If you have at least one American Express credit card, this is the time of year you’ll want to be sure to pay attention to the various Amex Offers that are available. There have already been some very profitable ones and there may be more to come! The best ones will fit with your regular spending and save you some money, but several others might allow you to make a little cash profit while earning points by flipping gift cards. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll break down what Amex Offers are, how to enroll in them, and how to be prepared when the next big one shows up.
Amex Offer Basics
Almost all American Express card products are able to be registered into various promotions that Amex calls “Amex Offers”. This includes credit cards issued directly by Amex, Amex cards issued by other institutions (such as the BBVA NBA card), and even prepaid Amex products such as their Serve card. Not only are the original cards available to enroll in these offers, but each authorized user can also be enrolled individually! This allows you to double up (or more) on the very best offers and take advantage of them numerous times.
So what kind of offers are we talking about? Some recent ones include $50 off of $250 at Best Buy, $20 off of $100 at Staples, 10% off your cable/satellite bill, $30 off $150 at Lowe’s, and many many more. If you were going to make these purchases anyway, then adding the offer is like getting free money for using the right card! In some cases, even if you weren’t planning on making a purchase at these places, you can buy different gift cards to then resell and make a profit. I’ll get more into that below.
There are 2 main ways to enroll in Amex Offers. The first is to log into your account either through Amex’s website or mobile app and then find the “Amex Offers/Offers” section near the bottom of the webpage or app.
This area will list out all of the different Amex Offers that your particular card was targeted for, but if you see an offer you like don’t add it quite yet! Each of the cards in your account will have their own set of Amex Offers, sometimes the same offer will be on multiple cards and other times only certain cards will be targeted. Unfortunately, once you add a specific offer to one card, it will disappear from the other cards preventing you from adding it again, BUT there is a work-around to still add it to multiple cards on the same account!
In order to add the same offer to multiple cards on the same Amex account, simply open up multiple tabs in the same browser and select a different card in each tab. Scroll down to the offer on each page, but don’t add any of them yet. Once you have a separate browser tab for each card showing the offer, then you can go one by one and add each offer without refreshing any of the pages. If you did it correctly, you will now be able to see the “Added” offer on each card and you can now use it!
The second common way to add Amex Offers to cards is through Twitter. It can be a bit of effort to set up initially, but once it’s up and running it will be very simple to add new offers to all of your cards at the same time. For each card, you will need to create a new Twitter account, then visit this webpage to sync an Amex card to that account. I just picked an easy to remember username (like “AmexOffers1”) and just incremented the number at the end for each additional card. Once all of your cards are synced to different Twitter accounts, you will probably want to link them all to the same login using TweetDeck. TweetDeck allows you to post to multiple Twitter accounts at the same time which makes adding any offer to many cards a 1-step process.
Staying On Top of New Amex Offers
Once you have set up all of your Amex cards with Twitter accounts and linked them all through TweetDeck (or decided that’s way to much work and moved on with your life), you now simply have to wait until there is a new Amex Offer that you’re interested in. You could stay vigilant and frequently check your Amex account(s) and the AmexOffers Twitter bot OR you can leave that to the professionals and just leech of of their hard work!
The best source I’ve found for the latest Amex Offers that you have to jump on quick to have a chance at (although that recent Staples one did last longer than I expected…) is Doc’s Hot Deals twitter account and Frequent Miler’s Quick Deals feed. Both of these can be set up to send notifications to your phone, email you, text you, or however else you prefer to be contacted when a potential huge deal is first discovered.
For all of the non-“OMG you must add this deal now!” offers, each of their respective full blogs often cover the groupings of Amex Offers that come out on a regular basis, usually noting which ones you can easily turn a profit on.
Saving Money on Everyday Spending with Amex Offers
If you’re going to be shopping anywhere that has an Amex Offer, it’s usually as simple as just using the card(s) you added the offer to, but sometimes you have to get a little creative. For example, let’s look at two recent Amex Offers that I plan to use against my regular everyday spending: Panera and AT&T.
Becky and I eat at Panera on a fairly regular basis, but we’ve never spent $100 on a single purchase like the offer requires (some offers allow multiple purchases to add up to the minimum, while others don’t). Not to worry though because we can simply buy a $100 Panera gift card in store and then use it the next several times we visit! This does have the added hassle of keeping track of a gift card, but also has the added benefit of not having to worry about the expiration date of the Amex Offer. For 20% off, I’m happy to take on the extra hassle (especially since we can just add it to the Panera app and not worry about carrying around or remembering to bring an actual card).
For the AT&T offer, we also have to get a little creative, but the payoff is pretty significant at 33% off! The typical cell phone bill for the two of us is only ~$100, but this Amex Offer requires a single purchase of at least $150. Fortunately, AT&T allows you to overpay your bill and simply counts the extra towards the next statement (or statements!). At 33% off, I’m happy to front-load a little money to AT&T and let them hold on to it. I’m certainly not going to get anywhere near that return with it sitting in a bank account!
Also note that each of these offers can be used up to 3 times. While I’ll probably just use the Panera one once given our rate of eating there, I’ll certainly be maxing out the AT&T one with the full $450.
Never forget to think outside the box a little if the Amex Offer doesn’t quite line up with your needs. Using gift cards to get the right minimum or extend the expiration date can be really powerful and will typically work with most offers. Another trick is to split payments if your purchase will be higher than the minimum required. For example, if I needed to spend $200 on catering Panera, they may let me split the payment between two different Amex cards (each with the offer). Overpaying is fairly specific to something like a phone or cable bill, but can also come in handy occasionally.
