Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What really happened (possibly) with the £400 American Express Platinum / Marriott offer

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

The recent offer of £400 credit for American Express Platinum cardholders to spend at eight UK luxury Marriott-managed hotels created quite a stir.

In particular, a lot of people who did not sign up for the offer have been complaining that they were discriminated against by Amex in not receiving it.

I have been doing some digging into the offer and how it was set up. The bottom line, for absolute clarity, is that I have been told that all Platinum cardholders had an equal opportunity to register.

American Express Amex Platinum card

This may or may not be correct but that is the official line. What may add to the confusion is that the Amex mobile app will often show fewer offers than the desktop site.

How the launch day panned out

First, some background. This offer launched on a unique day. I was leading with an exclusive story – that Tesco and Avios were splitting up. Then, prior to the stock market opening, IAG announced that Alex Cruz was stepping down as CEO and Chairman of British Airways.

These two stories meant that I was already at my computer at 6am, even though it was a school day and I had children to deposit. Even by 6am, a couple of (clearly insomniac) HfP readers had spotted the £400 Marriott offer on their Amex Platinum accounts and emailed me about it.

By 7.45am, all three stories were live on the site. It ended up being our biggest ever day, with almost 110,000 page views.

If it hadn’t been for the Tesco and Cruz stories, I wouldn’t have opened my laptop until at least 8.30am and things may have gone differently.

Who received the offer?

Amex and Marriott had a plan. The offer was meant to appear on ALL American Express Platinum and Centurion cards overnight, although in reality it dripped out across the morning. My own version only appeared about 10am.

The only exceptions were:

supplementary cards, and

cards where the cardholder had asked not to receive any marketing offers

What happened with registration?

As was clear in the offer terms, registration was limited to 2,000 people.

HfP has a disproportionately high number of Platinum-holding readers. We are a key third party channel for sales of The Platinum Card in the UK, and even if you didn’t apply via us, our reader profile is the sort for whom The Platinum Card is often a logical choice.

On a normal day, I would have popped up an article by 10am and it would have been modestly read. Our peak readership time is 8.45am to 9am and then people get down to some work. Registration slots may still have been available by the time the Amex email blast went out.

As it turned out, HfP was having a day like no other day due to the Tesco and Cruz news. The Marriott story was also pulling in its own traffic from our social media feeds.

Within a few hours, all 2,000 registrations had gone and the Marriott offer was automatically removed from the Amex system. People who tried to register after this did not see it.

Whilst there were probably a few exceptions, almost all 2,000 were HfP readers. How many other Platinum holders religiously check their card account for new offers before breakfast?

American Express and Marriott had to cancel their email blast. This may not have been a bad thing, since the offer would have filled up within minutes and many more people would have known that they had missed out.

So …. I am told that all Platinum and Centurion cardmembers were targeted with this offer. If you didn’t get to register, it is apparently simply bad luck that you did not read HfP in the window before all the slots were taken.

Had it been a normal news day, with the normal level of traffic to the site, it would have lasted longer – although the way it turned out meant that we maximised the number of readers who got in.

Of course, the big question now is whether readers can get to the participating hotels by 19th December when the offer is due to end. I believe that The Westbury, one of the eight UK hotels, is not reopening for some time, choosing to bring forward a refurbishment. I am still hoping to squeeze in a night and a decent meal by the 19th, if only to pick up 10,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (what a Platinum gets for spending £400 with the current promo) for the stay.

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2023)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card is doubled to 40,000 Bonvoy points – and you get a free night voucher too! Apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 bonus points and a free night voucher – only until 30th May! Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points (worth 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (172)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    there is an AMEX UK facebook group too and people are kicking off on it as well.

    • Andrew says:

      Oh that’s good. They really have made things so much worse for themselves by insulting our intelligence with the lies they put out today.

  • IslandDweller says:

    I am one of the 2,000 who managed to save the offer to my card. However, because of the English lockdown, my booking (at the Langley) has been cancelled. Given that the spend has to be complete by mid December, lockdown won’t end before 2 December, and very limited availability at places I’d like to stay, I don’t see myself being able to use this offer.

  • AlwaysreadHFPbeforebreakfast says:

    I managed to get this offer and booked into a Marriott for the 5th. Lets see if the plans go ahead

  • Chrisasaurus says:

    How many days ago were Marriott in a charm offensive with their Week of Mediocrity on hfp?

    The free £400 won’t have cost them anything like the 800k it logically could have done but still it will not prove to be good value…

    Needless to say, I didn’t get it – as indeed I haven’t had a single offer in over 18 months, including shop small etc.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Well Marriott will say you all know 8 of their hotels and they’ve had lots of page views.

      “There is no such thing as bad publicity“

  • marcw says:

    I’m just here for the comments. Great read.

    • Sloth says:

      Exactly, this whole thread is hilarious and the moaners and whiners are basically no different to Trump and how he is throwing his toys out of the pram.

      If you need the free Marriott/Harrods money to justify your plat fee then just cancel the plat card. It’s not rocket science

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.