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

May 01, 2021
4 min read
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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.

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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)

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 Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required. (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)

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)

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)

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 (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards

1 - 3X points
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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
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Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases