The Amex OPEN Savings Program Is Being Discontinued

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American Express offers the OPEN Savings program, which is a benefit available on many American Express business cards. This program offers bonus points or savings at select retailers, including FedEx, Hertz, HP, and 1800Flowers.com.

Specifically, if you have an eligible card, you receive either 5% off or two bonus Membership Rewards points for purchases at those retailers. There are plenty of cards not enrolled in Membership Rewards that belong to the OPEN Savings program, so in these cases you just automatically receive a 5% discount. Regardless, I’d always choose the 5% discount over two bonus Membership Rewards points, since I don’t quite value Membership Rewards points at 2.5 cents each.

Cards that were eligible for the OPEN Savings program include the following:

Unfortunately it looks like Amex is discontinuing the OPEN Savings program on small business cards as of June 1, 2018. Eligible business cards with a statement closing in March have the following note on the billing statement:

Important changes to the OPEN Savings Program

Effective June 1, 2018, the OPEN Savings program will no longer be available on your Business Card. You can view savings and rewards opportunities for business purchases, including offers from FedEx, in Amex Offers, which you can access by logging into your American Express online account at americanexpress.com.

It looks like there may still be some savings offers for these retailers, but they’ll be transitioned into the Amex Offers program, which I consider to be one of the best benefits of holding onto an Amex card anyway.

While this is a negative change, I can’t say I took advantage of the program all that much. However, I know plenty of other people who frequently took advantage of this, especially for shipping with FedEx and car rentals with Hertz.

Are you sad to see the Amex OPEN Savings program discontinued?

(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)

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Comments

  1. Amex Open had next to no partners
    Who cares
    And their other partner offers frequently don’t post and they do nothing to make things right
    To me the problem with American Express is that that they have
    horrible customer service with clueless agents in call centers struggling with English
    and a corrupt corporate culture Lawsuit after lawsuit with class action claims
    I’ll take Citibank and Chase and others over American Express for so many reasons
    After decades with them and a good run I’m done with them and want nothing to do with them
    They are dishonest and not trustworthy
    I’ve shut down most of my accounts
    they can take their once in a lifetime bonus and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine

  2. @Dwondermeant – While, as an AMEX Biz Plat cardmember since 2003, I agree that the main problem with AMEX Open was the limited number of partners, I disagree with your characterization of AMEX CS and CSRs. It has no basis in reality.

    Citi — putting it charitably — is a reluctant player of the loyalty game. Chase is a solid, skilled and imaginative player of the game. AMEX is a cautious and risk averse player.

    G’day.

  3. I actually will miss the OPEN partners. I went out of my way to use Hertz as the 5% back plus the upgrades for 5 star, often represented good value. Without the 5%, I’ll be renting with SIXT or Silvercar as I was already leaning that way. Sorry hertz!

  4. @Dwondermeant Amex used to be a well-respected company in the industry with the best customer service, until Ken Chenault became the CEO (affirmation action?).

    @DCS In my view, Citi provides the best rewards program in the industry. Without annual fee, the Citi Double cash card provides unlimited 2% cash back, automatic price protection. 2% cashback > 1 airline/hotel point. Like i said, amex used to be great but has gradually become mediocre. Take Amex Platinum card for example:

    1) In contrast to Citi Pretige or Chase Sapphire Reserve, no trip delay/cancellation protection by the Amex Platinum yet it labels itself as a premium travel card. Also, no price protection as well.

    2) MR points take more than 2 billing cycles to post because Amex worries people don’t pay their bill? Or i highly suspect it’s because Amex doesn’t want to pay out pending points/cashback if they decide to close your account.

    3) Compared to Citi Pretige/Chase Sapphire Reserve, or even minor players like BoA Premium Rewards/USbank Altitude Reserve etc., Amex deliberately makes it very difficult to use the incidental credit it loudly advertises. Same goes to the “$200 uber credit” by spreading it over 12 months.

    4) Occasional financial reviews that would freeze/shut down all accounts until Amex gets all the documents they demand on time. No matter how lucrative the reward programs are, being able to get access to the money needed is the most basic/important financial right and Amex cannot even fulfill that responsibility as a financial institution.

