A couple of months ago, I addressed the question – is it worth keeping the Starwood American Express?
In the comment section, a couple of readers pointed out that keeping the card makes you eligible for special American Express promotions like Small Business Saturday, along with Twitter and Facebook promotions.
I’ve got to say that I’ve been getting some pretty amazing values out of my American Express cards. As a result, I did decide to pay my annual fee and keep my Starwood American Express.
How to Maximize Your American Express Credit Cards for Maximum Savings
1. Get one or more American Express credit cards. Unfortunately, a lot of American Express credit cards have pretty significant annual fees. I do have a Hilton American Express (no annual fee) and the Starwood card which costs $65 per year. Most American Express credit cards waive the annual fee for the first year. You can always browse the best travel rewards credit cards to see which card is right for you.
2. As long as you can add an authorized user at no charge, add your spouse to your account. This allows you to double your promotional eligibility.
3. Sync your American Express credit cards to a Twitter account. If you decide to set up multiple Twitter accounts, make sure you keep really good records so you know which cards are linked to each Twitter account.
4. Watch for promotions and think outside the box.
Unfortunately, this Twitter promotion has already reached the maximum number of participants so you can’t sign up. (As such, it’s only for illustrative purposes.)
If you sync with Twitter and Tweet #amexbestbuy and then spend $250 at BestBuy, you’ll get a $25 statement credit. Of course, I wasn’t going to buy a bunch of stuff at BestBuy so I initially decided that I wouldn’t be able to get any value from the promotion. However, I decided to check one thing at BestBuy, and my suspicions were correct. They sell Visa gift cards. I was able to buy $400 worth of Visa gift cards for $411.90 (with the card fee). From there, I went across the street to Walmart and uploaded those funds to my Bluebird account.
I ended up with $400 in my Bluebird account for $386.90. If you’ve got multiple American Express cards, you could do this on a ‘grander’ scale.
An expired promotion:
A Twitter promotion that just expired was spending $50 at Lowes and getting a $10 statement credit. I was able to buy a $50 Amazon Gift card at Lowes, and once the statement credit posted, it was like buying it for 20% off.
Where to watch for promotions?
Follow @AmericanExpress on Twitter or just Google current American Express Twitter promotions. There are several blogs that list all the current promotions, so Googling it is my favorite way to find an easy-to-read list.
Also, in your American Express Online Account, you can see special offers just for you.
If you scan down below your current account summary, you’ll see a navigation box that says “Offers For You”. By clicking on that, you’ll see eligible savings offers. Your offers will vary by account, but here are some that I see:
- $20 back after spending $79 at Walmart.com
- $5 back after spending $30 at Exxon Mobil
- $30 back after spending $150 at Amtrak
- $30 back after spending $150 at 1800 CONTACTS
- $10 back after spending $50 at JC Penny
- $5 back after spending $25 at BP
Small Business Saturday: November 30th
All registered American Express cards will be eligible to get a $10 statement credit when you spend $10 or more on 11/30/13 in a single, in-store transaction at a qualifying small business. Last year, the offer was $25, but $10 is still pretty cool. Remember, your best bet might be buying $10 gift cards at your favorite eligible small business. You can get more information here.
With a little creativity and generous American Express bonuses, it’s not that hard to justify a smaller American Express annual fee.