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Middle Age Miles

Additional Data Point – How to Get Your 4x MR Points in Amex Gold Bonus Categories When Amex Only Gave You 1x

Amex Gold 4x Membership Rewards MR points US Supermarkets US Restaurants data point
Greenberg Smoked Turkey in Tyler, Texas, makes the best smoked turkey Middle Age Miles has ever eaten – and maybe the best domain name ever, too – www.gobblegobble.com!

Introduction

A few weeks ago, we published a well-received article, How to Get Your 4x MR Points for US Restaurants on Your Amex Gold Card When Amex Only Gave You 1x.

We recently went through the process again of requesting 4x Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points on a transaction on our Amex Gold personal card, where Amex only gave us 1x. It’s a slightly different situation, with a slightly different – but still successful – result. We wanted to be sure to share with our readers this additional successful data point, in hopes that it helps someone pick up some additional MR points to fund their travels.

Background and Details of the Data Point

Now, you may be wondering – Why did Middle Age Miles use a featured image of a delicious-looking smoked turkey in an article about credit card points? Well, for starters, Greenberg Smoked Turkey in Tyler, Texas, makes the best smoked turkey Middle Age Miles has ever eaten. Not to mention, it has maybe the best domain name ever, too – www.gobblegobble.com. [To be clear, we’re not compensated by Greenberg in any way – we just love their product and like to send their smoked turkeys as holiday gifts.]

But more to the point, we knew from our purchase of holiday turkeys in 2017 that charges from Greenberg Smoked Turkey coded as Groceries with Amex. Purchases from US Supermarkets earn 4x MR points on the Amex Gold personal card, so we decided to use our Amex Gold to pay for our holiday turkey gifts from Greenberg in December 2018.

Alas, however, our purchase from Greenberg did not earn 4x, despite again coding as Groceries.

Requesting and Receiving 4x MR Points

Our purchase from Greenberg was a decent-sized one, over $500. Thus, the difference between 4x MR points and 1x was a little over 1,600 MR points, worth about $25 to us. This may or may not have been worth the time and effort to request the additional points, especially given that the result would be uncertain. But the MR points are valuable to us, and we wanted the additional data point to share with Middle Age Miles readers, so we forged ahead.

From there, we followed the recipe that we’d set forth in our earlier article:

Step 1 – Identifying the Charges that Didn’t Earn 4x

The first step was to learn that the Greenberg transaction actually earned 1x MR points instead of 4x. We went to the Statements & Activity section of our online account, selected the statement that contained the Greenberg charge, and found this:

Note the coding category here – “Merchandise & Supplies – Groceries.”

We also had another charge on this same statement that served as a sanity-check – that we weren’t being crazy or unreasonable in expecting to earn 4x on our Greenberg purchase, or in pursuing the points after-the-fact. One week after our Greenberg charge, we had a charge from Albertsons (undoubtedly a US Supermarket) that coded exactly the same as the Greenberg charge, and correctly earned 4x MR points:

Step 2 – Contacting Amex and Asking for Additional MR Points

Just as we’d done before, we contacted Amex by Chat to ask them to issue us MR points to make up the difference. Again, we followed our own recommendation in exactly how to frame our request. We (1) identified the issue; (2) specifically identified the transaction, by date, merchant name and amount; (3) identified the total amount of charges and total number of MR points we believed were missing; and (4) nicely asked for courtesy MR points from Amex to make up the difference.

We initiated our Chat session on 2/8/2019. Here’s the Chat if you’d like to read the details:

As you can see, the Amex chat rep said that he successfully submitted a case to the Membership Rewards team, and I would hear from them in 3 to 5 days.

Step 3 – Watch Your MR Account for the Points (and perhaps get a call or two from Amex)

After the Chat session, I received a call from Amex 11 days later, on 2/19/19. I had added the Amex MR Team’s number (800-297-3276) to my Contacts, so this time I knew to pick up the call. The agent first summarized my request. There was actually some confusion as the Chat rep had submitted my claim for a US Restaurant rather than a US Supermarket. The agent said that Greenberg had coded as a “small shop” but she would reach out further to the merchant bonus team to see if the coding should be switched. I reminded her that Greenberg had coded as Groceries in the past and that I had relied on that in putting this large charge on my Amex Gold card. She promised a follow-up call by March 5.

On 3/5/19, I indeed received the follow-up call as promised. The agent said that Amex had reviewed the merchant Greenberg, and it would remain coded as a “specialty shop” and not a US Supermarket. She also said, though, that as a one-time exception, Amex would award me 1,637 MR points to make up the difference to me on this transaction. Success!

The “lawyer” part of me wanted to press harder on this – How in the world are we supposed to know that a merchant that codes as Groceries, exactly like Albertsons, won’t be earning 4x??? But my practical side quickly won out. I thanked the agent for the points and her time, and we ended the call.

The additional MR points appeared in my account same-day, as a Point adjustment:


This additional data point re-confirms our advice from the previous article. If you believe you’ve been shorted on 4x MR points-earning on your Amex Gold card, go through this process. It seems like there’s a good chance Amex will make you whole if you present a reasonable case for the extra points.

And then, use the extra MR points to help you go someplace fun and live your travel dreams!

Do you have additional data points about contacting Amex to get 4x MR points on Amex Gold purchases? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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4 thoughts on “Additional Data Point – How to Get Your 4x MR Points in Amex Gold Bonus Categories When Amex Only Gave You 1x

  1. George

    I’m not one to try to force these types of things, so if I’m planning to make a large purchase that (in my mind) ought to earn extra points, I first check their merchant directory.

    They show up as “Poultry Processing” there:

    https://www.americanexpress.com/en-US/maps?country=US&near=Tyler,TX&name=GREENBERG%20SMOKED%20TURKEYS&cl=32.3512601,-95.30106239999998

    Not sure how it was categorized prior to your issue. If the same, you’d have known ahead of time that it wouldn’t earn 4X; if Grocery, you’d have had one more piece of evidence to support your case if the call didn’t go your way.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi George – Many thanks for the comment and the good tip on using Amex Maps to help with these sorts of issues. I hadn’t considered using the map in this case because I had the coding from the Amex online system that clearly said “Groceries” for my 2017 purchase and again for the purchase at issue in 2018. Good point about not trying to force these things. In our situation, running a points-and-miles/travel blog, we like to experiment to explore the true boundaries and report back to our readers – all in hopes that it can help people earn more points in order to live their travel dreams. Thanks again for your thoughtful and helpful comment, and I hope you continue to enjoy Middle Age Miles! ~Craig

      1. George

        I’m sorry, I was a little brusque in my comment. I missed the 2017 DP, and naively considered the “forcing” as a recommendation.

        I agree with you on both points: what worked before ought to work again, and blogs like yours experiment for the sake of the community. I very much appreciate the latter, as a good chunk of my earnings has come from others taking risks I wouldn’t have taken myself.

        1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

          Thanks for the follow-up comment, George, and no need to apologize! We definitely appreciate the other bloggers and the commenters who share for the sake of the community, and we want to do our part to contribute. ~Craig

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