One of my first posts of 2017 recommended that anyone who generally buys airline gift cards to take advantage of the annual airline credit on the American Express Platinum ($200) or Premier Rewards Gold ($100) cards should do so now, rather than taking a chance that American Express kills this option at some point in 2017. While reports on Flyertalk have generally been positive about this ‘trick’ still working, I can confirm firsthand that $50 Delta e-gift cards are working to generate the airline fee credit on my PRG card. Not only are they working but American Express credited my account rather quickly – in my case just a day.
If you want to try it for a different airline, please see the applicable Flyertalk threads below for other airlines. However, please make sure you update your airline selection
before January 31st or you might have to keep the airline you previously selected last year.
Links to FlyerTalk Threads with recent reports of success/failures
Any other success stories out there for 2017?
Last year there were tons of negative changes to the miles/points landscape as banks made obtaining credit cards more difficult, devaluations were rampant and many manufactured spend techniques were killed off. As we saw yesterday, 2017 is not off to a good start either. Therefore, I am recommending anyone who has an American Express airline credit from their Platinum card ($200) or Premier Rewards Gold card ($100) and plans to use them on airline gift cards, should use them as soon as possible.
My argument is a simple one. It is widely known that airline gift cards are not eligible for the airline credit per the terms & conditions. However for years, the automated system American Express uses to determine what is eligible has nonetheless processed certain e-gift card purchases as being eligible – usually small amounts such as $50 (Delta) or $100 (Southwest/American/Alaska) or if purchased a part of a registry (United). Right now, we know this is still working as the recent posts to Flyertalk demonstrate (see end of post) but there is no guarantee this will work for all of 2017. I have no inside knowledge to this but I do think there is a non-zero chance American Express changes this at some point in 2017. I did say the same thing last year & I was obviously wrong but I’d rather lock my credit in to be safe.
As a reminder, you can change your airline selection until the end of January using this link. To show that I follow my own advice, I purchased two $50 Delta e-gift cards yesterday on my PRG card and I am hoping the credits post shortly after (I will update this post once it does).
$50 E-Gift Card Purchases
To be clear, I have absolutely zero inside knowledge that this ‘trick’ to buy airline e-gift cards and have them be eligible for the airline credit will end soon. In fact, it probably won’t end this year as that chance is quite small (but not zero either) in my opinion. I have always had success buying $50 Delta e-gift cards or $100 American Airlines e-gift cards but I would check the latest reports on the Flyertalk threads below before selecting any of those airlines. After all that has changed in the last year or so, I’d rather be months earlier getting my airline gift cards reimbursed than a day late.
Links to FlyerTalk Threads with recent reports of success/failures
Readers, feel free to post your success/failures below!
Update (11/24): 100k Platinum offer is dead! Congrats to those that got it.
One of the big offers that I know a lot of my readers (looking at you Justin) are interested in is back and it is the 100,000 point signup bonus on the American Express card. I don’t know if this offer will last long so if you’ve never had a personal Platinum card before, I’d strongly consider jumping on this offer soon just in case.
Here is the direct link to the landing page of this offer. You might have to use incoginto/private browseing mode to get this offer to appear. I’ve discussed this card & offer before but the 100,000 points (worth ~$1,500), $200 airline credit (yes gift cards work for some airlines), lounge access, Global Entry credit, hotel elite status at Starwood, Marriot and Hilton more than offset the $450 annual fee for the first year.
One IMPORTANT Note: DO NOT put any manufactured spend on this card or you risk Amex freezing your account which they have been known to do. Also do not close the card right after you get the points – keep it open until the 10th/11th month or so if you don’t plan to keep it longterm.
On top of this offer, there are increased offers on many other Amex cards. Here are some of the offers though I’d recommend reading this Reddit thread on all of the increased offers.
Thanks Amex for the early Thanksgiving gift!
H/T Doctor of Credit & Reddit
I just received an email from American Express offering me a free weekend night certificate valid at any almost any Hilton hotel if I spend $1,000 on my Hilton HHonors American Express card by December 15th. The free weekend night is valid from 12 months of issuance so you have potentially almost all of 2017 to use it if you time the spending right. If you have the card, here is the link to try and see if you are targeted.
This is a really good offer – to put it in perspective if I spent the same $1,000 on a 2% cash back card, I would earn $20. So by shifting $1,000 of my spend to this card (which I normally don’t use), I’ll earn a free weekend night at Hilton family hotel. Forgoing $20 bucks for a free hotel night sounds good to me! If you have the offer, I highly recommend enrolling and taking advantage of it.
