The small card perk that made our day — and gave us free cheesecake

May 1, 2021

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I don’t know where I first heard the saying that, when you look back, “It’s the little things that are really the big things.” But it’s a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree. Especially after the last year we all had, small things can be big.

For kids, letting them stay up well beyond bedtime to watch a funny movie with you, or unexpectedly bringing their favorite lunch and eating with them at school (back when that was possible) — those things matter. So, while I like to use credit card perks and miles to go big, I also enjoy the smaller perks.

It had been a long time since we went to the mall to pick up a few things and grab a snack. What was once a pretty mundane experience on the to-do list, was now a little foreign and exciting for my kids. My oldest became a full-fledged tweenager during the pandemic and ‘shopping’ in stores is now fun in her mind.

So while we were out doing a little shopping and strolling, we passed The Cheesecake Factory and a lightbulb went off in my mind. I remembered that we actually have a credit card that could give us a slice for free.

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(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

I’ve had the American Express® Gold Card in my wallet for a few years now, and while I love racking up 4x points per dollar at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases each calendar year; then 1x), it also has two built-in monthly $10 credits you can use towards food (up to $120 annually).

The first is a $10 monthly Uber credit that can be used for U.S. rides or Uber Eats orders (up to $120 in annual Uber Cash). This was actually just added to the card this year. (Note: Card must be added to your Uber account to receive this benefit).

But the second $10 monthly credit is valid at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, participating Shake Shack locations, Boxed orders, on Grubhub and Seamless orders and — you guessed it — The Cheesecake Factory. (Just be sure you register for this credit prior to use.) Enrollment required for select benefits.

Related: Why the Amex Gold is a great card for families

A $10 monthly dining credit wouldn’t cover much during a full-blown family dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, but it’s just enough for a slice of cheesecake to go. I asked the girls if they wanted to go in and pick out a slice of any piece of cheesecake they wanted, and you know their answer. It’s basically like taking kids to a very fancy candy store.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Like everything at the Cheesecake Factory, the by-the-slice menu is hilariously long. But whether you choose original or strawberry, peppermint bark or chocolate cheesecake, they all cost around $10 a slice (at least here in Texas).

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

One carefully selected, kid-friendly slice of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake and a small tip for the cashier later, and we were on our way out the door having spent just over $10 on the Amex Gold card — almost the exact amount of the monthly credit.

That one slice was plenty for the family to share after dinner that night, and the girls had a ton of fun with the whole thing.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Getting a slice of cheesecake for free other than just a little overage for the tip thanks to the Amex Gold dining credit is, unquestionably, a small thing. But continuing a family tradition of taking turns picking out a slice of cheesecake when we are at the mall felt like a nice, familiar outing that we hadn’t done in far too long.

Related: Worked like a charm: How I discovered a new (favorite) restaurant thanks to the Amex Gold dining credit

Featured image by author

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