If You Have an Amex and Aren’t Using This Trick, You’re Missing Out on Free Money
Last month, I visited NewEgg’s site for the first time, but not to buy electronics.
Instead, I bought a $10 Home Depot e-gift card. I did the same on two more separate orders, and later printed out all three gift cards.
There were no fees -- it cost me exactly $30 to get $30 in Home Depot gift cards.
Why not go to Home Depot and spend the money directly? Because I received three $10 statement credits a few days later for buying the gift cards with my three American Express cards.
In other words, I got all my money back and collected $30 worth of free stuff from Home Depot.
Free stuff is great, but most Amex Offers just save you some money. For example, I recently received a $5 statement credit for filling my gas tank at a Mobil gas station.
But in addition to saving money or getting free stuff, there are also ways to make money with these deals.
Here's a look at how you can save and make money with Amex Offers.
The Basics of Using Amex Offers
Log into your American Express account and scroll down until you see "Amex Offers & Benefits."
You'll find offers tailored to your spending profile and location. For example, my personal card has 70 available offers right now, including a $50 statement credit for staying at a nearby resort. My business cards each have around 40 available offers.
When you see an offer you like, simply click the button that says "Add to Card" and you're all set. Just remember to use that card for the necessary purchase.
Not sure if you'll use the offer? Add it anyway; there's no limit to the number of offers you can add.
For example, today I added an Amazon offer that says, "Spend $15 or more; get $15 back." Read the fine print for exclusions and other conditions. In this case any purchase counts. but the offer expires in a month. I'll probably buy a filter for our air purifier, since it’s time to replace it. I'll use that card and get a $15 statement credit.
Shortly after you buy something, you'll be notified by email that you earned the statement credit, which is paid later.
"Savings will appear on your statement within 90 days after you make a qualifying purchase with your connected card at a participating merchant,” American Express explains. But in my experience, it’s never taken more than a week for the credit to show up.
On the Amex Facebook page, you just click "Add to Card" once you've connected your account. To add an offer on Twitter, you just tweet using a specific hashtag.
Using Multiple Amex Cards
If you have more than one American Express card, you'll sometimes get the same offers on each. It's how I used all three of my Amex cards to get $10 back for each of three $10 Home Depot gift cards.
Sometimes offers are unique to one of my cards, or show up on just two of the three. I have different logins for each card, and I suggest doing the same if you get another American Express card.
If all your Amex accounts are under one login and you click "Add to Card," the offer will disappear from your other cards, so you can only use it once.
You can avoid this problem by logging in to your account three times from three tabs, and then adding the offer to each card before closing them, says Doctor of Credit’s William Charles.
How to Save Even More Money
To make the most of Amex Offers, combine them with other savings strategies.
It helps that you still get Amex points when you use the card for an offer. But you can do even better.
For example, I recently used an Amex offer to get $15 for spending $50 at Petco.com.
But first, I waited for a sale on the cat food brand we buy (15% off) and searched for a coupon code online just before placing an order.
In this case, I found one for $10 off any Petco purchase of $75 or more. I bought a bunch of food and snacks for our two cats. Here's the breakdown:
- Normal Cost: $98.87 ($92.40 + sales tax of $6.47)
- Subtract sale discount of 15% (from $92.40): -$13.86
- Subtract coupon savings: -$10.00
- Add Sales Tax (7% of new total of 68.54): +$4.80
- Total at Checkout: $73.34
- Subtract Amex Offer Rebate: -$15.00
- Subtract cash back on card (1% of $73.34): -$0.73
- Final Cost: $57.61 -- A total discount of $41.26, or almost 42% off the original price -- on products I normally buy anyway.
Making Money With Amex Offers
There are a number of ways to make small profits from Amex Offers.
First, there are offers where you get a credit for any purchase, with no minimum specified. In those cases, simply buy something that costs less than the statement credit you’ll receive.
For example, it was once possible to get a $10 statement credit for spending $1 on TicketMaster.com (the poster used a donation "purchase," but I've seen $0.50 tickets on the site for some events).
A $9 profit may not seem like much for the effort, but you can do everything in a few minutes from home. Also, you can use more than one card. With six cards, you could’ve made $54 for thirty minutes in front of your computer.
You could also sell the things you buy using your Amex Offers. For example, suppose you get a total of $50 in statement credits for spending $50 on merchandise, perhaps using several cards. Your net cost is zero.
Even if you sell the stuff at a rummage sale, you make something.
Another strategy is buying and reselling gift cards.
William Charles uses this example: Recently, there was an Amex Offer for a $25 statement credit for spending $75 online at Gap. If you bought a $75 Gap gift card, your net cost would be $50 after the statement credit.
If you then sold the card for $60 (a 20% discount) to a website that buys gift cards, your profit would be $10.
Use three Amex cards and you could’ve netted $30 total for perhaps 30 minutes of work. And offers like this one are typical.
Your New Amex Offers Routine
Check your account to look for new offers at least once each week.
Some expire quickly, while others run for months. Offers made on Twitter and Facebook are usually limited to a certain number of takers, so check those more often.
Remember: If it's a particularly good offer, add it to all your Amex cards.
Your Turn: Do you have an American Express card and have you used Amex Offers to save or make money?
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
Steve Gillman is the author of "101 Weird Ways to Make Money" and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. He's been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).