Savvy Saturday: Maximizing the Saks Fifth Avenue credit on the Amex Platinum (with a partner)
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Featured photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images
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