Your ultimate guide to Amex Offers

Nov 29, 2019

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Here at TPG we spend a lot of time focusing on redeeming points for free flights and hotels, but the savviest points experts are the ones who know how to take advantage of every deal and save money — even when they’re not traveling.

One of the best options for saving money and even earning some bonus points on a wide variety of purchases is by taking advantage of Amex Offers. Today we’ll walk through everything you need to know to enroll in and redeem these extra discounts.

What Are Amex Offers?

All American Express credit cards, including core ones like The Platinum Card® from American Express and cobranded cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card come with access to Amex Offers. You’ll see all the Amex Offers you have available on a given card if you scroll down on your online account page, or by clicking the “Offers” tab on the Amex app.

These offers come from a wide variety of merchants, including travel providers, restaurants, clothing and jewelry stores and much more. Generally speaking, Amex Offers come in one of three forms:

  • Spend $X, get Y number of bonus points
  • Spend $X, get $Y back
  • Get additional points for each dollar you spend at a select merchant

 

These offers are all targeted, not just to an individual but to a specific card as well. You can tell this right away because each of your cards should have a different number of offers available. My Platinum card currently has 100 offers available for me to enroll in:

 

However, my Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card only has 89.

 

Based on my own experience and a number of data points I’ve seen online, it appears that Amex will sometimes target the most valuable offers (the most points, the largest discounts or the easiest merchants to redeem at) to its core Membership Rewards-earning cards like the Platinum card or the American Express® Gold Card. There isn’t anything you can do if your account isn’t targeted, so just let this serve as a reminder to check all your cards before giving up on a specific offer.

Enrolling & Redeeming: Read The Terms Carefully

While each offer is slightly different depending on the sponsoring partner, all Amex Offers start with some version of the following terms and conditions:

ENROLLMENT/ELIGIBLE CARDS: Enrollment limited. Must first add offer to Card and then use same Card to redeem. Only U.S.-issued American Express® Cards that are enrolled in the Membership Rewards® program at the time of purchase are eligible. Limit 1 enrolled Card per Card Member across all American Express offer channels. Your enrollment of an eligible American Express Card for this offer extends only to that Card. Your enrollment does not extend to any other Cards that may be linked to the same Membership Rewards program account (such as Additional Cards). Offer is non-transferable.

Credit cards come with a lot of fine print that most of us don’t bother reading, but this is one time when it’s really worth breaking out the glasses, putting on a pot of coffee and sitting down to study the terms.

There are a few important things we see right off the bat when looking at the terms:

Enrollment limited: Even though the offer is showing on your account right now, Amex has a quota for how many people can enroll in this offer. Once that limit is reached, you won’t be able to register. If you think there’s any chance you’ll use this offer, go ahead and add it to your card. Nothing happens if you end up not using the offer, but this way you lock in the ability to do so later.

Must first add offer to Card and then use same Card to redeem: If you have multiple Amex cards, make sure you keep track of which card you add an offer to! I currently have three different versions of the Platinum card, but if I add an Amex Offer to my Schwab Platinum card, I won’t be able to redeem it on my personal Amex Platinum. You can start a very simple spreadsheet to track which card you’ve enrolled in which offer, or you can go back to your card on the Amex website and click “Added to Card” to check.

 

Limit 1 enrolled Card per Card Member across all American Express offer channels: Even though the terms have always read this way, it used to be possible to add an Amex Offer to multiple different cards and receive the credit as many times as you were targeted. Amex has begun cracking down heavily on this practice, so even if you are able to add the offer to multiple cards, the system will likely only give you credit the first time you use it. You won’t have any luck calling in and asking Amex to manually credit the second card either, so it’s best not to get greedy and just stick to a single card.

You should carefully pick which card you want to add an offer to. All else being equal, I always try to load my offers onto my Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express to earn 2x Membership Rewards points on my first $50,000 of purchases a year (then 1x). Sometimes I’ll opt for a Bonvoy card instead to earn Marriott points (especially if the offer relates to a Marriott property), and you can also leverage Amex Offers to help meet your minimum spending requirement on a new credit card.

The rest of the terms and conditions go on to repeat this point a number of times until you have it clear in your head: One Amex Offer per account, period. 

On top of these general terms, each specific offer will have a few terms worth being aware of. Each offer has an expiration date, and many travel offers like this one for DoubleTree by Hilton have geographical restrictions on where you can use them (only valid in Mexico, only valid inside the U.S., etc.)

 

Another common theme is that you’re often required to purchase directly from the merchant. In this case, you’ll only receive the $100 rebate if you book via hilton.com, on the Hilton app, or by calling Hilton’s direct number. Making a $500+ booking through hotels.com won’t earn you any discount. Some offers even require you to purchase through a unique American Express link, so it really pays to do your homework before you make your purchase.

 

Many merchants will exclude certain types of items (like gift cards) from the offer, though not all do. You also have to be careful about how your transaction is processed, as Amex will only give you the cash rebate or bonus points if it receives information that appropriately identifies your transaction. Here’s what an Amex Offer for Sunglass Hut has to say:

If American Express does not receive information that identifies your transaction as qualifying for the offer, you will not receive the statement credit. For example, your transaction will not qualify if it is not made directly with the merchant. In addition, in most cases, you may not receive the statement credit if your transaction is made with an electronic wallet or through a third party or if the merchant uses a mobile or wireless card reader to process it.

Most offers allow up to 90 days from the transaction before your points or cash will post to your account, but you should get an email almost instantly after the transaction posts confirming that you triggered the offer.

Evaluating and Stacking Amex Offers

Amex Offers can be a great way to save money on purchases you were already planning to make, but just because something is on sale doesn’t automatically make it a good deal. I would love to save $75 on my annual Wall Street Journal subscription, but no matter how much you discount it I don’t need to be spending a penny at Tapper’s Jewelry.

Amex Offers can be a great deal on their own, but you can double- or even triple-dip to get a much better return. You can use Amex Offers in addition to online shopping portals to earn extra cash back or bonus miles on your purchase. You can also leverage credit card bonus categories, like pairing a Hilton Aspire card with the Hilton Amex Offer to earn bonus points in addition to cash back.

You can even stack Amex Offers with other Amex perks, such as the annual statement credit at Saks Fifth Avenue and Dell that come with the Platinum Card and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, respectively. Both of these stores have had Amex Offers over the last few months, further sweetening an already valuable benefit.

Bottom Line

While Chase has recently joined the competition with Chase Offers, Amex is far and away the leader for this kind of program. We often talk about how to justify paying the annual fee on a new credit card, especially Amex’s impressive lineup of premium cards. But the truth is if you can redeem two to three Amex Offers a year, you could entirely recoup the fee on some expensive yet highly rewarding cards. As long as you don’t fall for the advertising and spend money that you didn’t want to, Amex Offers can be an incredible tool to save money on purchases you were already planning to make.

Featured photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
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