP rather than my PRG. I value both UR and MR points the same - I'll transfer them to Singapore either way. But it's the uncertainty of PRG that's stopping me from doing that. 


Oh and Whole Foods ! The first time I used my BCE at my neighbourhood (also the first ever) Whole Foods it didn't code as grocery and the customer rep had the audacity to claim that Whole Foods is definitely not grocery. I copied and pasted their list of eligible supermarkets from AMEX website that incidentally included Whole Foods. Then, I got my cashback. 


Anyway, it's just a PITA with AMEX. Except with some companies like Priceline, Points selling companies like IHG Club etc., CSP is on track. So is Freedom, Sallie Mae, and Discover in general. 

Message 71 of 73
Valued Contributor

Re: Is the Amex BCP worth the annual fee?

What do you know!


Seems like AMEX concluded their "investigation" and awarded those missing PRG points.


Good job rectifying the error.


Hopefully I don't need to track points like a hound in future. 

Message 72 of 73
Established Contributor

Re: Is the Amex BCP worth the annual fee?

Amex can be irksome because they will refuse one Target store but pay rewards at another Target store. Has to do with Merchant coding. Be sure your grocery store is coded as Supermarket and not Superstore. 


Many of the discount grocery stores are strictly off limits per Amex, so while you're getting rewarded at regular grocery stores, but perhaps overpaying some at the same time. 

Message 73 of 73
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