Serve Amex Offers Dilemma
I have a bit of a dilemma. Like many of you, my wife and I were caught in the shutdown waves of Bluebird/Serve cards. My Softcard Serve was shutdown during the first wave and my wife’s One VIP Serve was shutdown in the second wave. Actually, these cards aren’t truly shutdown. The accounts remain open, however no new money can be loaded to them.
Since the shutdowns, I have left both accounts open, because I figure they might be worth keeping to cash out through Amex Offers. Both accounts have four subaccounts, meaning combined they are eligible for 10 Amex Offers.
My total balances are as follows:
- Softcard Serve: $759.25 including subaccounts
- One VIP Serve: $796 including subaccounts.
Paying the Monthly Fees
The main issue I am now running into is monthly fees. (Bluebird doesn’t have a monthly fee so the decision is a bit easier.) Both of these Serve cards have monthly fees that can be waived through loads or direct deposits. While I haven’t tried a direct deposit, I don’t believe it would work since adding new money to the account is blocked. (If someone has a data point let us know.) I also can’t load the cards at Walmart, etc., so basically I am now getting hit with a monthly fee.
The monthly fee on the One VIP card is only $1. Not bad. Unfortunately as of January, 2016 the Softcard Serve has a $4.95 monthly fee and I am now paying it. The question now becomes when it makes sense to close the account to avoid the fee.
When deciding whether or not to close the accounts, I have to make a few considerations.
- Will we see any good Amex Offers which can be loaded via Twitter or the Serve app?
- Are those offers going to be worth taking advantage of on all of my cards. (I have many normal Amex cards I can use and some offers I don’t want to do 40+ times.)
- Will the savings on the Amex Offers make up for the monthly fees?
- Does it make sense to strand $1,500 in these accounts while I wait for good offers to cash them out.
My Probable Strategy
I have been playing the Amex Offers game for a long time and have noticed that the frequency and quality of offers ramps up towards the 4th quarter. For that reason I think I will try to keep these cards open through the end of the year or until the money runs out whichever comes first.
That means that I will probably pay a total of ~$72 in fees for 2016 between the two Serve accounts. Luckily I have already saved that via the Carrabba’s Amex Offer. All 10 of those cards received a $10 credit meaning I am pretty much already in the green for the year. I could still buy gift cards with the Petco offer as well and have enough money for one or two more before the funds run out.
I think the $1 monthly fee makes the One VIP card a no-brainer to keep, but I’ll admit that the $5 fee on the Softcard Serve stings a bit considering that card used to be free. Still, I think keeping these cards until the funds are cashed in via Amex Offers makes sense in the long term. What do you think? Have you kept your Serve/Bluebird accounts alive to cash in offers? Let us know in the comments!
Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.