How Amex Offers helped me outfit my entire house with LED bulbs — for just $6.02 out of pocket

Feb 10, 2021

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If someone told me last February that I would be outfitting my entire house with LED bulbs within a year, I might’ve laughed out loud. But the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to some interesting behavior that would’ve been unimaginable in normal times.

So yes, I can now say that my house is more energy-efficient than before and no longer uses a single incandescent bulb.

And thanks to Amex Offers and a new, limited-time perk, I was able to do it for just $6.02.

Read on for how I managed this — and some thoughts on how you can put some of these offers to use.

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New, limited-time offers

Like many other holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express, I was targeted for several lucrative offers in early 2021. I’ve taken advantage of these before — and make it a point to check them frequently — but the slew of offers that came out in January was unprecedented in both scale and value. They included:

  • Spend $50 at Home Depot, get $50 back (up to two times)
  • Spend $50 at Best Buy, get $50 back (up to two times)
  • Spend $30 at Wine Insiders, get $30 back (up to two times)
  • Spend $100 at Goldbelly, get $50 back (up to three times)
  • Spend $250 at Instacart, get $50 back (up to two times)
  • Spend $150 at the Container Store, get $50 back (up to two times)

(Eligibility for these offers is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.)

The Amex Platinum also added a monthly $30 PayPal credit through June, giving cardholders a ton of flexibility when making online purchases during the first half of this year.

The Home Depot and PayPal offers immediately caught my attention, and I started thinking about how I could best put those to use. The Home Depot offers weren’t valid in store, nor were they available on items purchased online for in-store pickup. As a result, I needed to find items that could be shipped to my home — ideally for free.

Related: Buyer beware: Pay very close attention to the terms of your Amex Offers

It was around this time that a bulb burned out in my kitchen, and when I went to replace it, I noticed that I was running low on my supply of traditional incandescent bulbs.

And that’s when it hit me. What if I utilized the Home Depot offers to replace all of these old-school light bulbs? And how close could I get to the various thresholds to minimize my out-of-pocket cost?

I started my quest by looking at 60-watt-equivalent LED bulbs for the high-trafficked areas of my house in need of significant light. By my estimation, I needed roughly 40 of these right off the bat — which led me to a 24-pack of soft-white bulbs from Sylvania. At $23.57 per pack, that was just under $1 per bulb, and buying two of them would put me right around the $50 mark, with several extra bulbs. These could be shipping to my house for free.

First order: Two 24-packs of 60-watt-equivalent, soft-white LED bulbs
Total price (with taxes): $50.44
Out-of-pocket cost: $0.44

The bulbs arrived at my house in just two days, and the credit from the Amex Offer posted four days after purchase.

Next, I took an inventory of my smaller bulbs — including the standard 40-watt variety (roughly 20), decorative ones with bent tips (three) and those with a candelabra base (eight). Fortunately, there were plenty of soft-white options available across these three categories.

Here’s where I needed to get careful with my math. I wanted to spend just over $50 in one order to trigger the second Home Depot Amex Offer. Then, I wanted to hit just over $30 to use up the entire PayPal credit for January.

Related: 17 ways to use the Amex Platinum’s monthly $30 PayPal credit

In the end, my orders looked like this (all 40-watt-equivalent, soft-white LED bulbs — with free shipping on both orders):

Second order: Two eight-packs of standard bulbs, one three-pack of bent-tip bulbs and one three-pack of candelabra-base bulbs
Total price (with taxes): $52.43
Out-of-pocket cost: $2.43

Third order: One eight-pack of standard bulbs, two three-packs of candelabra-base bulbs
Total price (with taxes): $33.15
Out-of-pocket cost: $3.15

All of the items arrived five days after ordering, and while the PayPal credit posted two days after the purchase, it took 12 days for the statement credit from the Amex Offer to arrive.

(It’s worth noting that the second order shipped in two boxes and thus was split into two separate purchases — both of which were less than $50. However, the terms of the Home Depot offer indicate that you must spend $50 in one or more qualifying transactions, so don’t fret if a larger purchase is split into two or more smaller transactions.)

When you tally everything up, I was able to pick up a total of 84 LED bulbs by spending just $6.02 out of pocket. In other words, these new light bulbs set me back less than 8 cents apiece — and I now have a brighter and more energy-efficient house.

I also earned bonus points by starting at an airline shopping portal. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

However, this gets even more lucrative, since I also went through an online shopping portal to make these purchases. I opted to earn 3x JetBlue points for every dollar I spent, and since Amex posts the statement credits directly to your account rather than as a discount at the merchant, I should wind up taking home 372 TrueBlue points (calculated on the subtotals of the purchases) — worth about $4.84 based on TPG’s most recent valuations.

This lowers my effective out-of-pocket cost to just $1.18 — or a mere 1.4 cents per bulb.

Related: These Amex Offers will help you save money and make life easier right now

How you can use these offers

Of course, you may have zero need for LED bulbs, but this just serves as an example of how you can put these offers to use. Here are some other possible options:

  • Order a new Roku stick from Best Buy to stream content to your TV.
  • Surprise a friend or family member with a delivery of goodies from Goldbelly (my wife and I did this for a friend recovering from COVID-19, and it was very well received).
  • Send yourself and a loved one matching cases of wine from Wine Insiders, then schedule a virtual wine tasting — check out this post for some thoughts on how to pick the best bottles.
  • Grab some storage bins from the Container Store to finally organize your holiday decorations or accomplish your spring cleaning goals.

Just remember to add these offers to your card prior to making the purchase, and be sure to use that card at checkout. As noted above, you should be able to stack these offers with bonuses from online shopping portals — but be sure to read the terms of each offer carefully so you don’t miss out on the discounts.

Note as well that while many of these offers were specific to the Amex Platinum, there were reports of them appearing on other cards. TPG’s Scott Mayerowitz, for example, indicated that the Goldbelly offer appeared on his Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. (Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.) If you find yourself in that situation, be sure to consider which one offers you the best value.

Consider adding another Amex to your wallet right now

Applying for a new American Express card could bring you a slew of new Amex Offers. (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

In addition, now could be a great time to look at adding another American Express card to your wallet. A number of them are offering terrific welcome bonuses — including the long-awaited return of a certain rose-colored card.

  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. Note that new cardholders can select between the standard Gold card or the limited-edition Rose Gold card.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you can earn up to $130 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the card at any of the Hilton family hotels in the first 12 months of membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.

New applicants for the Amex Gold card will be able to immediately utilize the card’s $10 monthly dining credit as well as the $10 monthly Uber credit (up to $120 in Uber Cash annually for U.S. services) that just kicked in this month. Just be sure to add the card to your Uber app to receive this benefit. Nevertheless, all of these cards will provide their own sets of targeted Amex Offers — which may include statement credits at hotels.

Related: Don’t forget about these offers! We built a spreadsheet to help you track Amex credits

Bottom line

With international travel largely at a standstill, many of us are continuing to spend more time at home than in a normal year. As a result, these new Amex Offers can represent a great way to save some money while outfitting your house or apartment with new gear. I took the opportunity to replace all the incandescent light bulbs in my house with LEDs purchased through Home Depot, an endeavor that cost me less than $10 of actual, out-of-pocket cost.

If you haven’t already, be sure to add these offers to your Amex card — and then take some time to explore ways that you can utilize them to the fullest extent possible.

Featured image courtesy of Hero Images via Getty Images.

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