Hey Chase, where are those 20,000 points you promised?

When Chelsea Kaufman signs up for a Chase credit card, it offers her 60,000 points if she spends $2,000 within the first three months. Why did it only give her 40,000 points?

Question: This summer, I started researching airline credit cards, since my boyfriend is moving to San Francisco from Los Angeles for grad school and I’ll be traveling a lot to see him. I was interested in the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa credit card, since Southwest has a lot of flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco. When I saw that they were having a “60,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months” offer, I pulled the trigger.

I even took a screenshot of the offer page so I could show my boyfriend. I spent the $2,000 on the card within the first month of having it, but for some reason only received 40,000 bonus miles.

The card is through Chase bank, so I called them to inquire. They essentially told me that they weren’t aware of any 60,000 bonus point offer having existed, yet I’m staring at the screenshot I took with the offer spelled out. I even spoke with a supervisor and offered to send the screenshot multiple times. All she did was keep me on hold for a long time before telling me she would pass the inquiry on to their marketing team for review and someone would give me a call within seven days.

I would like Chase to resolve this for me by issuing another 20,000 points to my Southwest account, to bring the total bonus points to the original 60,000 that was offered when I applied for the card. — Chelsea Kaufman, Los Angeles

Answer: As you probably know, I’m a frequent critic of loyalty programs. But in your situation, where you plan to fly often from Los Angeles to San Francisco, participating in a loyalty program looks like a good idea. After all, you’ll be flying anyway — why not reap the rewards?

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There’s one thing about your story that I have a problem with. You said you spent $2,000 on the card in an effort to collect your 60,000 points. That’s wrong. You want to be able to say, “I’m going to spend $2,000 anyway, so I might as well get the points for it.” I followed up with you after this case was resolved, and you assured me you would have spent the two grand, anyway.

With most companies, the loyalty doesn’t go both ways. You’re loyal to it, but it doesn’t really reciprocate. But when you spend $2,000 just for the points, you are engaging in an activity that only benefits the company over the long term. Take this “anything-for-the-miles” approach, and next thing you’ll know, you’re on one of those mileage hacking sites, looking for new ways to manufacture more spending in order to collect points. You don’t want to go there.

Still, if Chase promised you 60,000 points, it should send them to you. Nice work keeping screen shots, by the way. It suggests to me that you either suspected the offer was a little too good to be true (it wasn’t) or you didn’t trust Chase (with good reason, it turns out).

But what happened after that? You got on the phone, which is exactly what the company wants you to do. It can record every conversation, but you have no record of it. That’s not quite fair. You should have put your complaint in writing, and if Chase ignored it, appealed to someone higher up the corporate ladder. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of Chase’s executives on my consumer advocacy site.

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I contacted Chase on your behalf. It credited your account with the 20,000 miles, as promised.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org.

  • SirWIred

    Total fail on Chase’s part. This should have been easily fixable by a supervisor when the screenshot showing the offer was sent in.

  • MarkKelling

    While I have nothing against multiple simultaneous offers for various rewards on credit cards, there just seem to be too many complaints lately about people signing up for one offer but then being placed into an offer that is less rewarding. There needs to be better accounting on the card issuer side. At least a confirmation stating exactly what the reward will be and what it takes to receive the total offer when signup is completed beyond the current “We will let you know if you are accepted” which seems to be the industry standard.

    I have received 4 different offers for a United card in the past 10 days and they are all for the same card. One offers 60,000 miles. One offers 40,000 mile plus $50 statement credit with a spending of at lest $3,000 in 90 days. One offers immediate Silver status in the frequent flyer program. Final one I got yesterday was 50,000 miles no annual fee for 2 years and Silver status with $2,500 in purchases within 90 days. All say you may be approved for a lower level card depending on credit rating. All take you to the same website. So how do you know which one you are actually applying for?

  • The Original Joe S

    UNTIED? Don’t believe them! Ask any one of their workers about their retirement plan…………..

  • The Original Joe S

    I didn’t see if the OP sent in the screen shot – the dirtbags at UNTIED probably wouldn’t let that happen.

    Loyalty with UNTIED is like loyalty at Benghazi – look at what you get…..

    It can record every conversation, but you have no record of it. FREE SOUND RECORDER!! Record EVERY conversation with dirtbags. Ask the name, and state the date time for posterity. Let them try to deny……….

  • RichardII

    It was SWA, not United, and this really has nothing to do with Bengazi. Why assume malintent when the problem can be explained by simple incompetence?

  • Noah Kimmel

    I agree there is a lot of confusion here for many customers. And if true, the OP should have their issue quickly resolved. Typically you see the offer twice during the process, and you should always call or message to confirm it is correct.

    However, my suspicion is that it isn’t the issuers accounting poorly. More likely, it is customers who saw an offer on one site, then apply later through another link on another site not realizing the offer is tied to the link not to them specifically. Or, those who see a better offer after applying and try to swap. I have signed up for tons of cards, and I keep track of links and screenshots just in case, but I have never had a problem. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but being diligent is half the battle.

  • The Original Joe S

    Bengazi: Loyalty downward. It’s an allusion to illustrate a point. If you don’t understand, I can’t explain it to you.

    SWA and not Untied. I must have been confused with another story. That’s when happens when one gets older and meets his new friend, Al Zeimer……. However, I like bashing UNTIED because they almost daily do something stupid to deserve denigration…..

    I assume mal-intent because I don’t believe in coincidences….

  • bayareascott

    Credit card offers (even branded) are solely from the bank, not the airline/hotel, etc.

  • The Original Joe S

    If there’s an offer for miles, who is offering it? Bank can offer miles w/o permission of airline? What’s your point?

  • bayareascott

    My point is you commented against the airline in a reply to credit card offers. My point is the airline is not the one creating the offers.

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