Flights booked with AMEX points

I have been fortunate in being able to secure most of my international flights over the past 10+ years with points: United, AMEX or AVIOS. Have never had a problem until recently.

For my Tauck Morocco trip in November 2020, I booked business class tickets from NYC to Lisbon with United points (TAP Flights). The return flights from Morocco to NYC (via Lisbon) were booked with AMEX points. A month ago, I changed the trip from November 2020 to November 2021. I did not want to wait until Tauck cancelled because I was extremely limited in when I could go in 2021 and availability for 1 room/ 1 person was very limited. The Tauck rep could not have been kinder or more professional in making the switch. Even though the pricing was a bit higher, they did not request further deposits. The outgoing flights with United points were easily cancelled: points returned within minutes!! Not so easy with the returning flights! I have spent many hours on hold - only to have the calls disconnected. I have called AMEX multiple times without success. Even though I am a platinum card holder, AMEX will not intercede in helping me reschedule the flights, get vouchers for future TAP flights or refund my points. I keep calling to no avail. Currently there are NO flights between Morocco and Lisbon (the 1st leg of the trip) so I keep trying. I’m frustrated!! I am losing faith in AMEX points. Any suggestions??


  • Don't know anything about AMEX points but i do know that the return generally can't be booked until at least 11 months prior to the date.
    That is when the airlines generally put out their schedules. So, in your case, it will be at least until December when you can book a return.

  • I want resolution of the expenditure of the November 2020 points...going forward I will be reluctant to use the AMEX points.

  • edited August 2

    Amex have always given us wonderful service. When we found that our Qatar Flights for a tour had been cancelled, they helped us get a refund.... but that refund has still not come, that’s over two months ago. We just have to wait.
    Your difficulty is that you cancelled I think. Do you mean without success, that you could not get through, or without resolution? We can’t understand why they will not reimburse your points, have you given us all the facts? Was it a non refundable price?
    If we were you, we would not be wanting to book another flight for November 2021, you can’t anyway it’s at least six months too soon. Also, never ever be satisfied with a voucher for flights, the airline could go bankrupt or not have a flight available that you need. Vouchers really limit you going forward.
    I do wish people would understand that tours out of the US are very unlikely to go ahead in 2021, yes 2021!
    We won’t be booking any more tours until things change, not because of the virus, we personally feel confident that with our socially distancing and correct, very correct, Mask wearing, we are doing as much as we can to prevent getting the virus. It’s just that other countries are unlikely to allow Americans to enter them, our numbers are too terrible. We were out buying groceries in Costco this morning as soon as it opened. It’s law in PA to wear masks, law in Costco. There were some people wearing no masks at all. The checkout guy had his mask under his nose, Costco staff Must wear masks. As soon as he tried to handle our groceries, I told him not to touch them as he was not wearing his mask properly and also touching it right in the middle and then going to touch our food that we would have to handle. As long as our country is full of dumb people who don’t understood about contamination and hygiene, we are doomed, never mind thinking we might travel out of the country.

  • Nancy, just discussing with my hubby. Are you calling Amex or American Express TRAVEL? Maybe that is why you have to wait, or are being disconnected, call theTravel number.

  • Hi Nancy, I will try to be of assistance here, but feel free to PM me if you would like. I use AMEX platinum quite a bit, but have learned the limitations this year. I hope I understand your facts.The first question is whether you booked using the AMEX online portal and didn't use a platinum travel agent. If that's the case then you are transferred to I believe Expedia rather than the live platinum travel agents. If you look on tripadvisor there are pages of complaints in the AMEX thread about dealing with the online agents. Fortunately for me, AA started letting us deal directly with them even though it was booked through a travel agent and that made life simpler. I have found the live regular Platinum AMEX agents to be excellent, the Expedia ones not very good. By using AMEX points you are in essence paying for the ticket, the points are considered a payment method. Therefore, TAP views your reservation as a "cash" purchase. The next question is has TAP cancelled your flight yet? I don't believe they are issuing cash refunds if they haven't canceled the flight, so you may have to wait and see if they cancel it. Even if AMEX had been helpful here, they have to follow the airline ticket rules. If TAP has cancelled the flights, then under DOT rules they are supposed to refund your ticket within 7 days (very rare). If TAP cancelled then you should either file a complaint with the DOT or file a dispute with AMEX or both. I am in the middle of one with KLM, that I can share with you on PM. Good luck, I understand this is very frustrating on top of all of the other virus issues and disappointments we are all dealing with.

  • I have realized something else don’t get the points back, you get ‘cash back’ onto your Amex card

  • British: Regarding your comment "I do wish people would understand that tours out of the US are very unlikely to go ahead in 2021, yes 2021!"

    I know this is off subject from Nancy's question, however, I was just reading a story from "The Points Guy" site about a Norway Cruise Line, Hurtigruten’s Roald Amudsen, that experienced an outbreak of Covid on a recently completed 7 day cruise to Arctic’s wildlife-filled Svalbard archipelago last week. Now 36 crew members are reported ill and all 178 passengers from this cruise and 209 from the previous weeks cruise have to self-quarantine. They had started up operations in June in the wake of falling corona virus case counts across the continent. Hurtigruten had implemented a wide range of new health and safety measures on Roald Amundsen and the other ships it brought back into operation, including enhanced cleaning, added medical screenings for passengers and crew, and an end to buffets. All the vessels were operating at a sharply reduced capacity, below 50% of normal, to ensure social distancing. Just "food for thought" on this ever evolving Virus and future travel. I certainly hope 2021 will be better, but it appears that roadblocks continue even when you think the Virus may be slowing down in certain areas. This particular cruise was only for customer's from Select European Countries, not the US.

  • Taxare clarified my problem. I bought the tickets with AMEX points ONLINE: hence, Amex takes no responsibility. It becomes an issue between me and TAP airline. During my many conversations with Amex, they never mentioned Expedia. But when I called Platinum Travel, they looked at my records and said I must speak to the division that handles online transactions. It seems that I must wait it out - hoping that my flights are canceled. I believe a voucher is the best I can hope for. Lesson learned: NEVER use AMEX points for an online travel transaction. British, thanks for your interest and suggestions

  • Hope it all works out Nancy!

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