How To Maximize The New Amex Shipping, Wireless And Streaming Credits
American Express recently rolled out new perks, so let’s look at how to maximize the new shipping, wireless and streaming credits. What are they? Which cards have them? How much do you get, and what really works/doesn’t work? We’ll look at the perks Amex rolled out for various cards and then details on how to best use them to your advantage.
What Are The Credits?
On May 1, 2020, American Express announced new credits available on many of their credit cards. Given that many people aren’t traveling, paying annual fees for travel perks on your credit cards sounds like a bad proposition. The writing was on the wall that people would cancel or downgrade their cards when the annual fees rolled around. Why pay for something you’re not using?
To head this off, Amex announced tons of new perks on their cards. The perks vary by card. Some are increases to existing benefits, while others are entirely new. They even allowed you to use existing credits in new ways for some of the cards. Here’s a recap:
Wireless and Streaming Services
- Platinum Card – $20 per month credit each for wireless and for streaming, May to December 2020
- Business Platinum Card – $20 per month credit for wireless, May to December 2020
- Green Card – $10 per month credit for wireless, May to December 2020
Restaurants and Supermarkets
- Delta personal credit cards – 4X miles at U.S. supermarkets, May to July 2020
- Marriott Bonvoy & Brilliant personal credit cards – 6X points at U.S. supermarkets, May to December 2020 ($7,500 limit)
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant – restaurant (including take out & delivery) purchases from June to August 2020 count toward the annual $300 Marriott credit
- Hilton Surpass & Aspire – 12X points at U.S. supermarkets, May to JUly 2020
- Hilton Aspire – restaurant (including take out & delivery) purchases from June to August 2020 count toward the annual $250 Hilton resort credit
Additionally, American Express announced that all bonus points earned between May 1 and December 31, 2020 will count as base points for elite and lifetime status qualifications. This applies to all bonus points from eligible purchases using any Hilton American Express Card.
American Express also announced increased values on existing credits with the Business Platinum Card. Here are the details:
- Dell Credits – $100 in additional credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020 and $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and December 31, 2020. This is in addition to the existing $100 in the first and second halves of the year, so up to $400 total.
- Wireless Credits – $20 per month credit, May to December 2020
- U.S. Shipping Credits – $20 per month credit, May to December 2020
All of these have terms and limitations. One of the most important parts to note is that they must be with U.S. merchants, so if purchasing online make sure you don’t get routed to FedEx Canada, for example, or this won’t count for your shipping credits.
Where Can I Use These Credits?
Now that we know what the credits are, let’s use them. It immediately jumps out at us that $20 won’t cover most people’s cell phone bills, so let’s examine what works and what doesn’t for maximizing these new credits.
Doctor of Credit is collecting data points, and so far there’s nothing Earth-shattering. What you’d think of for the credits typically applies. By category, here are areas where you CAN use your credits:
All major U.S. carriers code as wireless services for payments. Business, mobile, and even home phone services are receiving the credits. However, internet-phone bundles or home internet services from phone companies (ex: AT&T U-Verse, Verizon Fios) do not work. Rare data points on the latter work, but note that it’s not the majority.
Additionally, less common carriers like Boost, Cricket, Xfinity Mobile, most pre-paid services, and even in-store purchases of accessories work. The same applies for gift cards to these providers. Services that directly say “internet” in the name do not work, however. Lastly, Google Fi service, which I use and have good results with after a bumpy start, works as ‘streaming’ but not for your wireless credits.
Update: Amex reps say Google Fi should work towards wireless credits now. Others have reported it working already but not on auto pay.
As noted above, Google Fi works for your streaming services credit, which is odd but good to know. Amazon music & movie payments work, but buying a gift card or reloading your balance will not. Neither does an Amazon Prime sign-up/annual payment.
Purchases through Apple entertainment sources, such as books, music, apps, TV, and subscriptions all code for streaming services and will give you the reimbursement credit. The major streaming services also work for streaming services credits (though they also have free trials right now, too). Things like NBA and MLB streaming services will credit, and so will book purchases through Kindle, which I found surprising. Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and the like all work. Lastly, SiriusXM works when paying for the service but not when buying a gift card for it.
This is the strangest category for understanding how these credits are doled out. Paying online or in store at USPS works, as does paying for your PO Box rental. However, online shipments through eBay shipping or PayPal shipping labels don’t work. Neither do purchases inside FedEx stores. Postage meters for anyone with a Pitney Bowes machine should be reimbursed by the credit.
How Can I Maximize These Credits?
Now that we know what works, let’s use them. $20 isn’t going to cover your cell phone bill (not for most people), but here are some simple ideas for maximizing these credits:
- Make partial payments. If you have credits on multiple cards, make partial payments from each of them. If you have the Platinum Card, your spouse has the Business Platinum, and one of you has the Green Card, make $20, $20, $10 payments to max this out. As long as all of them come before your bill is due, you’re fine with the phone company AND you’ll get the $50 in credits from American Express.
- Buy gift cards at the supermarket. This is an extra step, sure, but it can amass extra points. Say you’ve used your $20 credit for your cell phone bill, and you still have $50 left to pay. No matter how you slice it, you must spend $50. Earn as many points as you can from those $50. Look at buying a gift card for your cell phone provider from the supermarket. Get extra points during this elevated bonus period. Spend $50, get extra points, and use the gift card to pay your bill.
Final Thoughts On Amex Shipping, Wireless And Streaming Credits
The new shipping, wireless and streaming credits on Amex cards should help you save money every month. If you are able to use these in full every month, that should offset the annual fee on any Amex card in your pocket. At the end of the day, that’s the idea. Amex wants you to forget that you’re not using the travel perks on these cards. In order for you to not get upset about that and cancel the card, Amex has given us these new perks. Balance the savings against the cost of the annual fee and then do what’s best for you.