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How I'm saving $500 this January from a single credit card

January 8 2021
7 min read
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

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.

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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 $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).

How is this possible? Well, from recently announced Uber and Saks Fifth Avenue benefits, I'm using this month to shop for free (or nearly free).

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.

Related: How our cruise writer got $4,456 in value from his Amex Platinum in a year — even during the pandemic

$15 with Uber (Up to $200 annual credit)

Next up, the up to $200 annual Uber credit is a benefit of the Platinum card. Thankfully, this is an easy-to-use perk with Uber Eats and Uber rides in the U.S. 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* (must enroll by December 31, 2021), getting you unlimited deliveries with a $0 fee, plus 5% off orders over $15 at eligible restaurants (taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward order minimum). Uber Eats Pass will auto-bill starting 12 months from initial enrollment in this offer, then at then-current monthly rate.

(Photo courtesy Uber)

Related: 4 ways to use your Amex Platinum’s Uber credit while at home

$50 with Saks (Up to $100 annual credit)

Another 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; enrollment required). 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).

(Screenshot courtesy of Saks)

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.

Related: 10 items you can buy using your Amex Platinum $50 Saks Fifth Avenue 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 ongoing benefit, 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.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amex)

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."

Related: 10 items you can buy with your Amex's $100 Dell credit

$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.

Related: Amex unveils full slate of limited-time benefits for Platinum, Business Platinum and more

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.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amex)

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.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amex)

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.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amex)

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.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amex)

Bottom line

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. Enrollment required for select benefits.

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 by (Photo by 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.

TPG featured card

Best luxury travel rewards 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

5X points
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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.

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best luxury travel rewards 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

5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 100,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $2,000.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees