Here at TPG, we spend a lot of time focusing on redeeming points for travel, but the savviest points experts are the ones who know how to take advantage of every deal and save money — even when they’re not traveling.
One of the best options for saving money and earning some bonus points on a wide variety of purchases is taking advantage of offers on American Express credit cards.
Today, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to enroll in and redeem these extra discounts so that you can reap the benefits of potentially saving hundreds — or thousands — of dollars on everyday purchases.
What are Amex Offers?
All American Express cards, including core ones such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and cobranded cards such as the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, come with access to Amex Offers. You’ll see all the Amex Offers available to you if you scroll down to “Amex Offers & Benefits” on your online account page or click on the “Offers” tab on the Amex app.
These offers come from a wide variety of merchants, including travel providers, restaurants, and clothing and jewelry stores. Generally speaking, Amex Offers come in one of four forms:
- Spend $X, get Y number of bonus points
- Spend $X, get $Y back
- Get additional points for each dollar you spend at a select merchant
- Get X% back by using the link provided
These offers are targeted, both to the individual cardholder and the specific card. You can tell this right away because each of your cards should have a different number of offers available. The maximum number of offers you’ll see on any card at a given time is 100 offers. If you aren’t seeing anything that interests you, adding offers to your card can free up space for new offers to appear.
How to filter your offers
You can refine your offers by specific categories, such as “expiring soon,” “travel” and “dining”.
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Previously, there was a drop-down menu with more limited filtering options. This is a better user experience for those who want to see which offers are available and keep track of the ones already added to your card.
Based on my experience and a number of data points I’ve seen online, it appears that Amex sometimes targets the most valuable offers — that is, the most points, the largest discounts or the easiest merchants to redeem at — to its core Membership Rewards-earning cards, such as the Platinum card or the American Express® Gold Card. Eligibility for these offers is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
There isn’t anything you can do if your account isn’t targeted for an offer you want. Let this serve as a reminder to check all your cards so you don’t miss out on great offers.
How to enroll and redeem Amex Offers
Although each offer is slightly different depending on the merchant, all Amex Offers start with some version of the following terms and conditions:
Must first add offer to Card and then use same Card to redeem. Only U.S.-issued American Express® Cards are eligible. Limit 1 enrolled Card per Card Member across all American Express offer channels. Your enrollment of an eligible American Express Card for this offer extends only to that Card. Valid online only. Valid only on US website. Valid only on purchases made in US dollars. Excludes authorized retailers. Excludes wholesale purchases. See merchant website for shipping policy. Some merchants may not ship to all areas. Offer is non-transferable. Limit of 1 statement credit per Card Member.
Credit cards come with a lot of fine print that most of us don’t bother reading, but this is one time when it’s really worth bringning out your glasses, putting on a pot of coffee and sitting down to study the terms.
There are a few important things to know:
Enrollment is limited
Even though the offer might be showing on your account, Amex may have a quota for how many people can enroll in this offer. Once that limit is reached, you may not be able to register. If you think there’s any chance you’ll use this offer, go ahead and add it to your card. Nothing happens if you end up not using the offer, but you lock in the ability to do so later.
You must add an offer and then use the same card to redeem
If you have multiple Amex cards, keep track of which card each offer was added to. I currently have two different versions of the Platinum card. If I add an Amex Offer to my Schwab Platinum card, I won’t be able to redeem it if I use my “regular” Amex Platinum. You can start a very simple spreadsheet to track which card you’ve enrolled in which offer, or you can go back to your card on the Amex website and click “Added to Card” to check.
One offer per cardmember across all American Express offer channels
Even though the terms have always read this way, it used to be possible to add an Amex Offer to multiple cards and receive the credit as many times as you were targeted. Amex has been cracking down on this practice, so even if you are able to add the offer to multiple cards, the system will likely only give you credit the first time you use it.
You won’t have any luck calling in and asking Amex to manually credit the second card, either, so it’s best not to get greedy. Stick to a single card.
You should carefully pick the card to which you add an offer. I always try to load my offers onto my Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express to earn 2 Membership Rewards points on my first $50,000 of purchases per calendar year (then 1 point per dollar).
However, if an offer is related to Marriott, I’ll add it to my Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card. The same applies to offers related to restaurants and U.S. supermarkets — I add these to my Amex Gold card as this card earns bonus points in these categories.
You can also leverage Amex Offers to help meet your minimum spending requirement on a new credit card.
The rest of the terms and conditions repeat this point a number of times until you have it clear: One Amex Offer per account, period.
On top of these general terms, a specific offer will have a few terms worth noting. Each offer has an expiration date, and many travel offers have geographical restrictions, such as only valid for transactions in US dollars or only valid at properties in North America.
You’re usually required to purchase directly from the merchant to receive the offer. In the case above, making a Marriott hotel booking through hotels.com or Expedia won’t earn you the discount.
Some offers even require you to purchase through a unique American Express link, so it really pays to do your homework before you make a purchase.
Many merchants exclude certain items, such as gift cards or promotional items, from the offer. You also have to be careful about how your transaction is processed, as Amex will only give you the cash rebate or bonus points if it receives information that appropriately identifies your transaction.
Affiliate links, such as online shopping portals, and promo codes at checkout may sometimes disqualify an Amex Offer. Here’s what an Amex Offer for The Shade Store specifies:
You may not receive the statement credit if we receive inaccurate information or are otherwise unable to identify your purchase as qualifying for the offer. For example, you may not receive the statement credit if (a) the merchant uses a third-party to sell their products or services; or (b) the merchant uses a third-party to process or submit your transaction to us (e.g., using mobile or wireless card readers); or (c) you choose to make a purchase using a third-party payment account or make a purchase using a mobile or digital wallet.
It will usually take up to 90 days for your bonus points or a statement credit to be posted to your account. But you should get an email almost instantly after the transaction posts, confirming that you’ve triggered the offer.
How to maximize and stack Amex Offers
Amex Offers can be a great way to save money on purchases you were already planning to make, but just because something is on sale doesn’t automatically make it a good deal. For instance, I would love to get 20% back on a stay at a fancy Waldorf Astoria hotel. On the flip side, I live in an apartment, so an offer for a wireless dog fence doesn’t help me.
Amex Offers can be a great deal on their own, but you can double- or even triple-dip to get a much better return. You can use Amex Offers in addition to online shopping portals to earn extra cash back or bonus miles on your purchase. You can also leverage credit card bonus categories to earn bonus points in addition to cash back.
However, as noted previously, the offer terms may state that additional stacking — such as through online portals and promo codes — could disqualify you from triggering the Amex Offer. So, read the terms carefully.
You can even stack Amex Offers with other Amex perks, such as the annual statement credits at Saks Fifth Avenue on the Platinum Card and Dell (for U.S. purchases) that come with the Platinum Card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, respectively.
Enrollment required for select benefits.
We often talk about how to justify paying the annual fee on a credit card, especially for Amex’s impressive lineup of premium cards. One way to recoup those fees is by taking advantage of Amex Offers. By redeeming these offers, you could entirely offset the fee on some expensive — yet highly rewarding — cards.
As long as you don’t spend money unnecessarily, Amex Offers can be an incredible tool to save money on purchases you are already planning to make. They can also help you save money on upcoming trips.
Additional reporting by Ryan Wilcox, Chris Dong and Ethan Steinberg.