One of the unfortunate truths when using credit cards to earn points and miles is that you’re going to eventually have to deal with the banks to sort out a problem. It doesn’t matter if it’s an issue of your account getting hacked, trying to get a retention offer for a card or if they’re asking for more information before approving your application, it means having to talk with one of their representatives. For me, that also means I have to decide if the problem I’m trying to resolve is worth having Sharon get on the phone with a bank (Note from Sharon: I’m really not a telephone person. Even less so when it’s a “professional” call)
This situation happened during my two-week work assignment in New York. I was staying at the Hampton Inn near JFK with the rest of our team. The Hilton JFK hotel is right next door and has a restaurant and bar that’s open late. Perfect place to get together to review that day’s work and plan for tomorrow.
One nice thing about eating at a hotel restaurant is the staff has no problem with eight different checks. So imagine what happens when the cards for seven of those checks go through without a problem and one of them is rejected for possible fraud.
Now, this is an establishment in a hotel. The charge goes through as “Hilton JFK.” It’s also somewhere we’ve all been eating at for the last week and no one’s had a problem.
Our cards were issued by Bank of America and they have an app that’s solely for managing your corporate pre-paid card. Logging into the app showed a charge denied for possible fraud and that the card has been deactivated. Going to the website and clicking through several screens eventually lets you say that this charge was actually you.
So what happens when you have them run the card again after you just reactivated it? It rejects again.
This same situation played out for four different members of my team over our two weeks. None of them happened on the same day and we were all using our cards at the same location for the entire trip. Why Bank of America’s computers decided that using a corporate card at a hotel restaurant would be suspicious is a mystery to me. Why they were unable to unlock the card and enable it to be used after confirming the charge is even more baffling.
In all, it just leads me to back to the same question.
Why do banks make things so difficult?
There’s nothing we can do as consumers to combat this problem. I guess we could stop dealing with a bank if they cause too many problems but that wasn’t even a choice in this instance as the card wasn’t mine.
I’m more in the camp of dealing with these problems is necessary if I want to use credit cards to earn points and miles. I could avoid most of these issues if I only had one card and didn’t care about the points but that’s not something I’m going to do.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary