Amex announces limited-time perks for select Amex Membership Rewards, Delta, Marriott and Hilton cards

May 1, 2020

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Many card benefits and earning categories aren’t all that useful in the current climate. After American Express began offering double points to international customers last week, we wondered what new benefits might be coming to U.S.-issued cards.

Well, American Express just announced limited-time promotions for some of its U.S.-issued consumer and business cards. Most of these new limited-time benefits and earning rates will start on May 1, 2020. The promotions vary based on card type, but generally focus on staying connected, dining at home, working and running a business remotely and supporting small businesses. In most cases, these limited-time benefits and earning rates complement existing card features.

Let’s take a look at the cards that have new limited-time promotions, as well as what these promotions may mean to cardholders.

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In This Post

The Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks (other versions of the Amex Platinum are also eligible):

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month) from May through December 2020.

Relevant existing perks:

  • $15 in Uber credits every month, plus a $20 bonus in December, which can be used for food delivery on UberEats.

Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

The Platinum Card from American Express has a massive $550 annual fee (see rates and fees). This annual fee can normally be justified by some travelers due to the card’s travel-focused benefits such as 5x Membership Rewards earning on select travel, up to $200 annual airline fee credit, up to $200 in Uber credits, and more.

The new limited-time perks can effectively put up to $320 back in your pocket if you already incur eligible expenses on a monthly basis. Plus, your monthly Uber credits can be used for food delivery on UberEats if you have Uber Eats in your area. For cardholders who will fully use these perks — along with the Amex Platinum’s other non-travel perks — these may provide enough value to justify keeping the card.

This being said, I would have preferred to see elevated earnings on select spending categories and/or other uses for the up to $200 airline fee credit. After all, many cardholders will struggle to use their annual airline fee credit this year and will earn just 1x Membership Rewards on all non-travel spending.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each) from May through December 2020
  • Up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell: $100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020, and up to $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Relevant existing perks:

  • 1.5x Membership Rewards on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year)
  • Up to $100 in statement credits between January and June and up to $100 in statement credits between July and December for U.S. purchases with Dell

Annual fee: $595 (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

As with the personal Amex Platinum Card, I would have preferred to see elevated earnings on select spending categories and/or alternate uses for the up to $200 airline fee credit. But the new statement credits present a substantial increase, with a total of up to $400 in Dell statements credits.

It’s a smart move to increase the Dell statement credits, as these are presumably already attractive and useful to Business Platinum cardholders. There are plenty of items that can be purchased using the Dell credit that can provide value to all types of cardholders. Plus, I suspect that many businesses will be able to take advantage of the monthly wireless telephone and shipping credits. So, these limited-time benefits — combined with existing perks — will likely be enough for many small businesses to still justify the Amex Business Platinum’s annual fee.

American Express® Green Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks:

  • Up to $80 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $10 per month) from May through December 2020

Relevant existing perks:

  • Earn 3x Membership Rewards on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery

Annual fee: $150 (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

The two statement credits normally offered by the American Express Green Card are both travel-related: up to $100 per calendar year for a Clear membership and up to $100 for lounge access through LoungeBuddy. Earning 3x on travel and transit isn’t useful for most cardholders currently, so the $80 statement credit for wireless telephone services is a welcome relief.

This being said, I would have liked to see Amex roll over unused LoungeBuddy credits to 2021 and either temporarily bump restaurant earning to 4x or add bonus earning on grocery purchases or meal prep kits. Even assuming you’ll fully use the $80 statement credit for wireless telephone services, that still leaves an effective $70 annual fee for travel benefits you’re not using. Some cardholders who got the card primarily for travel earning and benefits still may struggle to justify paying the annual fee.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: American Express Green Card review

Most Delta SkyMiles consumer cards

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express CardDelta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card are eligible.

New limited-time perks:

  • Earn 4x miles at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020

Relevant existing perks:

  • 2x miles on restaurants, including takeout and delivery for Delta Platinum Amex, Delta Gold Amex and Delta Blue Amex cardholders.

Annual fee: Delta Reserve Amex $550 (see rates and fees), Delta Platinum Amex $250 (see rates and fees), Delta Gold Amex $99, waived the first year (see rates and fees) and Delta Blue Amex $0 (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

Based on TPG’s valuation of Delta miles at 1.2 cents each, you’ll be getting an effective 4.8% return at U.S. supermarkets for three months. If you’re spending on the Delta Reserve Amex or Delta Platinum Amex to work toward elite status — or simply don’t have a card that earns bonus points at grocery stores — 4x at U.S. supermarkets may be a welcome perk.

Non-essential air travel will restart for different cardholders at different times. If you don’t expect to fly much this year and have one of the higher-annual-fee Delta cobranded cards, this three-month promotion may not be enough to keep you from downgrading or canceling your card. However, it’s worth considering the impact on your ability to earn future welcome bonuses, the shopping benefits offered by these cards, and when you believe you’ll start traveling again before canceling or downgrading.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks:

  • Earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points on up to $7,500 spent at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020
  • Eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit benefit from June through August 2020

Relevant existing perks:

  • Earn 3x points at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

This is a card where I believe the limited-time perks are definitely enough. The $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit normally provides up to $300 in statement credits during each year of your card membership for eligible purchases made directly at hotels and timeshare ownership properties participating in Marriott Bonvoy. But with many cardholders not traveling currently, it’s great to be able to use this statement credit at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, between June and August.

Regardless of when your cardmember year ends, it’s worth making sure to use whatever credit remains during this promotion. If you have a cardmember year that ends during the three-month promotion, it will make sense to ensure you finish the first year’s credit before the end of your cardmember year and then go ahead and use the next year’s credit between when your next cardmember year begins and the end of August.

Of course, you’ll also be earning 6x Marriott Bonvoy points at U.S. supermarkets on $7,500 spent through the end of July, which can be a good option if you don’t have a better card for grocery purchases. You also have your annual free night certificate which is valid for a night costing 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or less, so keeping the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex will be an easy decision for most cardholders.

Related reading: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card review

Most Chase and Amex cobranded Marriott Cards

(Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
St. Regis Langkawi (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks:

  • Earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020. Amex cardholders earn 6x on up to $7,500 and Chase cardholders earn it on up to $5,000 spent.
  • All co-branded Marriott credit cards (except the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card) are eligible. This includes cards that are no longer marketed, such as Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards.

Relevant existing perks: Perks vary by card, but nothing notable

Annual fee: Varies by card

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

The 6x Marriott Bonvoy earning at U.S. supermarkets for three months is a nice touch, as you’ll be able to get an effective 4.8% return based on TPG’s valuations. If you don’t have a credit card that earns better than 4.8% at grocery stores, your Marriott cobranded card may provide some useful value here.

But most cobranded Marriott cards offer an annual free night certificate that can more than justify the card’s annual fee. All of the free night certificates from cobranded Marriott credit cards that were set to expire in 2020 now have an expiration date of Jan. 31, 2021. So the improved earning at U.S. supermarkets is a nice perk for cardholders who planned to keep their card anyway for the annual free night certificate — and may encourage cardholders who were considering nixing their card to keep it.

Related reading: 6 great uses of Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point free night certificates

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks:

  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors points at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020
  • Eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the up to $250 Hilton resort credit benefit from June through August 2020
  • Bonus points earned through eligible purchases, if they post to the card member’s Hilton Honors account between May 1 and December 31, will be considered base points and will count towards elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status
  • Unexpired free weekend night certificates — plus those issued through Dec. 31, 2020 — can now be used on any night of the week, and those issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be valid for 24 months from the date of issuance (rather than the usual 12 months).

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

Yes, these limited-time perks will be enough for most Hilton Aspire cardholders. It is huge that eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants will qualify toward the $250 Hilton resort credit benefit. This benefit normally provides up to $250 in statement credits each year of card membership for eligible purchases at participating Hilton Resorts. If your cardmember year ends in June, July or August, you may be able to finish off last year’s credit as well as this year’s credit with purchases at U.S. restaurants.

12x Hilton points at U.S. supermarkets for a three-month period may also provide value for some cardholders. Based on TPG’s valuation of Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, that’s a 7.2% return which may very well beat out your current grocery card.

Some cardholders may enjoy the promotion that allows bonus points earned through spending on your card that post to your account between May 1 and December 31 to be considered base points that count towards elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status. If you’re looking to earn lifetime Diamond status, this is a great opportunity to boost your lifetime base points.

Plus, the updates to the annual weekend night reward provide significant value. Hilton announced changes to these certificates back in March, but now you have even more flexibility. It’s great to see these certificates now valid for any night of the week, and if you’re cardmember anniversary is coming up, new certificates issued by the end of the year will give you plenty of time to use them.

This is a card that most cardholders will want to keep — especially since these limited-time promotions provide significant value.

