American Express Credits
For years, American Express has made us work harder to receive card benefits. Instead of calling it a coupon book, complaining, and giving up, I’ve primarily chosen to put in a bit of extra effort to maximize the changing benefits. Often these benefits come in the form of American Express credits. But over time, many of these credits have devalued for my family’s situation, and I bet I’m not alone. Today, I’m describing what American Express credits have devalued most for us and why. On the flip side, I’m bringing up a few that are maintaining value.
Platinum Hotel Credit
Offering a $200 credit for a Fine Hotels and Resorts or Hotel Collection stay (minimum two nights for the latter), I’ve generally enjoyed using this benefit since its rollout. But it has devalued in two major ways. First, room rates have skyrocketed since the credit’s launch. Finding anything near $200 nightly is quite challenging, and discovering anything in the $300-400 range is more of a chore, as well. Secondly, Amex has made the credit tougher to use. They’ve been much slower to offer advance availability. Earlier this year, an Amex Travel chat agent told me most properties wouldn’t be offered for 2024 starting until November 2023 (now). I’m still seeing less availability for next year than I saw in prior years.
Business Platinum Wireless Credit
Full disclosure, I’ve enjoyed practically zeroing out our family’s wireless bill with the Business Platinum credit. But my wireless provider has an upper ceiling for wallet balance, and we’ve almost hit that number. Very soon, the value I can obtain from that benefit will substantially decrease, or maybe disappear entirely.
Business Platinum Dell Credit
Every six months, the biannual $200 Dell credit is less valuable for us. After each shopping trip, there’s less we need from Dell (if we ever needed anything from them). We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel now. Second, it’s often tougher and always more time-consuming for us to get orders through these days. We’ve mostly given up on online orders, as Dell quickly cancels them most of the time. Instead, I’ve opted to deal with one helpful Dell rep. She’s great at her job, but the process involves a combination of emails and calls, all while time sucks away.
Airline Fee Credit – Platinum and Business Platinum
Knock on wood, I’ve had no issue using the annual $200 airline fee credits which each Platinum version provides. The biggest risk here is I probably rely too much on my favorite method. If that option disappears, I’ll be scrambling for alternatives. But things are still working, and I won’t fret yet.
Uber Credit – Platinum and Gold
The user friendliness of the Uber credit endures. Monthly, the credit from any Platinum or Gold in my Uber account is automatically loaded to the wallet. The monthly credit amount is used first, ensuring individuals can most easily consume their allotments. While prices continue to increase, I’ve found that Uber Eats, where we use most of our credit, still offers solid discounts.
Platinum Digital Entertainment Credit
The suite of eligible retailers has changed over time but is still deep enough for us. More importantly, each service is another opportunity to find a deeply discounted rate to stack with the credit. The current services eligible for the $20 monthly credit are Peacock, SiriusXM, The New York Times, Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, and The Wall Street Journal. (You can use Hulu to get HBO Max too).
The biannual $50 Saks credit is hanging on for us. Even before Saks increased the minimum order for free shipping to $100, we’ve opted to use this credit on gift cards in-store. It’s a longer play, but we’re able to “save up” for more substantial items without going out of pocket to use this credit.
While other American Express credits exist, these ones are devaluing and maintaining the most for us. A new one on the scene that I enjoy is the Business Gold’s $20 monthly Flexible Business Credit, one I use for gift cards at office supply stores. Like much else in our hobby, the American Express credits game is a nuanced one. And, undoubtedly, it will continue to change and require more time to maximize. Understandably, this is enough for many individuals to tap out and close their cards. Indeed, I always leave that option on the table and regularly use it, primarily after the year two annual fee hits. But with these credits, I’ll gladly take what Amex gives me. How are you feeling about the various American Express credits these days?
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