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Savvy Saturday: Maximizing the Saks Fifth Avenue credit on the Amex Platinum (with a partner)

July 31 2021
6 min read
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Editor’s note: Some travel cards come with awkward benefits that are difficult to maximize. This article is part of a series that shows you unique/fun/unintended ways to use your credit card benefits. If you've got any questions or have an example of a unique way to use a credit card perk, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook, or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Of my 20+ open card accounts, one of my least favorite ongoing benefits is the Saks Fifth Avenue credits that come with The Platinum Card® from American Express. Here's how they work (enrollment required):

  • Receive up to $50 in statement credits with Saks Fifth Avenue to be used between Jan. 1 and June 30
  • Receive up to $50 in statement credits with Saks Fifth Avenue to be used between July 1 and Dec. 31

That's a total of $100 in credits per calendar year -- but infuriatingly, you can only spend $50 at a time. At Saks Fifth Avenue, that'll buy you a travel pack of moist towelettes.

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If you're like many of us in the miles and points community, you and your partner/travel buddy both have an Amex Platinum. Lately, the welcome bonus has been off the charts, causing many more of us to open the card (100,000 points after you spend $6,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership).

Official application link: The Platinum Card® from American Express with a 100,000-point bonus.

Two Amex Platinum cardholders have a much wider selection of free stuff at Saks. I’ll quickly explain how my wife and I used our credits to actually get a fair deal. You can read our post on the Amex Platinum benefits and perks to learn about the more valuable benefits that come with this card.

Related: 10 gifts you can buy using your Amex Platinum $50 Saks Fifth Avenue credit

I’d normally never step into a Saks Fifth Avenue. The Amex Platinum has me trying new things. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy)

The secret: Splitting payments at the cash register

Let me first say that I don’t belong in Saks Fifth Avenue. Stores like that make me uncomfortable: Business casual shirts with $400 price tags; burlap scarves that could pay a month’s rent. Maybe it’s the miles and points lobe of my brain, but it seems like a waste.

My wife and I visited Waikiki in May. We decided we'd duck into Saks when we spotted it on Kuhio Ave. It was our first time in such a place, and we felt immediate unease at the helpfulness of the staff. They were so obsequious that I didn’t know if I was meant to tip them. My wife tried on some shorts, and the employee helping us never left our side from that point, endlessly reaffirming how fantastic we’d look in every article our hands touched. She was extremely nice, but we did spend about 40 extra minutes walking around pretending to shop, so she didn’t know we had strayed from our social/financial boundaries.

My wife and I both have Amex Platinum cards. That means we collectively can get up to $100 in Saks credits every six months by splitting tender at checkout. If you and a partner or travel buddy are in the same situation, this is an easy way to get $100 off a single item (instead of just $50). That opens up many more possibilities — though it still takes sifting to find a desirable item around that price.

She eventually found me a shirt on the 40% off the rack that she liked. After the discount, the shirt cost $99.27 (remember, the goal was to get as close to $100 as possible).

At the register, I asked for the bill to be split into two payments. I put $50 on my Amex Platinum and the $49.42 on my wife’s. The Saks Fifth Avenue credit doesn’t require any minimum spending — it’ll basically just reimburse the first $50 you spend directly with Saks.

After purchasing a Saks bag for 15 cents, we’re just 58 cents away from maxing out our Saks credits. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/The Points Guy

Our Saks credits have since replenished, so now it's my wife’s turn to spend $100. Just be aware that you can't split tender online at the Saks website -- you'll have to be at a brick and mortar, unfortunately.

Note: I have heard that a good use for these credits is chocolate. I've never purchased chocolate from Saks Fifth Avenue, but it does seem like an easy and fun way to spend your $50 credit biannually. I'm curious to hear how you all spend your credits!

Bottom line

The Amex Platinum comes with a ridiculous amount of statement credits — $1,400+ every year, in fact. And while the card's $50 Saks Fifth Avenue credits are easy to use, it’s not a lauded benefit because Saks is such an expensive store to begin with.

If your household has more than one Amex Platinum cardholder, you can much more easily find a decent free item from Saks by splitting your payment at the cash register between two cards. My wife and I combined our credits to buy one article of clothing off the fire sale rack, giving us a $100 value. I do not say I “saved $100” because there’s not the slimmest chance I’d have stepped into that store without the prod of the Amex Platinum.

Still, it’s a nice little bonus for having a card that saves me $1,000+ annually anyway. You can read our super easy-to-follow guide of Amex Platinum benefits to see what I mean.

Related: Your guide to the Amex Platinum Saks Fifth Avenue credit

Featured photo by Getty Images
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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  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
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  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
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Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
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  • Terms apply.
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Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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 Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees