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Update 30 November 2020: iPhone App top-ups confirmed as still working
Since the beginning of May, the Platinum Card from American Express has been offering cardholders statement credits of up to $20/month for spending on select U.S. streaming services and for spending made directly with U.S. wireless telephone service providers. I have been diligently using up my statement credits every month, but one of the paths I was using to trigger the credit doesn’t seem to be working anymore…although the news is not as bad as I had feared.
On the face of things, there doesn’t appear to be anything particularly challenging about making the most of those new statement credits, but there are three things that I should point out:
- I’m seeing out the current pandemic outside of the United States (these credits are for US services only)
- I pay for my streaming services annually and I have no need for a new streaming service.
- Because I split my time between the US and the UK, I choose to use a UK wireless provider for my primary phone as it’s a considerably cheaper (and better) option than anything available in the US.
Using up the US wireless statement credit turned out to be easy. I have a T-Mobile pay-as-you-go phone that I keep for foreign guests visiting me in the US and it’s easy to top up a pay-as-you-go phone via the T-Mobile website. These top-ups have been triggering the Platinum Card’s monthly statement credit every month.
This isn’t the most economical use of the statement credit as the phone I keep for guests doesn’t cost very much to run and it’s going to have a very large credit by the time anyone gets around to using it, but it’s better than letting the statement credit go to waste.
Using the streaming service credit was harder and although I was tempted to take out a subscription to the relatively new HBO Max streaming service (and use up $14.99 of the $20 credit), when I discovered that Amex didn’t seem to be able to differentiate between a purchase through Apple TV+/Apple Music and a top-up of an account that could be used to fund those services, that’s the path I chose to take.
Up until now, I’ve been topping up an Apple account with $20 every month and triggering the Platinum Card’s streaming statement credit, effectively building up a healthy balance to pay my Apple Music annual subscription that’s due in December.
In October, however, something went wrong.
I almost forgot to use up my statement credits for October but with just 3 days left in the month, I topped up my T-Mobile account and, as usual, my online Apple account through the Apple App store on my Mac. The Wireless Phone Service Credit posted within two days but, for the first time, the Apple top-up never triggered the Platinum Card’s streaming service rebate.
After I wrote about this towards the beginning of November, TFM reader “PB” commented that he/she had topped up an Apple account using the iPhone App store in October and had successfully triggered the credit. So, this month, I decided to try using the iPhone App Store instead of the App Store on my Mac to see what would happen.
Well, I have to admit that I was skeptical but, following a top-up via my iPhone on November 24th, the credit posted to my account on November 27th – PB was 100% correct.
Now I’d like to know if my October credit didn’t post because of a glitch or because Amex has managed to shut down top-ups made via desktop devices but not top-ups made via mobile devices – if anyone has had recent success getting a credit for an Apple account top-up executed via a desktop application, please let me know. Thanks!
Don’t forget that today is the last day this month to earn the streaming and wireless credits – if you haven’t triggered them yet, now is the time.