Wine lovers rejoice — your credit card could unlock perks and savings

Mar 15, 2020

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available.

Holding the right travel rewards credit card can unlock numerous valuable perks. Naturally these benefits tend to revolve around travel, including things such as lounge access. However, there are also several more obscure benefits to holding certain cards — and one is the potential to save on wine purchases and winery experiences.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways your credit card could give you access to special discounts and invite-only events.

Wine-related Amex Offers

If you’re an Amex cardholder, you may be able to save through Amex Offers.

For those unfamiliar with the program, it provides limited-time offers with a variety of merchants across American Express cards. These offers are targeted and don’t always appear on every card (or even for every holder of a specific card). The type and value of offers run the gamut, ranging from earning an additional Membership Rewards point per dollar spent at J. Crew to earning 6,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $350 at certain Hilton hotels in Puerto Rico to getting $15 back after spending $50 at 1800Flowers.com.

Oftentimes, you’ll fine wine companies and subscription services included in Amex Offers.

Rosé wine is poured into glasses at vineyard Klosterhof Toplitz in the sunshine in Toplitz, Germany, 10 September 2016. The ecologically managed vineyard has 2.5 hectars of land and a tavern selling homegrown vine. Pinot gris and pinot blanc, riesling and regent are cultivated here. Photo: Jens Kalaene/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Amex Offers could help you save the next time you order wine. (Photo by Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Because these offers are targeted, the only way to check your eligibility is through your account. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Log in to your account at AmericanExpress.com
  2. Select the card you want to view
  3. Scroll down to the “Amex Offers and Benefits” section (below your recent activity)
  4. Read through the offers on the card, clicking “Load More” if necessary

My American Express® Gold Card currently has six wine-related offers available to me.

*Offer pulled on Jan. 14, 2020, and may not be applicable to every Amex cardholder.
This offer was pulled on Jan. 14, 2020 and may not be applicable to every Amex cardholder.
  • BVWines.com — Spend $200 or more, get $60 back (Expires 3/19/20)
  • BenchmarkWine.com — Spend $250 or more, get $50 back (Expires 3/2/20)
  • Ashes & Diamonds Winery — Spend $250 or more, get $75 back (Expires 2/29/20)
  • Winc Wines — Spend $50 or more, get $15 back (Up to three times for a total of $45; Expires 2/29/20)
  • Beringer Vineyards — Spend $150 or more, get $30 back (Expires 3/9/20)

Some TPG staffers have reported up to 9x Membership Rewards points for certain wine purchases.

Visa Signature benefits

If you have a Visa Signature or Visa Infinite credit card, you can get exclusive benefits and offers at participating wineries and vineyards.

Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cardholders receive the following perks at more than 50 Visa Signature wineries:

  • Buy one standard wine tasting using your eligible card, receive a complimentary tasting of equal or lesser value
  • Preferred pricing on applicable non-wine purchases over $50
  • Savings on same-day wine purchases in the Tasting Room
  • Savings on Reserve tastings or special wine and food pairings

You can check out the full list of participating wineries on Visa’s website, including which wineries also offer these benefits to Canada-issued Visa Infinite and Visa Infinite Privilege cardholders. To redeem the benefits, simply show your eligible card at the participating winery. Visa does encourage cardholders to contact the winery ahead of time to confirm the offers.

Visa also offers eligible cardholders certain special offers (not entirely unlike the Amex Offers program). Currently, Visa Signature cardholders can receive 10% off on all purchases, plus complimentary wine tasting and hotel delivery, at Mantequerias Bravo, a gourmet wine and food shop in Madrid, Spain.

So, what cards are eligible? All Visa Signature and Visa Infinite cards will have that status noted on the bottom corner of your physical card right below the Visa logo. Examples of popular Visa Signature Cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and all of the Chase Ink Business credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the most common Visa Infinite card.

Special events and experiences

Some issuers offer exclusive events and experiences to cardholders. Occasionally, you’ll get targeted offers and invites mailed or emailed to you, but Amex, Chase and Citi both have online resources for looking up cardholder events and experiences. These curated packages typically cost a pretty penny, but they can be part of once-in-a-lifetime trips and unforgettable experiences. (Plus, many of them are impossible to recreate outside of these cardholder offers.)

