How I’m saving $500 this January from a single credit card
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We’re nearly a year into a pandemic that has crippled movement around the world. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that premium credit cards are simply hard to justify based on travel perks alone.
Thankfully, card issuers have taken note. An array of limited-time credits and bonuses can soften the blow of paying $450 or more in annual fees in the middle of a pandemic.
While not all cardholders have been so lucky, those with The Platinum Card® from American Express — such as myself — have received some lucrative offers over the past year. And in 2021, I’d argue those offers have gotten even better.
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In fact, by the time January comes to an end, I will get more than $500 in value from my Platinum card. Yes — $500 worth of products and services from a single card — in one month. And I’ll get even more out of my card the rest of the year, easily coming out ahead on the Platinum’s $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Let’s break down all the perks and freebies on the Platinum card that I’m taking advantage of to kick off the new year.
$30 with PayPal (Up to $180 credit)
I’d label this one as the Platinum’s perennial new, limited-time benefit of 2021. Cardholders now get an up to $30 monthly credit toward PayPal purchases through June 30, 2021.
That’s a total of up to $180 in statement credits on purchases made at eligible merchants through the middle of 2021. Essentially, any merchant that accepts PayPal online will trigger the credit.
Last year, we saw Amex provide up to $40 in monthly streaming and wireless credit. Those perks have since expired and while the overall credit value is slightly lower this time around ($30 vs. $40), it’s arguably much easier to use.
For instance, I swapped my payment method to PayPal for several recurring subscription services, including Netflix and Spotify, which will easily save me $30 per month, including in January.
$15 with Uber (Up to $200 annual credit)
Next up, the up to $200 annual Uber credit is a permanent benefit of the Platinum card. Thankfully, this is an easy-to-use perk with Uber Eats and Uber rides as eligible for reimbursement.
This month, I already used my $15 credit on a meal with Uber Eats. Platinum cardholders now also get an Uber Eats Pass as a complimentary benefit for a year, getting you unlimited deliveries with a $0 fee, plus 5% off restaurant orders over $15.
$50 with Saks (Up to $100 annual credit)
Another permanent benefit on the Platinum card is an up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit ($50 from January to June and another $50 in the second half of the year). While Saks is not a go-to shopping destination for me typically, I still find this perk valuable (but perhaps not at the full face value).
While you can use this $50 biannual credit any time between now and June, I needed some new accessories to brave New York City winter. I picked up a new pair of gloves and with taxes, I hit the required $50 threshold to trigger the credit.
$100 with Dell (Amex Offers)
Last year, Amex unveiled a $100 Dell credit for those with the personal Platinum card. Note that this is different from the permanent, up to $200 Dell credit that is on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
From now through Jan. 31, 2021, cardholders receive a one-time up to $100 statement credit after using your enrolled Amex to spend a minimum of $100.
I plan on ordering this $100 tote-and-backpack hybrid that can carry my 15″ laptop and other tech necessities wherever I go. Plus, it has a minimalist (yet functional) style that I like — and it also doesn’t scream “Dell.”
$400+ in free Amex offers
The next four deals are some of the latest Amex Offers that aren’t just discounted; they’re opportunities to buy things for free (or nearly free).
Now, for many cardholders, these merchants may not have been on your shopping list. That means the value of the offer may not quite match the dollar amount listed. However, you’d be surprised at the breadth of products available at stores such as Home Depot or Best Buy.
Also, note that many cardholders — myself included for Home Depot — are experiencing delays in getting credits to post to their account. Be sure to check your statement and live chat or call Amex if you don’t see a statement credit after a week or two of the original charge.
Here’s what I bought (or plan on buying) from the following merchants.
Home Depot ($50, up to 2x)
With indoor dining indefinitely closed — and outdoor dining difficult in winter, — I’m looking to make use of my kitchen more. That means I’m in the market for kitchen essentials, including an air fryer. These are items that I can easily buy at Home Depot to use the full $100 credit.
Best Buy ($50, up to 2x)
My January shopping spree continues. This time I’m in need of a new desk and floor lamp to brighten my apartment in the gray Northeast winter season. Thankfully, Best Buy has dozens of options.
Home Chef ($50, up to 3x)
I find the pricing of meal kit services such as Home Chef to be a bit on the pricier side (at least $9 per meal) but this is essentially free food thanks to the Amex Offer. With $150, you can easily get several weeks of ready-to-cook meals, along with recipes. The subscription can be paused or turned off at any time.
I don’t value this promotion for the full $150, but even a partial valuation makes this offer more than worthwhile. And it aligns with my quest to cook more during the pandemic.
Wine Insiders ($30, up to 2x)
With the way 2021 has started off, many people could use a glass (or bottle) of wine. Here’s an easy way to get several bottles for free. Note that any promo codes or shopping through a portal may negate this offer.
Stack with a shopping portal (sometimes)
There are numerous opportunities to save even more with the offers listed (and ones not listed). But this comes with a caveat — some of these Amex Offers may not trigger if using another promotion, such as a shopping portal. Read the terms carefully.
In particular, the offer with Wine Insiders has been particularly difficult for some TPG readers and staff. Any portals or promo codes entered at checkout will negate the Amex Offer.
I always check an online shopping portal aggregator such as Cashback Monitor, my personal favorite. The site compares rates across a variety of online shopping portals and you can choose which one to go with.
For instance, for Home Chef, there are a variety of online portals that you can select. Currently, the best deal is through Swagbucks since they’re offering $35 in cashback when you sign up for a new Home Chef subscription.
These are shopping offers and credits that are useful to me right now, and ones that I can take advantage of in the comfort of my home. After all, these are items I was planning on buying anyhow.
Notice that none of these perks above are travel-related. While the Platinum has an up to $200 annual airline fee credit, access to hundreds of airport lounges worldwide including crowd-favorite Centurion Lounges, elite status with both Marriott and Hilton and much, much more, I didn’t include that here.
The fact of the matter is that I won’t be using those perks in the weeks (and perhaps months) to come. However, I still can get incredible value out of my Platinum card now — and hopefully, make serious use of the travel benefits later in 2021.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
Featured photo courtesy of The Points Guy.
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