Just be sure to read the terms of each offer to make sure you’re staying in the rules and maximizing your return, especially if you plan to use it across many different cards. Always start slow or look for other’s people data points if you’re unsure.
Making Money with Amex Offers
If you stumble across an amazing Amex Offer, but don’t think you’ll actually use it for your own spending, there’s always a chance you could simply profit by flipping gift cards! I’ve written pretty extensively about the process of Gift Card Arbitrage, so I won’t go into too much detail again, but the basic process involves buying a retail gift card at a discount, then reselling it to an online exchange to get your money back and sometimes more. Often times you don’t even have to leave your house to make it work, but sometimes it’s worth a trip. I’ll walk through a couple recent examples using Amex Offers to give you an idea of what’s possible.
$12.50 in Profit via $20 off $100 at Staples
This Staples offer works online only, but staples.com sells a ton of different gift cards. Cards like Target and Whole Foods are worth the most (and 20% off if you shop there is amazing!), but at the moment Staples has Gap gift card discounted by 20% which means they are the best flip for anyone that’s not already set up as a bulk seller with gift card exchanges. A quick look on Gift Card Wiki shows that digital Gap cards are currently selling to ABCGiftCard for 74% of their value:
If we purchase $125 worth of digital Gap gift cards for exactly $100, we’ll have only spent $80 after the Amex Offer refunds us $20. At a selling rate of 74%, we’ll be able to get $92.50 back in our pocket by submitting them to ABCGiftCards and we’ll have made a profit of $12.50! Not to mention the 100 points/miles you earned via the normal credit card earnings. Now $12.50 isn’t a ground-breaking number, but if you scale this up with a several Amex cards, the profits can get pretty high.
And don’t forget, everything was done from the comfort of your own home! Staples emails you the card #’s, you enter them online, then wait for your check in the mail. Doesn’t get any easier than that and the profit is almost the same as people who go through the hassle of buying $100 VGCs that have to be mailed and then liquidated!
$7.50 in Profit via $30 off $150 at Lowe’s
For this offer, I made a trip to Lowe’s because even though the offer works online, Lowe’s gift cards wouldn’t be a break-even themselves. Luckily, Lowe’s (like many stores) has a gift card rack with many different options to choose from. It doesn’t matter that the offer was intended to be used on Lowe’s because pretty much anything that can be rung up at a Lowe’s register will count just the same. In previous trips to Lowe’s, I opted for high value cards like Shell, but in this particular trip I chose Bed Bath & Beyond because they were selling for almost the same rate but could be submitted digitally rather than mailed (I highly value convenience if you haven’t noticed).
For $150 in Bed Bath & Beyond gift cards, I spent $120 after the $30 rebate and then proceeded to sell them for 85% of their value or $127.50 for a profit of $7.50. Don’t forget I also earned 150 points and that spend counts towards any spending bonuses I might be going for (like a recent “spend $1,000 for a free night” offer on my Amex Hilton card).
$100 in Profit and a Sam’s Club Membership via 20% off at Sam’s Club
This offer was targeted to business cards only as far as I know, but is quite lucrative on it’s own. I’ve never been a Sam’s Club member before, but I joined up just to be able to take advantage of this offer! Shawn over at Miles to Memories reminded me that Groupon was having a deal on joining Sam’s Club, so I clicked over (using a shopping portal of course) and ended up joining for ~$20 for a year’s membership. Unfortunately that deal has since passed, but for $25 I was given a year’s basic membership to Sam’s Club, a $5 Sam’s Club gift card, and a free rotisserie chicken (which we haven’t cashed in yet).
After becoming a member, we took a trip to our local Sam’s Club and bought $1250 in various gift cards to maximize the full $250 refund. While we purchased a few for our own use such as Subway, Domino’s, and Starbucks (which are already slightly discounted at Sam’s Club before the Amex Offer), the majority of our purchase was in regular Sam’s Club gift cards. Sam’s Club and Walmart gift cards are one and the same, and Walmart gift cards can be sold for ~90% of their value at any given time.
If we would have used the entire $1250 on Sam’s Club gift cards and then sold them as Walmart gift cards for 90% of their value, we would have profited $125 from this single Amex Offer (plus 1,250 points!). Even with subtracting out the full $25 spent on the membership, we’re still ahead over $100 in cash money!
Best of Luck and May You Always be Targeted for the Best Amex Offers!
If you haven’t been using Amex Offers, there’s never a better time to start than leading up to the holidays where many of the best offers often appear. Don’t forget to get all of your Amex cards involved and don’t be afraid to open additional cards for everyone you live with and somewhat trust. (Rumor has it that you can even get an authorized user card for yourself. Shhh… 😉 ). If you put in the effort to set everything up once, the profits can add up pretty quick once you get comfortable flipping gift cards. Annual fees on Amex cards are really a secondary thought if you maximize Amex Offers because each card will more than pay for itself over the course of a year. If you’re already comfortable liquidating pre-paid gift cards like Visa and Mastercard, many Amex Offers can often be used for those as well. I tend to stick to the retail cards because they’re easier, but sometimes the extra effort can pay off.
Best of luck and be sure to head all usual warnings with reselling and creative spending. Don’t spend more than you can afford to float and don’t sit around on retail gift cards or they might devalue!
Cheers, and feel free to reach out below or on Twitter if you want me to clarify anything, I’d be happy to answer questions.