Related reading: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire credit card review

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks:

  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020)
  • Bonus points earned through eligible purchases that post to the card member’s Hilton Honors account between May 1 and December 31 will be considered base points and will count towards elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status
  • Unexpired free weekend night certificates — plus those issued through Dec. 31, 2020 — can now be used on any night of the week, and those issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be valid for 24 months from the date of issuance (rather than the usual 12 months).

Relevant existing perks:

  • Earn 6x Hilton Honors points at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery

Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

The value of the limited-time promotions for the Hilton Surpass will vary drastically for different cardholders. For example, 12x Hilton points at U.S. supermarkets equates to a 7.2% return based on TPG’s valuation of Hilton points at 0.6 cents each. If you don’t have a better-earning card for groceries, the three-month boost in earnings at U.S. supermarkets may provide a good bit of value. If you have a better-earning card or don’t shop at eligible supermarkets, this promotion won’t provide any value.

Likewise, bonus points earned through spending on your card that post to your account between May 1 and December 31 will be considered base points that count towards elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status. If you want to earn lifetime Diamond status, this can be a great opportunity to boost your lifetime base points. You’ll still need to earn Diamond status for 10 (non-consecutive) years — and earn two million base points or stay 1,000 nights — to earn lifetime Diamond status.

It may be better to simply rely on the Hilton Gold status provided by the Hilton Surpass or Amex Platinum, or the Hilton Diamond status provided by the Hilton Aspire — but there is also some appeal to having lifetime status and not needing to rely on card benefits that could eventually change.

Finally, it’s great to see that the free-night certificate you’d earn after spending $15,000 in a year will be usable any night of the week, and that new certificates will have two years of validity.

Related reading: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review

Hilton Honors Card from American Express

(Photo by Katie Genter / The Points Guy)
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Fiji (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

New limited-time perks:

Relevant existing perks:

  • Earn 5x Hilton Honors points at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and supermarkets

Annual fee: None (see rates and fees)

Are the limited-time perks worth it?

Yes, considering the Hilton Amex has no annual fee (see rates and fees), getting access to any limited-time perks is a plus. If you’re looking to top off your lifetime Hilton base points to reach lifetime Diamond status, using this card to do so while bonus points earned through eligible purchases count as base points may be a valuable perk.

Related reading: Hilton Honors American Express Card review

Perks for small business merchant partners

American Express also announced that small business merchant partners will gain access to new offers and tools to help them manage and run their business, including:

  • 50% off Ripl Pro, which helps businesses easily create, schedule and share professional-looking promotional social posts
  • $100 off a monthly Numa subscription which helps businesses by providing an answering service to catch potential missed business calls 24/7
  • New, free Shop Small® templates and resources at ShopSmall.com

Related reading: Join TPG’s new community for small-business owners and leaders

Some notable cards that are missing

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Two American Express Membership Rewards cards are notably missing from the list of cards offering limited-time promotions: the American Express® Gold Card and the American Express® Business Gold Card.

These cards are less focused on travel-related earning and benefits than the other cards included in this promotion — and both already offer significant earning on non-travel categories:

However, I would have liked to see the American Express Gold Card‘s up to $100 annual airline fee credit (per calendar year) either rolled over to 2021 or opened to use on other purchases. As it stands, many cardholders will likely be unable to use their airline fee credit in 2020 and hence may have trouble justifying the Amex Gold’s $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Related reading: Maximizing the American Express Gold Card

How does Amex define spending categories?

American Express provides guidance on its website regarding what types of merchants and expenses are included and excluded from specific spending categories. The issuer breaks spending categories up as follows:

Before assuming a particular purchase will fall under a specific category, it’s worth checking Amex’s website and potentially even searching the web to see how others have seen their purchases code with the merchant. For example, online reports show that Google Fi likely won’t code as a U.S. wireless telephone service provider.

Related reading: Best credit cards for streaming services

Bottom line

American Express and some of its cobranded partners are certainly trying to retain cardholders and encourage spending on cards with these limited-time promotions. Since eligible American Express card accounts approved between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, will receive a three-month extension to meet card spending requirements, it seems American Express is also attempting to attract new cardholders.

If you’re on the fence about whether it’s worth paying the annual fee on one of your cards, remember that most of the American Express cards described in this guide also have access to Amex Offers as well as shopping protections that can provide value even when you’re not traveling. It also may be worth keeping your card if you’ll want the benefits once you start traveling again. If you decide it’s not worth keeping the card, it’s worth calling to see if there’s a retention offer on your card before simply closing or downgrading your card.

Related reading: 5 ways the global recession is affecting credit cards and banks — and the upside for some cardholders

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Platinum Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Gold Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Blue Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold, click here.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.