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I have a Hilton Hhonors AMEX card and I put most of my spending on it. Last month, I bought an ASUS HD1000HD netbook from Best Buy in Honolulu for a total of $366.48 (taxes included). The price was $349.99 before tax, and was on sale. Last night, I checked out the Best Buy website and saw the computer was now selling for $329.99, as an outlet item. However, the computer is available at my local (Seattle-area) Best Best store. Obviously, I was interested in getting a price match if possible. It's too late with Best Buy, but there's always AMEX--maybe.

I know that AMEX no longer has a price match program. Instead, they have what is called "Return Protection", which gives 90 days to return an item you decide you don't want. Computers would be covered. The problem here is that I would have to send the computer to AMEX and pay the shipping charges, and the maximum reimbursement is limited to $300. Obviously, a price match would make more sense for me. I like the netbook (except for the battery life) and would prefer to keep it.

When I called AMEX, the rep gave me the straight party line--I have to return it, and all I would get is $300. That doesn't make much sense to me. What would they do with a used computer? They would save more money if they just gave me the $20 price difference.

I've read that AMEX essentially provided a price match for customers who bought Apple iPhones after they were substantially reduced in price. This action is not specifically covered by the Return Protection, so obviously, a policy exception was made. I mentioned this to the AMEX rep and got an essentially "so what?" response. I wonder if I could convince them to make an exception in my case when I submit the paperwork, especially given my heavy use of the AMEX card.

As far as my spending goes, I spent $27,000 on AMEX charges in 2008, which qualifies me for Hilton Gold status. I do enjoy being a Hilton Gold because I've received a lot of perks (upgraded rooms, free breakfasts, executive lounge--all in Europe, worth a ton of money). However, I am a convenience user (I pay off the balance each month), so not a really good moneymaker for AMEX.

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This isn't a feature of your AMEX. They phased out "Best Value Guarantee" many years ago. Time to just move on and eat the $20 loss.

$27k also isn't that "heavy" as far as AMEX is concerned. I spend over 5 times that and they still don't bend the rules for me.

You could always threaten to cancel, but I doubt it will do any good. Most likely, they'll retaliate by lowering your credit line to $500 and flagging your account for Financial Review.



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