Here is a look at a few of the special wine-related events currently available for cardholders:

Amex is currently offering Platinum Card® and Centurion® Members invitations to Burgundy on the Slopes of Jackson Hole happening March 11 through March 14, 2020. According to Amex’s site, the four-day package has a high price tag, at $5,600, and includes:

  • Skiing the incomparable slopes of Jackson Hole with world-renowned winemakers Nicolas Rossignol (Domaine Nicolas Rossignol in Volnay) and Louis & Pierre Trapet (of the legendary Domaine Jean-Louis Trapet in Gevrey-Chambertin) as well as rising superstar Thibaud Clerget (Domaine Yvon Clerget in Volnay)
  • Taste rare cuvées of attending winemakers including Trapet’s Chambertin 2005 from magnum and great recent vintages of Clerget’s monopole Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Verseuil
  • Wine paired meals at some of the best tables in Jackson Hole, including Chef Gavin Fine’s The Kitchen, The Four Seasons and the exclusive opportunity to dine on the mountain
  • Montrachet on the Mountain – a guided tasting of six vintages back to 1990 of Montrachet Grand Cru “Marquis de Laguiche” from Maison Joseph Drouhin with Daniel Johnnes
  • Time to explore the town of Jackson and unwind après-ski in Teton Village after hitting the slopes, with wines selected by the winemakers and Daniel Johnnes
  • “La Paulée-style” farewell dinner featuring magnums and jeroboams of highly sought-after red and white Burgundies, highlighted by rare magnums of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Cuvée Duvault-Blochet” 1999

Platinum and Centurion cardholders can also reserve tickets to Experience Authentic Provence with Daniel Johnnes in France, happening May 12 through May 16, 2020. For a ticket price of $3,500, Amex states this package includes:

  • Welcome reception and wine tasting focusing on the diversity of Provence Rosé with Daniel Johnnes
  • Experience the prestigious wines at Domaine de Trevallon in Les Baux-de-Provence, followed by a visit to Moulin à Huile Cornille in Maussane les Alpilles
  • Explore the vineyards of the renowned Chateauneuf-du-Pape followed by a wine paired lunch at Domaine Saint-Prefert with famed winemaker Isabel Ferrando
  • Taste the one Michelin star culinary dining experience at Auberge La Fenière
  • In the heart of the Luberon’s golden triangle, spend the day at Bastide de Capelongue with two-Michelin star Chef Edouard Loubet followed by a winetasting and interactive cooking demo
  • Final tasting and farewell lunch at Domaine du Castellas, an 18th century estate
  • Complimentary ground transportation throughout the experience

Finally, Amex is offering Platinum and Centurion cardholders VIP access tickets to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, happening June 18-21, 2020. The VIP ticket costs $4,295, but comes with the following:

  • VIP welcome reception after the official festival kickoff
  • Private dinner with Food & Wine talent
  • Exclusive late-night party
  • Early access to the Food & Wine Best New Chefs event
  • Early access to the Grand Tasting Pavilion, and first line access to all seminars and culinary demonstrations
  • Special rate on accommodations at The Little Nell when you mention the By Invitation Only room block when you book

To reserve tickets to any of these Amex exclusive experiences, you have to call 1-800-321-7787. Reservations and ticket sales can’t be made online at this time.

I didn’t see any current Chase or Citi experiences that were wine-related, but that could change later in 2020.

Photo of North California winery by Spencer Spellman.
Your card could give you access to exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. (Photo of a northern California winery by Spencer Spellman)

Airline and hotel experiences

Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles Experiences is currently taking bids on two wine-related experiences. The Palm Desert Food & Wine Experience package includes:

  • Two tickets to Under the Tuscan Moon Celebrity Chef Dinner with Fabio Viviani, chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author and Alain Redelsperger, executive chef, Toscana Country Club. Includes a cocktail reception and passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by a four-course dinner paired with exceptional wines.
  • Two Carte Blanche tickets with early access to Saturday Grand Tastings at The Gardens in Palm Desert, Calif., with delectable bites from more than 40 restaurants, created by renowned chefs from across the Coachella Valley and all of California, as well as more than 60 premium and sparkling wines, beers, and spirits.
  • Two tickets to Sunday Grand Tastings.

