Monday Morning Miles Talk is a regular series that has some smaller, more quirky ideas to kick off the work week. These are essentially random ideas that I wanted to share with you. Here are the previous entries.
- How To Maximize Your Flexible Spending Account
- Increase Spend For American Express Sign Up Bonuses
- Mining For Lost Rewards
- How I did Selling Those Kohl’s Personal Appliances
- Reselling Apple Airpods at the End of Their Life Cycle
- Unexpected Ways I Have Earned Points
- Can You go to Disney for Free?
- Why I Love Those Best Buy Gift Card Deals
- My love hate relationship with the Google Express offer
- Kroger Gift Card Sale Results
- My 100th Post
- How to get $30 Worth of Free Merchandise at Best Buy
- How to get discounted Chick-fil-A
Are Membership Reward Amex Offers a Good Deal?
I love Amex MR Offers, you love Amex MR Offers, we all love Amex MR Offers…but should we? Are they really good deals or are we just buying Membership Reward points at a discount?
I would like to take a look at a few examples that are currently available and come to a conclusion on these questions. My thinking may not match what your thinking but I would love to have that discussion about it in the comments section!
Saks Fifth Avenue Amex Offer
There is currently an Amex Offer for Saks Fifth Avenue. The offer gives you a credit of $50 when you spend $250 at Saks Fifth Avenue. There is a second offer on some Membership Rewards earning cards where you get 5,000 MR points instead of $50 after spending $250. This offer seems to come around every year around the holiday season. I personally love this offer and take advantage of it every year…but I prefer the $50 in credit.
When this offer comes out I usually buy gift cards in store. I link my cards to my Ebates account to get the in store portal payout as well, extra tip there :)! I then turn around and sell those gift cards. The best public price offered is 82% from Card Kangaroo so we will use that amount in our example. People with bulk selling relationships can usually do better than 82%.
At 82% you would get $205 for your $250 gift card. That is a quick and easy profit of $5, plus whatever you get from Ebates, plus whatever points you earn for the purchase. That isn’t a bad deal but what if it is a card that offers 5,000 MR points instead of cash back? That would mean you are paying $45 for 5,000 MR points or a cost of $0.009 per point.
Almost 1 cent per point is not a great deal. That number could be reduced some if the Ebates portal pays out, but there is no guarantee there. The cash offer is superior here since you can usually earn MR points at a much cheaper rate than .9 cents a piece.
Exxon/Mobil Amex Offer
The Saks Fifth Avenue offer was a more obvious conclusion so let’s take a look at the Exxon/Mobil offer. With this offer you get 1,000 MR points after spending $25 at the pump at one of their locations. Sounds like a great deal, I mean most people need to buy gas. Free points!!!
Not so fast, I discussed in an earlier article on how to get fuel at a discount. You can normally get gas at a minimum of a 13% discount. More if you go to a station that treats gift cards as a cash purchase and gives you the 10 cents off per gallon. You also have to take into account whether or not Exxon/Mobil is higher priced in your area, they are in mine. So let’s say you can get gas 15% cheaper at another gas station.
On a $25 purchase that is $3.75 in savings. That means you are essentially purchasing 1,000 MR points for $3.75 or a cost of $0.00375. Now most people wouldn’t have a problem purchasing points at that price. You have to try really hard to get a value of less than that per point…and even then it may not be possible. Maybe a toaster would get you less than $0.00375 per point?
The American Express Amex Offers that offer Membership Rewards points can be an easy way to rack up some points quickly. But, they may not always be the best deal. So make sure you crunch the numbers before taking the plunge.
I personally value the cash offers more because, cash is king! You are getting an instant return and I am not a fan of buying points. Don’t get me wrong I still take advantage of most of the Membership Reward paying Amex Offers when they make sense. I do make sure that I use up the cash ones first though. If you have enough offers split between the two types you can usually make enough of a profit from the cash offers to offset your purchase of points with the MR offers.
What do you think? Are all Amex Offers that offer MR rewards worth pursuing if they are less than 1 cent per points? Do you usually crunch the numbers before making the purchase? Or do you consider them “free points” that are a throw in with your regular purchase? Let me know in the comments section.