The definitive guide to saving money with your American Express card

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From earning travel rewards or cash back, to relying on purchase protection and trip insurance, there are many benefits to having a variety of credit cards in your wallet. But aside from all the common perks, there’s one lesser known money-saving opportunity that might trump them all: Amex Offers.

Amex Offers are available to most American Express card holders — consumer and business alike — and provide instant savings or extra rewards on many common purchases you make with the card. Yes, that means as long as you have at least one American Express card in your wallet, you can take advantage of these lucrative money-saving opportunities.

Depending on your spending habits, you might be in for quite a surprise as you watch your savings add up over the course of the year. But how exactly do Amex Offers work?

Simply put, Amex Offers are offers that have been curated by American Express, and allow you to receive a statement credit or bonus points on select purchases when using your American Express card.

Amex Offers are available across hundreds of merchants and change periodically. Some Amex Offers are open to everyone with an Amex card, while others are targeted to specific card holders. But there’s no limit to the amount of money you can save or bonus points you can earn across all your available Amex Offers, though each individual offer usually has a cap of its own.

Related: Get up to 40% off at Amazon with targeted American Express cards.

Almost all US-issued American Express cards are eligible for Amex Offers, including both consumer cards and business cards, as well as authorized users. However, American Express corporate cards, gift cards and prepaid cards are ineligible.

Here’s a sampling of some popular personal and business American Express cards, each of which also come with many other useful benefits along with access to Amex Offers:

American Express Consumer Cards:

American Express® Gold Card
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Hilton Honors American Express Card
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

American Express Business Cards:

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Related: Earn bonus points for both eating in and dining out with the American Express Gold card.

Log into your American Express account — either at the website or through the Amex app — and navigate to the Amex Offers section. On a web browser, you’ll have to scroll down the page to get to the “Amex Offers & Benefits” section, while on the app you’ll want to click on the “Offers” tab at the bottom.

Once you’re in the Amex Offers section of your account, you’ll see all of your available offers, some of which are targeted to your specific account. You also might see different offers available on each of your American Express cards if you have more than one.

Amex Offers are listed on the American Express website, as well as in the Amex app.

PHOTO:
American Express

You’ll only see a maximum of 100 offers available on any one of your Amex cards, but you may be able to get more offers to appear after you enroll in one or more of the existing offers.

Amex Offers are usually structured in one of three ways:

  • Spend $X at a specific merchant or category and get $Y back
  • Spend $X at a specific merchant or category and get bonus points or miles
  • Earn bonus points for every dollar spent at a specific merchant or category

To register for an Amex Offer, you have to add it to your Amex card by clicking on the “Add to Card” button next to the offer you want. Once you register for a specific offer on one card, it will disappear from all the other American Express cards in your account — you can only register for each individual Amex Offer once per customer, not per card. So be sure you’re adding the offer to the correct Amex card.

However, there’s one caveat to the rule. If you have both an American Express that earns Membership Rewards points and also a card that earns points and miles for a specific airline or hotel — sometimes known as a “cobranded” card — you might find slightly different offers from the same merchant on each card. In that case, you can utilize both of them.

For example, right now there is an offer from Wayfair on my Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, which earns Membership Rewards points. The offer is “Spend $100, earn 2,000 bonus points.”

One version of an Amex Offer at Wayfair that earns bonus points.

One version of an Amex Offer at Wayfair that earns bonus points.

PHOTO:
American Express

However, on my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, I also have a Wayfair offer, but the terms are different. In this case, the offer is “Spend $100, get $20 back.”

A different Amex Offer at Wayfair with a statement credit.

A different Amex Offer at Wayfair with a statement credit.

PHOTO:
American Express

Although both offers are for the same merchant, they are classified differently in Amex’s system, allowing you to take advantage of one for bonus points and the other for a statement credit.

Related: American Express adds new small business shopping credits to its cards.

After you add an Amex Offer to your card and make an eligible purchase at the respective merchant, you’ll typically receive an email or text from American Express letting you know that you just redeemed your Amex Offer. The message generally states that you’ll see the statement credit or bonus points appear on your account within 90 days, but typically they show up faster, within a week or two.

Note that enrollment in an Amex Offer can sometimes be limited to a set number of people, so if you see an offer, you’ll want to add it to your card immediately. Once you’ve added it to your card, you’re guaranteed to have access to it until you use it or it expires. Enrollment can be filled pretty quickly on the most popular offers, and if that happens, the offer will disappear from your account if you haven’t added it to your card in time.

You’re also not required to utilize an offer if you add it to your card, so there’s no reason to wait to add it to your card. It’s best to register for every offer that might pertain to you as soon as you see it, with the hopes that it might possibly save you money down the road.

It

It’s easy to take advantage of Amex Offers.

PHOTO:
American Express

Although Amex Offers are pretty straightforward, here are some tips to fully maximize them. For starters, you’ll want to make sure to read the terms of an offer before you use it, as there can be slight nuances. Some offers require you to spend the minimum required amount in a single transaction, while other offers allow you to spread out your purchases across the time you add the offer to your card and the expiration date of the offer.

Typically, if an Amex Offer requires you to spend the money in a single transaction, the terms will state: “Get a one-time $X statement credit by using your enrolled Card to make a single purchase of $Y or more.” But if you can spread out your purchases over time, the terms will state: “Get a one-time $X statement credit by using your enrolled Card to spend a minimum of $Y in one or more transactions.”

You’ll also want to read the terms to know what types of purchases qualify. Some offers allow you to make a purchase either in-store or online to utilize the offer, while others are limited to only one or the other.

Depending on the merchant and the terms, there are times you can also purchase a gift card to trigger the offer. Purchasing a gift card will allow you to receive the statement credit or bonus points now, and then use the gift card at a future time.

Be cautious, however, of purchasing gift cards online to a particular merchant, as sometimes retailers use third-party companies to administer and sell their gift cards. If a gift card transaction appears on your Amex statement as coming from a third-party company instead of directly from the retailer, it won’t trigger the Amex Offer.

The best thing about Amex Offers is that you can often use them to double- or triple-dip your savings on a single purchase, which is known as “stacking” discounts. Since statement credits or bonus points from Amex Offers are awarded by American Express, you can usually combine an offer with any other money-saving coupons that you might find for that specific merchant.

For example, with the Wayfair offer mentioned above, if you happen to stumble upon a separate coupon code that you can use at Wayfair, you can apply that code during the checkout process to lower the price, and still trigger the Amex Offer as well. You just need to make sure that your final cost after the coupon code is applied still meets the minimum spend requirement of the Amex Offer.

Another way to combine offers is to go through an online shopping portal. With a shopping portal, you’ll receive cash back when you go through their site first instead of going directly to the merchant’s site. Online shopping portals track your purchase and then award additional cash back or bonus points — depending on the portal you go through — on top of your usual credit card rewards, which can result in extra savings.

You can save thousands of dollars over time with Amex Offers.

You can save thousands of dollars over time with Amex Offers.

PHOTO:
American Express

Ultimately, I’ve saved thousands of dollars throughout the years using Amex Offers, including purchases at Amazon, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, my local grocery store, Instacart, eBags and many many others. Checking Amex Offers is now part of my morning routine, and the few minutes I spend on it each day has been well worth it.

For me, using Amex Offers easily offsets those pesky credit card annual fees — on every single card, every single year — and have allowed me to save even more. So, if you’re new to Amex Offers, it’s never too late to start saving.

Find out which credit cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2020.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

— to www.cnn.com

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