    5) All the 2x, 3x, 5x bonus points/cashback etc., can only be earned within the US as opposed to visa, Mastercard, or even tiny Discover also earning bonus overseas.

  5. @J — Hmmm… it is the first time anyone has placed Citi’s rewards program, not just a card, ahead of Chase’s or AMEX’s, but I guess there is always a first.

    Here’s Citi loyalty at work. I canceled my Citi HH Reserve card about 3-4 years ago after Citi repeatedly failed to award me the correct number of points (10/$) for Hilton stays, at property named HILTON Shanghai or HILTON Milan, claiming that the merchant code was wrong. Nothing like that ever happened with HH AMEX Surpass, not once, so Citi was full of it. When I finally noticed that this was going, Citi had already shortchanged me for some 50K HH points, which they coughed up after I faxed them all my folios. I thought that would be a wake up call for them, but they continued to shortchange me. I then wrote to the upper management to report the problem and request that it be fixed. The response stunned me: they realized that there was a problem but the Citi Reserve card portfolio was not large enough for them to spend the resources to find and fix the problem [read: we don’t give a shit]. I canceled the card the next day.

    The Citi Prestige, introduced to great fanfare with many decent benefits, is now just a shell of its former self. However, from the git-go I was lukewarm to the Prestige because I knew that it would be quickly downgraded to due Citi being a ‘reluctant’ player of the loyalty game.

    Your five points about AMEX simply support what I said, that they are too cautious and risk averse, so they tend offer restricted benefits.

  6. I’ve been putting ~$5k/yr of FedEx charges on Amex biz OPEN cards, so looks like a ~$250/yr loss for me.

  7. @J “All the 2x, 3x, 5x bonus points/cashback etc., can only be earned within the US as opposed to visa, Mastercard, or even tiny Discover also earning bonus overseas.”

    Not entirely true – Platinum 5x category works on all the airfares I’ve bought regardless of airline or currency in which they were purchased. Also, the hotel cards Amex will earn you bonus points spent at those hotels overseas.

    While it’s definitely true that spend in a number of categories with a number of different Amex cards only earns a bonus if the spend is made in the US, it’s not true to say that “all” the bonus points/cash back options are like this.

  8. I’d agree that Chase is way ahead on customer service compared to American Express and Citi. You can usually get a real person on the phone quickly. Amex takes too long for things that need a real person on the phone. Citi I’ve had limited experience with but that experience was horrible. Trying to get 2 CCs canceled involved multiple phone calls, being charged late fees, and then finally ending up ahead nearly $150 when they ended up crediting my account multiple times. I figured that was my reward for putting up with such terrible service (and one reason I generally avoid them).

    You think paying for a Platinum card would get you solid customer service and not the same robo system they use for everyone.

  9. @DCS Well sorry for your bad experience with Citi. However, my own interactions with Citi have been great. Several times Citi reps voluntarily offered me statement credit for compensating my time after resolving the issue. Also, i respectfully disagree with you on Amex only about risk averse. I think they are all about maximizing profits since credit card business is basically their only business. I suggest you reading my points one more time (1,2,3,5).

    @Ziggy i admit i wasn’t completely accurate or clear. But if you really think about the airfares 5x, since they are purchased online, one could argue there’s no difference buying it within the US or overseas, because there’s no borders online and all you need is the internet. Regarding the bonus points earned in SPG or Hilton, yes they can be earned at overseas properties (within the hotel “borders”).

  10. As someone who spent ~$260k a year through FedEx – this is a crippling blow.

    $13k a year gone and enough to have me switch to a few CIPs instead.

  11. I don’t think American Express is going to do away with the saving that they give with these partners. I think they are doing away with that specific department and will merge this with another area to do a point savings for individual partners. Since they hooked up with Uber and pushed discount ads for using the service, I think the OPEN partners want something like that for their companies. This way, they can negotiate specific amounts and requirements rather than lump them all together. This is a perk that they have used for their members and I don’t see it going away altogether. I see it as a downsize of that department and a new wave of card savings of the same companies in another area.

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