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

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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

JW Marriott Grosvenor House £400 cashback

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.

Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (September 2021)

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 usually 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.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits 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 Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).

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)

  • Tom says:

    While I don’t disagree that maybe most of the first people to sign up to the offer where HfP readers, I didn’t read the article here until much later in the day, and I saved it on my card in the night. So it was still not gone in the morning by ~2000 HfP readers. Either they allowed more the 2000 cardholders to save the offer, or something doesn’t add up.

  • Mco says:

    I personally think Amex are not telling the truth. There were so many people who saved it the next day or later on in the evening. If the 2,000 had gone within a few hours how was this possible?

    Amex realise that this was a PR disaster for the Platinum card and are trying to cover their backs.

  • Paul says:

    Well my own experience was that I did not have the offer till that afternoon.

    I also got the £50 off £200 spend at Marriott via BAPP.

    I booked via Emyr and spent 3 nights at The Westbury last week on his 3 for 2 deal which included $100 of spend and free breakfast.

    On arrival I was upgraded to a suite, found a half bottle of wine in the room and was treated superbly by the staff.

    I ate 3 times in the Polo bar had a further £50 credit from the hotel as it took 20 minutes to get hot water onto the 6th floor.

    My bill ended just over £650 after discounts and Amex refunded £450 via the two deals ( the hotel happily allowed me to use different cards)

    As I was due to be in London and had 3 nights booked at Hilton this was a bargain.

    That said, the breakfast at the The Westbury was downright poor. Evening meals were passable but frankly should have been so much better at the prices they were charging. Cocktails were just bad at £16 a pop.

    Staff were faultless.

    It was such a pity the restaurant was closed

  • Olly says:

    There has been tons of occasions mentioned on HFP when people have had offers that I have not but I have never considered starting a petition which is tantamount to what a lot on here are doing. I don’t know how Amex did it, probably a logarithm or IT failure but it is what it is and if I was unhappy with the result I would vote with my feet if it was so important to my well-being. It seems to me there are a lot of prams with no rattles in them at the moment and to slag off Rob is disgraceful. Without HFP there would be a lot of people whose quality of life would not be so luxurious. Get a grip and have a look at yourselves will you.
    I would like to know if Amex/Marriott had plans to extend the promo due to lockdown but if I were them I would say “stuff ’em, no we won’t extend it as it is too much grief”

    • Harry T says:

      I think people are annoyed because it was essentially £400 of free money, if you were even semi inclined to stay at a luxury Marriott hotel. That’s a very different proposition to the usual offers that require a certain amount of discretionary expenditure to achieve a discount that rarely exceeds 30% of the cash outlay. So some platinum card holders were given what amounted to a rebate of the majority of their annual fee, whilst the rest have not received anything nearly as rewarding. Of course, Amex and Marriott probably couldn’t afford to give such a generous offer to all Plaitnum cardholders, but the implementation and targeting of the offer appears arbitrary. This explanation clearly doesn’t hit with numerous anecdotal evidence to the contrary, either. So a certain proportion of Amex Platinum customers have missed out on £400 and been given an explanation that arguably is insulting to their intelligence. I’m not criticising Rob because he ultimately can only publish what he has in writing – it would be ungentlemanly and risky to his reputation to disregard the official amex explanation and speculate based on reader reports.

      • Olly says:

        Harry , you may not have criticised Rob but there is criticism and as for the free money, all discoints are money but as a similar example when people were mentioning the Waitrose £100 offer, which s exactly the same, I didn’t get it first time round and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. Another time was £300 of Emirates or something I didn’t get, that was free money as I could have saved it on flying with them. That is life, and all targetting will mean winners and losers. It is not personal, probably a computer program based on location, spending habits and the like.

        • Mati says:

          I fully agree with you. I can’t stand people say it’s discrimination that they were not targeted. Am i being discriminated too? I didn’t get the offer but I’m no longer Platinum holder. I closed my card during the 1st lockdown and the only amex in my wallet is the premium BA. So, are they discriminating me because I’m paying less for the card?
          It sounds like people are insulting themselves by using such arguments like discrimination.