There’s also a dinner and wine tasting at the La Tablée event in New York City, including: two tickets to La Tablée Tasting at City Winery, where guests can taste a selection of nearly 100 different wines from attending producers, offering a preview of the 2017 vintage, accompanied by a selection of small plates from restaurants and purveyors.

A United Airlines flight attendant serves wines in Polaris international business class. (Photo courtesy of United Airlines)
A United Airlines flight attendant serves wines in Polaris international business class. (Photo courtesy of United Airlines)

United Airlines doesn’t have any current wine events, but recently auctioned off a a two-day food and wine experience hosted by The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and a champagne and caviar tasting in the San Francisco International Airport Polaris lounge hosted by two-time James Beard Award winner sommelier Belinda Chang.

Marriott Bonvoy Moments has two packages up for bid:

  • A custom VIP package to attend the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
  • Explore the Champagne Route from Paris to Reims by helicopter. Enjoy private visits of champagne cellars including Pommery cellar, a lunch at the Michelin-starred L’Assiette Champenoise, two dinners at R’Yves Restaurant and a two-night stay in the Champagne Suite at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche.

Potential bonus category earnings

Yet another way to take advantage of your rewards credit cards to maximize wine-related purchases is by earning bonus rewards. While there isn’t a credit card that explicitly lists vineyards or wineries as a bonus category, there are still ways that your wine purchases could earn bonus points.

Grocery stores and supermarkets often carry select wines, depending on what state you live in. I use my Amex Gold to earn 4x on wine when I shop at Harris Teeter, for example (the 4x points at U.S. supermarkets on the Amex Gold is limited to the first $25,000 spent in purchases each calendar year, then 1x point). The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card also earns 2% at grocery stores and some specialty markets (though it’s no guarantee that a wine store would code as such).

The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit 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.

In addition, you may find that some wineries are classified as “Entertainment” under their merchant category codes, giving you the opportunity to earn 4% back on the Capital One Savor and 2x on the Citi Premier℠ Card. Of course, the only way to really know what will code as entertainment verses another category is to test it out and see for future purchases.

The information for the Citi Premier 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.

You can also always use a flat-rate card such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited to ensure you’re at least getting something back on your wine-related expenses.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Finally, be sure to click through an online shopping portal in addition to using a rewarding credit card if you’re making online wine purchases. I typically check CashBackMonitor.com to compare the different portals and decide on the best earning rate.

Alaska’s Fly Wine For Free Deal

Though not specifically a credit card perk, I still feel like the Wine Flies Free on Alaska Airlines benefit is worth mentioning here. Mileage Plan members can bring home an entire case of wine with no baggage fees when you fly to one of Alaska Airlines’ 30 Wine Flies Free destinations along the U.S. West Coast.

(Photo by Digital Media Pro/Shutterstock.)
Shipping an entire case of wine home with no baggage costs is a great deal if you fly Alaska Airlines. (Photo by Digital Media Pro/Shutterstock.)

All you have to do is book a domestic flight to one of the 30 eligible destinations (including Sonoma and Monterey, Calif., Sun Valley, Idaho, and more), add your Mileage Plan number to your reservation and check your properly packed case of wine in with an Alaska Airlines customer service representative at the ticketing counter on your way home.

One case of wine will fit 12 bottles, and the cost of shipping that home from your trip could be quite expensive without this deal.

You can check out the Alaska Airlines website for more details on how to properly pack wine to fly and which Alaska Airlines destinations qualify for this offer.

Bottom line

Whether you’re a true wine connoisseur or just someone who enjoys a casual glass with dinner, your credit card could unlock major savings and unforgettable experiences. Make sure to check your Citi, Amex and Chase accounts for special offers.

Of course, you probably shouldn’t choose a credit card based purely on the wine perks it gives. It’s better to pick a card that fits your spending and travel habits overall. But there are plenty of top credit cards (such as The Platinum Card® from American Express) that give you the best of both worlds.

Additional reporting by Nick Ewen.

Featured image courtesy of Biltmore.

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