Caution: AT&T might not be working for Amex wireless credits

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Update: Reader Goosh reports that a payment made through the AT&T app worked. They also report that AT&T was able to refund the original charge. If you’ve had a payment through the website that coded as CONNECTECH, it might be worth trying an app payment instead.

We’ve had a number of reports in our Frequent Miler Insiders group that AT&T has recently made some back end change to how they process charges for online partial bill payments. Unfortunately, the way payments are coding seems to be preventing them from triggering the Amex wireless reimbursements on qualifying cards. If you are an AT&T Wireless customer, you may want to hold off until later in the month to make a qualifying June payment to see how this shakes out.

A number of Amex business credit cards are offering monthly credits of $10-$20 for paying for wireless services (enrollment required, see more detail here). Many readers have made partial payments on their wireless bills in order to trigger these credits. Reimbursement is automatic and typically happens within a few days of making the charge. For example, here is a recent $15 payment I made on my T-Mobile bill and the associated reimbursement.

AT&T charges have long coded as coming from AT&T Mobility. However, this month, charges are not posting coded as AT&T Mobility but instead as “CONNECTTECH STOREFRONT DALLAS TX”. The charge looks like it is coming from an AT&T Store in Dallas.

Unfortunately, several readers have reported that with this new coding, they have not received wireless reimbursements this month. Another reader reports that an Amex chat representative has said that this merchant (CONNECTECH) is not classified as a wireless services provider but rather as “Communication” and therefore is not eligible for the wireless credit (also note that those using a card that earns bonus points for wireless service providers are not receiving the category bonus with this change).

There are additional data points on Flyertalk reporting the same problem.

This is obviously some sort of glitch in the way that AT&T is processing payments and there will undoubtedly be many unhappy customers over this change. When I first saw these reports earlier this week, I thought to myself that we sometimes see a bottleneck in the processing of Amex reimbursements and I assumed that perhaps people were panicking too soon. However, since the charges from CONNECTECH are not triggering additional points from the wireless services bonus category on cards that ordinarily bonus AT&T charges, I think that this is indeed a problem that will prevent the credits from posting automatically for the time being.

I have to imagine that this isn’t what Amex or AT&T intended and it will likely get resolved, but if you are an AT&T customer I’d recommend waiting until later this month before making a payment and/or finding a way to use the credit with another cell service provider (perhaps making a partial payment on a family member’s T-Mobile or Verizon bill) until this gets resolved. That will surely be inconvenient for someone with multiple cards carrying monthly credits, but less inconvenient than not receiving any of the associated credits.

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