Maximizing the Amex Platinum Saks Credit for Useful Items & More Points
The card benefits version of my kids asking, “Are we there yet?” is when hobbyists ask, “What do you buy with the Amex Platinum Saks Fifth Avenue credit?” I completely understand why people ask this question so often, though. Receiving a $50 credit twice each year (one in the first half of the calendar year, and another in the second half) to purchase something from a high-end department store sounds is comical. It takes some effort to even find any items under $50. My goal, similar to many others’ with this credit, is to maximize it without unnecessarily spending over $50. In my view, free spend shouldn’t create superfluous spend out of pocket. So what are some practical product categories for your Amex Platinum Saks credit? And how can you end up with additional points or cash on top of that free spend?
Update 6/22/22: Reminder that you need to use your credit from the first half of the year by the end of the month. Always best to do it a few days before.
Naturally, let’s start from the travel angle. Saks has historically carried a variety of small travel accessories from brands like Tumi which commonly come in under $50. Think luggage tags, travel umbrellas, and small organizers. Even more products are sub-$50 when routine sales occur. I also prefer a money clip or card carrier over a wallet to combat my previous fat wallet tendencies – high quality versions are usually available under $50 from different brands.
Small Kitchen Items
Saks offers a wide array of kitchen supplies well under $50. I’m a big fan of high quality items from Zwilling J.A. Henckels – knives, glassware, pots, pans, the list goes on. Using my Amex Platinum Saks credits for these items to give as presents has been an easy win. Saks also has a vast assortment of other brands under $50, such as Le Creuset, another favorite.
Saks carries a selection of stationery, notebooks, and writing accessories. Kate Spade and a few other brands offer plenty of items under $50 in this category. My wife and two little ones appreciated the matching Kate Spade notebooks I gave them last year.
The Saks site houses plenty of accessories for men, women, and kids under $50. These include items such as bows and headbands for girls, men’s socks and underwear, and women’s makeup and lotions. The biggest challenge here is identifying the right combination of items to end up right around $50.
More recently, I noticed that Saks carries toys and children’s books. Selection is relatively limited, of course, but many will find feasible options. National Geographic activity sets are also available here. I quit looking around this section when I saw a $175 teddy bear and a plush cell phone.
You’ll find even more categories with items at or under $50, including clothing and footwear, in the Saks site’s sale area. In my view, it’s always worth a quick look here any time you visit the site, since items change often. No doubt, many have found great deals here (at least, in Saks terms).
The Shopping Portal Angle with the Amex Platinum Saks Credit
Like all other online shopping, ensure to go through a portal for your Saks purchase; my favorite is Rakuten’s portal earning Amex Membership Rewards points. I enjoy the portal rewards play on this free spend as much as I enjoy the free merch from Saks. So much so that I stayed up way too late last Sunday night using up more Amex Platinum Saks credits than I care to admit. Why? Because the portal rate was 20x Membership Rewards (and 20% cash back for regular Rakuten portal users), or 1k points for a $50 purchase. Via cashout with the Amex Platinum Card for Schwab, that’s $12.50 back on a $50 order covered by the Amex benefit, plus another 50 points on the normal spend. Not too shabby! And hobbyists who redeem Membership Rewards with travel partners can get much more value out of those points.
Alas, Rakuten rates are back down to 2% as of this writing. Nonetheless, keep tabs on portal rewards and be ready to strike with your Saks credit when the time is right!
Amex Platinum Saks Credit – Conclusion
These are just a few of the many feasible sub-$50 categories and items that work great with the Amex Platinum Saks credit. In addition to the points on normal spend and the Saks merch, any portal earnings can turn this play into a solid money or points maker. I encourage you to mess around on the Saks site and find what products will work for your credit, whether it’s to buy now or be ready to purchase when portal rewards escalate again. Remember, always think in “gift mode” in addition to checking out items for yourself. What are your favorite items to buy with the Amex Platinum Saks credit?