Apparently I’ve purchased too many tickets lately

At least American Express seems to think so. They actually shut down my card for a few minutes yesterday while I was in the midst of booking a number of reward seats using my bmi account.

Yes, it is the first time I’ve actually spent money with bmi as it was the first time I actually redeemed some of my miles there. And, yes, it was three transactions over a two day period, covering four tickets of which none were in my name. So I cannot say that I really blame them. But it was somewhat awkward when the agent I was speaking to via Skype informed me that the transaction was denied. Fortunately my cell phone was ringing at the exact same moment – and I decided to take the call from an unknown number – with a call from the fraud department at AmEx. It was all touch-tone menus to get through and it only took a couple minutes to clear up the confusion, but it was definitely interesting.

As an added bonus, they were nice enough to send an email late yesterday with some additional details:

Dear Sir:

To protect our Cardmembers, we regularly monitor accounts for possible fraudulent activity.  On occasion, we contact our customers to verify certain charge attempts.  Please review the charge attempt(s) referenced below.  Please remember that some transactions, including those at gas stations, hotels and car rental merchants are pre-authorized before the final sale.  The amount shown below may not reflect the exact amount of your final transaction.

If we have already reached you and discussed the charge attempts below, please disregard this email, as the concerns have already been resolved.

04/30/10  $168  British Midland Airways

The charges all went through and the tickets have all been issued. And I’m only a little sad that they are all tickets for other people to use. I guess I’ll have to be a bit more cautious with bookings going forward, or at least make sure I answer the call when AmEx is trying to verify things.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.