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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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  • nick says:

    Hi All
    I spoke to Amex, who at first refused to accept the information I gave them re the HFP email about the problem. I asked to speak to a manager and was put through to the duty manager who understood the issue and delved into it and found the reason for the non payment of £45. The code that was attached to the payment has a different code attached to it from the Economist for the two methods of applying.
    I sent her the HFP article and she passed it on to the marketing team for action.
    I told her they would be deluged in complaints from HFP readers all complaining about this and she said she understood this, as she was a HFP reader herself!

    As a result it has now been sorted!…Happy to help!!

  • Chris H says:

    I wonder if the change of heart was because so many people, like myself, jumped ship. If no one had asked for a refund, maybe nothing would have happened????

  • Nathan says:

    is ‘new customers only’ applied strictly?

    • KBuffett says:

      Surely you have numerous email addresses and variations on how you present your name?

      • Nathan says:

        True. But I only have one company and one registered address.

  • Rob says:

    I had a similar problem with Dropbox. For some reason, my Dropbox account is charged in USD. When I asked Amex why the cash back didn’t arrive they said because the transaction wasn’t “settled in GBP”. I pointed out that it was as I’d paid their currency conversion fee and it was showing on my card in GBP. They gave me the cash back “as a gesture of good will” – but it did leave me with a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

  • SammyJ says:

    I’m trying to subscribe now but I fill in my name and address, click continue, and instead of a box to enter payment details appearing it just says “we’re sorry, we were unable to process your order online’.
    Is this now dead or is something up?

    • meta says:

      I am receiving that message today. I’ll try on Monday.

    • Gavin says:

      Works fine for me, signed up after reading your comment.

      • meta says:

        Nope still doesn’t work. It says there is a technical error and to contact them to subscribe. I tried several browsers and also incognito modes. Doesn’t work.

  • Ancient says:

    Update for anyone interested…

    I chatted with Amex CS on the app and they confirmed that my card was enrolled, transaction was processed and they are crediting the account today.

  • SammyJ says:

    Left it a week to see if it sorted out, and tried again – still getting the same error message that they are unable to process my order. Tried a few browsers and still nothing. Wonder what’s gone wrong, if it’s working for some?

  • AndyS says:

    Quick question about cancelling – my welcome email was that the terms state I must maintain subscription for “at least one year” – therefore it seems it will be impossible not to have to pay for a second as I expect they take payment a week or so early. Any advice as it’s not such a good deal paying for 2 years…

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

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