          Rob, perhaps we need more details about how the offer was spread around UK, there may have been more discrimination!

          Since I’m amex holder I’ve missed a lot of offers but i also managed to sing up to some which seemed very generous and i noticed them couple days/hours after other people claimed they disappeared. May have been number of reasons, IT, targeting, but i don’t care.

        • Harry T says:

          To be fair, I think all Plat cardholders were meant to get the £100 off Waitrose etc. My issue isn’t so much with only some members getting the offer, I was just trying to explain how some people might feel, and the issues with how it was marketed and targeted etc.

      • Rob says:

        Is it really £400 of free money if you live in London? I was treating it as £150 of free money (ie £250 for a room I don’t need plus £150 for a meal I do need) plus £50-worth of points.

        • Andrew says:

          Ok, £150 of free money then – when others got £0.

        • Sina says:

          I really don’t understand why people are so upset? I’ve got the Marriott offer but not two Waitrose ones or the Harrods. There were people having the waitrose offer on six cards 😅 I think everyone had one of these offers, and some lucky people had more. Also the option of cancelling the platinum and getting a refund is always there?! Amex is offering free gold to everyone?! Btw I saved the offer 6 AM i think, as soon as I saw it on HfP. And I appreciate all Rob is doing educating me on all things points. 🥳

      • Alan says:

        Good summary, Harry – well said.

  • Vit says:

    While plat card holders are going on about the missing £400 Marriott and £100 Harrods offers. I keep checking my offer tab to see if the 10%/7% Morrisons offer has shown up yet. 😅 Oh well, c’est la vie. 🤷🏾‍♂️

    • Alan says:

      Only seen a very small number mention having the Morrisons one so far.

  • Jay H says:

    I added at around 3PM

  • Alan S says:

    I didn’t recieve this offer and my renewal is up this month.

    Given it’s much harder to justify holding a platinum card in Scotland (some of the benefits are absolutely London centric) and travel is pretty much off the cards until well in 2021, I’ll need to have a discussion with them about the merits of me investing in continuing a membership/owning a card right now.

    We’ll see what if anything they do, because I did receive 30,000 MR back in April.

    • Harry T says:

      Yeah, the only time I’ve seen some of the shops mentioned in my amex offers is when I’ve visited London! However, Morrison’s, LNER, Waitrose etc offers can be useful.

      • Andrew says:

        And the only Harvey Nics store currently open is in Edinburgh 🙂

        • Olly says:

          I’ve not got Harvey Nichols offer!!!!!! How very unfair! I feel a strongly worded letter should be drafted to show how unhappy I am at the utter discrimination. Why haven’t I got it, it’s free money.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        The hotel offers offered around 25%

  • Tri87 says:

    You people are hilarious! The amount of uproar and entitlement is mind boggling – a freedom of information request??? Really? Questioning Rob’s position? Demanding retribution from Amex? Things just didn’t go your way – accept it and move on, feeling happy for someone else (do you know how to do that?).

    In a way I feel kind of sorry for the lives you must lead that something like this could have you all foaming at the mouth. I understand we’re all in the Covid world now, and our mental health is taking its toll – definitely no laughing matter and I myself feel it as well. Nevertheless I’m pretty certain you people were equally unbearable before the world changed into this.

    HFP reunion? I wouldn’t even want to be next to you on the tube!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I actually had 0 issue with no being targeted, you can go back and see my comments to the original article if want.

      However, while I wasn’t sour at all but I’m pissed off now because this ‘statement’ is complete BS, it insults my intelligence and is at complete odds with the course of events on the day.

    • Andrew says:

      I don’t take the tube – so you’ll be ok.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Andrew Ok it wasn’t you who took the tube, but my tube of smarties is not on the tree any more

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