Amex Offers have always been pitched as ways to save cash in order to justify the annual fee on an Amex card. And since the offers vary from card to card (and sometimes from offer to offer), there can be value in casting a wide net by carrying multiple cards. I rarely take advantage of them, however, because I'm usually either too lazy, or the offer is at some store I don't want to go out of my way to patronize. Sometimes I get lucky and an offer pops up for a store I was going to shop at anyway, but most of the time I ignore them or let them expire. (I was going to write a whole separate post about this, but I broke my sunglasses on a plane this past winter and had to replace them - so I went straight to Sunglass Hut and bought a new pair for around $200. Then I remembered that I had an Amex offer for $50 off $200, so I went online to buy a new pair, figuring I'd return the one I just bought when I got home. (Not to plug Sunglass Hut too much, but their return policy is incredible.) When I went online, I saw that they were running a promo for a free $50 gift card in exchange for $200, so I ended up with the same pair of sunglasses for $150 plus a gift card after I redeemed the Amex offer. It's a good example of how lucrative the offers can be, since I was already going to spend that amount at that particular retailer.)
However, one type of offer that always piques my interest is when Amex throws out bonus points instead of cash back. I realize that this probably has to do with my irrational preference for points over cash, since the more personal-finance minded among you would obviously prefer to have cash than points - especially when Amex often offers the same deal with cash back substituted for points at $.01 per point. At that point, I'm pretty much admitting that I'd by Membership Rewards points for that amount (even though it's not a choice - you either see the offer for points or for cash, not both). In any case, lately I've been seeing more and more bonus point offers, and I love it. There were a couple notable ones last year -- I took advantage of a hotel promotion that was for 7500 bonus points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel, and then there was the Verizon deal for 2500 points after paying my cell phone bill (up to two times) -- although I've never seen so many of these offers at once as I do now. Check it out:
So far, the only one I've actually redeemed is the Dollar Shave Club one, and unfortunately the lip balm that I bought didn't rock my world the way I had hoped it would. But at least I got 1000 points. Still, I keep adding them to my account, since I never know when I'm going to need some dope new threads from Hugo Boss.
What about you nice people? Do you gravitate toward Amex Offers that give cash back, or do you also prefer the points?