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Update: The below links for The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express and Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express are expired, but you can learn more about best available offers here.
There are many reasons to pick up credit cards. Some are worth applying for due to sign-up bonuses, others are worth acquiring for the return they offer on everyday spend, and others are worth keeping for the ongoing perks they offer just for holding onto them.
In terms of holding onto cards for ongoing perks, there are some specific co-brand cards that offer very lucrative benefits. For example, the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card and The Hyatt Credit Card offer free night certificates on their account anniversaries, which more than justifies the annual fee on the cards, in my opinion.
While some cards are worth holding onto for the specific benefits they offer, other cards are worth holding onto simply because of the card’s issuer. Specifically, I’m talking about American Express cards and the awesome Amex Offers program, which is one reason I always recommend having as many Amex cards as possible.
How Amex Offers works
I’m sure many of you are familiar with this already, but for those who aren’t, Amex Offers is a program run by American Express where you can earn bonus points, discounts, and other perks for making purchases with select retailers. Different cards are targeted for different offers, so it pays to have as many American Express cards as possible, so you can maximize the offers you have access to. Some offers are widely targeted, while others are much more narrowly targeted.
To me this is nearly free money, given the major retailers, hotels, and airlines, for which they sometimes offer promotions. I was just going through and doing the math on this, and realized that I saved over $1,000 last year thanks to Amex Offers. I take advantage of these offers strategically, and often it impacts which retailer I make a purchase with (for example, there are many brand name items that are sold for the same costs by many retailers, so I typically make the purchase with the retailer offering the best Amex Offers deal).
For example, recently there have been opportunities to save $40 on a JetBlue purchase, $60 on a Hilton purchase, $75 on a Bloomingdale’s purchase, $15 on a 1-800-Flowers purchase, earn 3,000 bonus Membership Rewards points on a $200 Marriott purchase, etc.
The benefit of having no annual fee Amex cards
There are perks for holding onto many Amex cards, though another thing to consider is Amex Offers. Amex typically lets you have up to five credit cards and four charge cards at a time, so there’s no reason not to max that out, so you can maximize your odds of getting the best offers.
There are cards with annual fees that are worth holding onto long term, though the best of both worlds is to apply for a card with no annual fee, so you can keep it long term and use it for Amex Offers. The way I see it, Amex Offers turn many of these cards from no annual fee cards to cards that basically pay you for holding onto them.
To give a few examples of how great some Amex no annual fee cards are to begin with:
- The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers a great return on everyday spend for a no annual fee card
- The Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express has a limited time 80,000 point sign-up bonus upon completing minimum spend, plus gives you Honors Silver status for as long as you have the card
- The incredible Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually, making this the best card for everyday, non-bonused spend
So this is yet another reason to consider any of these cards, as they have no annual fees, actually offer long terms perks, and make you eligible for Amex Offers. On some of my cards I save hundreds of dollars per year through Amex Offers.
While some people are great at maximizing Amex Offers, I know it’s something that many cardmembers overlook altogether. This is a huge opportunity to save a lot of cash and earn bonus points for purchases you’d make anyway. In the past I didn’t pay too much attention to these, though lately I’ve gotten more creative. In many cases I see Amex Offers for retailers I hadn’t otherwise made purchases with, but then realize that many of them sell the same things that I’d buy elsewhere at an identical price.
To what extent do you maximize Amex Offers promotions?