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Amex confirms it WILL pay £45 cashback on Economist subscriptions via the Avios offer

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Last week we covered a new offer from Avios and The Economist magazine, which allowed you to earn up to 18,000 Avios for taking out a subscription.

Many of you took up our suggestion that this offer was a good deal when combined with the £45 cashback which American Express has offered to many cardholders.

If you put the two offers together, you were getting 52 weeks of The Economist and 15,000 to 18,000 Avios for an average of around 0.9p per point.

The cashback never turned up, however.

A few readers called American Express to chase up their £45.

They were all given the same story which I had never heard before in years of covering Amex offers. The cashback wasn’t going to be paid because they hadn’t applied via the link in the T&C’s to the Amex offer.

This sounded like nonsense to me.

This has never, ever, been a problem for American Express cashback offers in the past. Whilst a website link is often provided, it isn’t necessary to use it.

With the Dell cashback offers on the Business cards, for example, you are encouraged to click through to In truth, the cashback appears irrespective of whether you use the Dell consumer site, the trade site or Dell Outlet.

It is also worth noting that the offer terms do NOT say that you must access the The Economist website via the link in the offer rules. It simply says ‘Available online at:’ and then gives the URL.

This is no different to how, when HfP reviews an aviation book, we say ‘Available online at Amazon’ and then give our affiliate link. I doubt any reader would assume that it wasn’t available at any other bookshop, online or physical.

As I wrote in our article yesterday, “I am tempted to believe that this is human error rather than Amex policy.”

It turns out I was correct

American Express has been in touch this morning with a statement which implies that it was, after all, human error.

It seems that there had never been any intention to restrict the cashback only to those who used the link in the Amex T&Cs. It isn’t clear why the call centre was telling people otherwise.

Amex told me in a statement:

“The issue is now fully rectified. All affected Cardmembers will receive their credits over the next 5 days. Should a Cardmember not see the remediated credit, they should contact our customer services team who will re-issue the credit.”

What happens if I cancelled my subscription already?

I don’t know.

In theory, you can reapply but I don’t know if you would get the Avios or not. Have you broken some ‘new subscriber’ rule by applying and cancelling last week? You WILL receive the £45 from American Express.

If you didn’t take part in the offer last week ….

The good news for anyone who didn’t get around to applying yet is that you can now be 100% confident that you will receive the 15,000 – 18,000 Avios and the £45 American Express cashback.

Our original Avios / Economist article here has full details of how to apply.

Comments (43)

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  • Peter K says:

    What a mess.

  • Phil says:

    Was just about to cancel just now… I’ll hold off a week.

  • steve says:

    Frustrating for those of us that contacted Amex, were given less-than-stellar customer service (in my case, accusing me of retrospectively saving the offer) and ended up cancelling the subscription for a PARTIAL refund (for fear of the Avios positing and the transaction becoming non-refundable). What about the amount that I won’t be refunded for the week of Economist (not to mention my time)?

    Another thing to watch out for is that, because I subscribed early in the day (sometime between 6 and 7), it registered in Amex’s system as being the previous day. So it looked to Amex like I had subscribed on one day and then registered for the offer the following day (whereas I registered for the offer, then promptly subscribed). Probably best to save the offer to your card (if indeed you ever bother again), and then wait a day or two to use it.

    I think it’s fair to assume that I won’t be eligible for any Economist new subscriber offers (through any channel) for a while now. A shame because I do actually like the Economist (I subscribed for many years) but can only really justify it when there’s an offer running.

    • Rhys says:

      Yes, very frustrating. Are you able to call the Economist and ask them to re-instate your subscription and explain the situation?

    • Harry T says:

      You could have just calmed down and waited a bit for the offer to trigger? Sometimes the rebate takes a while and Amex usually ask you to wait up to 90 days.

      • meta says:

        There is a cooling off period of 14 days and more than 8 days have passed. To wait another 5-6 days would be very tight.

        I managed to get all the money back yesterday because I never activated account, just signed up so I argued that and they relented. I’ll sign up my partner now.

      • steve says:

        Yes, I could have. But the issue here is that as soon as the Avios are posted, whenever that might be, the transaction is non-refundable. At that point we are at the mercy of whatever Amex decides – and based on my conversations with multiple Amex agents, I did not get a good feeling that they would do the right thing.

        It’s a judgement call – and I called it wrong, yes. But there was also risk in not doing anything.

  • TGLoyalty says:

    1) why I said people were jumping the gun
    2) why I said I didn’t believe the call centre staff.

  • BSI1978 says:

    Just decided to take the plunge and the Amex confirmatory email arrived mere seconds after the charge was processed!

    Whatever fixes’ they have made appear to have worked.

  • DJ says:

    When can we expect to see the 15,000 avios in our British airways account? Thanks

  • SteveJ says:

    Does anyone have the Economist sub via Kindle? How well does it work? Was tempted to go print edition unless kindle works well

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Can we use one of these offers on kindle? That would be brilliant

      • SteveJ says:

        I was assuming that the digital subscription would work on Kindle, though have no experience of it, hopefully someone has!

  • Ben says:

    Interestingly, I got Amex confirmation before I’d actually clicked the “Confirm Purchase” button last step (this may have just been to confirm marketing preferences).

    Anyways, thanks for confirming: I’ve been after a good deal on the digital/audio sub for while out with the dog!

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