Update 8/24/20: When writing this post a few months ago, I noted that I was receiving $20 back from Amex each month for my Google Fi bill, except it was coming out of my streaming credit rather than my wireless credit.
That changed recently as both last month’s and this month’s $20 credits have been deducted from my wireless credit. That’s great news as it means I can move back a couple of streaming services to my Amex Platinum as I’ll now be able to use the $20 streaming credit for those each month.
If you were in a similar scenario a few months ago, it’s worth checking your statements again in case Google Fi is coding correctly as a wireless bill for you now as well.
American Express recently added a couple of new credits on Platinum cards – $20 per month for wireless credits and $20 per month for streaming services.
When these were first introduced, there was speculation that it wouldn’t work for Google Fi service due to the way that codes with Amex. We now have some data points that the statement credits are triggered when paying for Google Fi, but it doesn’t necessarily work in the way that you might expect.
My wife and I have an Unlimited plan with Google Fi and I figured it was worth changing our payment method to my Amex Schwab Platinum card just in case we did end up getting the $20 statement credit each month for the rest of the year.
When checking my account, I did indeed get $20 back from Amex, but it wasn’t for the reason I expected.
As you can see, rather than getting $20 back from the wireless credit, Amex used the streaming credit instead.
What’s even more strange is that this isn’t happening across the board. Tom shared in the Frequent Miler Insiders group that he’d received a $20 credit for his Google Fi payment, except for him Amex assigned it as a wireless credit rather than streaming.
It’s not clear why the credits are being processed differently, although there are a few possible reasons.
The most likely reason is that Google Fi processes payments in different ways for (seemingly) no discernible reason. For example, I used to pay with my Chase Ink Plus card to try and earn 5x. That sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. When looking at the activity on my account, it sometimes coded as ‘Bills & Utilities’ and other times as ‘Entertainment’.
An alternative reason might be the type of Google Fi plan you’re on. I’m not sure what kind of plan Tom is on, but I’m on an Unlimited plan. If he’s on a Flexible plan, maybe that affects how it codes.
Another potential reason is that Tom has an Amex Business Platinum account and I have a personal Schwab Platinum card, so perhaps the difference between business and personal cards accounts for the difference.
Out of those three possible options, I think the most likely reason is the first one. If Tom’s payment coded as the equivalent of ‘Bills & Utilities’ with Amex, that would explain why he received the $20 as a wireless credit. If my payment coded as the equivalent of ‘Entertainment’, that would explain why my streaming credit was used. Having said that, the transaction on my account shows up as ‘Business Services – Internet Services’, so who knows.
The fact that they’ve used my $20 streaming credit is disappointing though because I’d moved our Spotify and Netflix payments to the same card so that the $20 streaming credit could be assigned to payment for those services. I’ll keep things as they are for now just in case Amex suddenly decides to use my wireless credits on future payments. If not, we’ll go back to my wife’s Ink Business Preferred card for 3x along with the cell phone insurance that comes on that card.