Here are the full terms of the offer:
Terms and Conditions
1. To qualify for the Free One Weekend Night Certificate, you must make $1,000 in purchases with your Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express now through December 15th 2016. The Free One Weekend Night Certificate will be sent as an email from Hilton to the email address listed on your Hilton HHonors account, 6-8 weeks after you meet the spend requirement. Purchases to meet the spend requirement of this offer do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchase of travelers checks, purchase or reloading of prepaid cards, or other cash equivalents. Additional Card Members on your account are not eligible for this offer. A Card Member is only eligible to earn 1 Free Night Certificate during the offer period. To receive the Free One Weekend Night Certificate, your account must not be cancelled or in default at the time of fulfillment. American Express reserves the right to modify or revoke offer at any time. If the HHonors member does not receive the Free One Weekend Night Certificate email within 6-8 weeks after the promotion period ends, the Member should check his/her HHonors account by logging into their profile or by calling 1-800-548-8690 . As a reminder, the Free One Weekend Night Certificate will be delivered in an email from Hilton. To ensure receipt of the certificate, the HHonors member should confirm the correct email address is listed under the Card Member’s HHonors Account file on their profile. The Free One Weekend Night Certificate is valid for one (1) weekend night standard accommodation, double occupancy, subject to availability, at properties in the Hilton HHonors portfolio, excluding those listed at HHonors.com/weekendcertificate. The Free One Weekend Night Certificate applies only to room rate and corresponding taxes, and does not apply to any applicable gratuities, resort fees or incidental charges. The Free One Weekend Night Certificate is valid for 12 months after the date of issuance, as noted on the certificate. You must follow all terms stated on the certificate when redeeming or the certificate may not be honoured. For complete Terms and Conditions that apply to the One Weekend Night Certificate, please refer to the Hilton HHonors Free Night Terms and Conditions. Hilton HHonors™ membership, earning of Points & Miles™ when booking direct and redemption of Points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions. © 2016 Hilton Worldwide.
Update (9/22): So my source was kind of right as the offer did change today but I’m not sure it is a better offer. Here is my analysis of the new offer of two free nights at category 1-5 hotels.
I want to stress the following information is simply a rumor but I believe the signup on the American Express Starwood personal and business cards will increase to either 30k or 35k Starpoints in the next two weeks. I have a friend of a friend who is “connected” at American Express and he claims that the go live date for this offer is the week of September 19th. He didn’t know whether the offer would be for 30k or 35k like it was in March.
The offer from March 2016
Could this information be accurate? Well in years past usually around summertime, though there was a curveball with the 35k offer in March this year, American Express has typically increased the signup bonus on the SPG cards. I went back and put a list together of when over the past few years the publicly available bonus has increased to 30k or 35k Starpoints. Anyone spot a trend?
- March 2016
- August 2015
- June 2014
- August 2013
- August 2012
- August 2011
- July 2010
That is some serious consistency and only further makes me believe the information I received could very well be accurate. The current signup bonus is 25k for both the personal and business cards so I’m sure some of you might be questioning why I’m recommending you should wait a few weeks for an offer that is only 5k-10k points higher. Here are some of my reasons:
- Starpoints are incredibly difficult to earn – the only feasible way to earn them is via the Starwood credit card and staying at SPG hotels. Since it is difficult to earn these points in bulk, an extra 5k Starpoints is a big difference to me. And to the average person who doesn’t manufacture spend that equates to spending an extra $5,000 on your SPG Amex to make up that extra 5k points.
- American Express limits you to one bonus per lifetime on their cards. Basically you only get one shot to signup for this card to earn a bonus so you better make it count. I won’t signup for an American Express card unless I know at that point in time, that is the highest ever known offer on a card.
- Starpoints are one of the most valuable, if not most valuable, points out there. Great flexibility with dozens of airline transfer partners, a transfer bonus of 5k when transferring in 20k increments and some great hotel redemptions in the Starwood chain. You can redeem points for weekend nights at lower tier SPG hotels for 2k or 3k points a night.
My advice is to resist the temptation to signup for the next two weeks just in case the offer is increased unless you have an absolute urgent need for this card. While American Express might very well match you to the new bonus anyway, remember that American Express limits you to one bonus a lifetime, so you always want to get each Amex card at its peak signup bonus offer. Again I do want to stress this is only a rumor (some will argue I shouldn’t even post unconfirmed information like this) but based on past history, there could be some merit to this information.
I’ll be sure to post an update in two weeks if/when the offer is increased. If my information is correct & you plan to apply for this card at that time, I hope you will consider using my referral links for either the personal or business card (for being a current cardmember, not an affiliate link) for possibly earning you an extra 5k to 10k Starpoints by advising you to wait.