Home Credit Cards Reminder: AMEX Doesn’t Make It Easy To Use The New Credits For Wireless/Streaming Expenses

Reminder: AMEX Doesn’t Make It Easy To Use The New Credits For Wireless/Streaming Expenses

by joeheg

One of the most frustrating things about American Express is they make you jump through hoops to claim the statement credits they post to your account. They usually have unclear rules about what qualifies, like with their airline fee reimbursement credit or by paying the credit in such a way that you have to use it up every month or lose it.

I’ve long felt that AMEX statement credits aren’t worth face value because of the difficulty in taking full advantage of them. Credits for UBER, incidental airline fees, or Saks’s Fifth Avenue all took extra work to use and it just wasn’t worth the trouble anymore.

So when I read that American Express was making some significant moves to keep their cards competitive in this new marketplace, I was hoping they’d be offering annual fee credits or increasing bonus categories. Nope, they went with their monthly credit scheme, hoping customers take advantage of these benefits as little as possible.

Here are the benefits that AMEX is providing monthly:

Personal Platinum Card

  • $20 per month on select streaming services (May through December 2020)
  • $20 per month on wireless telephone services (May through December 2020)

Business Platinum Card

  • $20 per month on wireless telephone services (May through December 2020)
  • $20 per month on U.S. purchases for shipping (May through December 2020)

Personal Green Card

  • $10 per month on wireless telephone services (May through December 2020)

Wireless Service Credit

I don’t know about you, but I pay more than $20 on my wireless telephone service per month, even with T-Mobile cutting my bill by 50%. I currently pay this bill with my Chase Ink Preferred which provides up to $600 of insurance coverage as long as I keep paying the monthly bill with the card.

Is it worth a $10/$20 monthly credit to lose insurance coverage on both of our phones? I don’t think so.

Sure, I could just pay $20 of my bill with the AMEX but would that invalidate my coverage from Chase, which says I need to pay my monthly bill with the card? Do I want to take that chance to find out?

Shipping Credit

If you’re a business that does any shipping, the $20 per month credit seems like it could be easy to use. Otherwise, I guess you could just go and buy $20 in stamps from the USPS and put that money to some good use.

Streaming Service Credit

When it comes to the streaming service credit with the Platinum Cards, I don’t have one of those cards anymore. If I did, I’d be pretty upset. You see, I pre-paid for three years of Disney Plus, so I have no monthly charges. I pay for Spotify but that’s only $10 a month. Amazon Prime Video comes for free with my Prime membership. The only other way to take advantage of the benefit would be to sign up for a monthly plan with a new service.

And then I’m right back where I was with the AMEX monthly credits. I’d have to spend money I wasn’t planning on just to be able to take advantage of the credit.

I’m glad to see some of the other moves AMEX made with their cards, in particular with the higher end Marriott and Hilton products, which I’ll cover in another post.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

18 comments

Jones Johnson May 2, 2020 - 3:36 pm

Sounds like your just lazy and bitter , too lazy to add a credit card to a app? Must be so busy walking around being angry at the sky.

Reply
joeheg May 2, 2020 - 6:27 pm

Usually, when I get called lazy and bitter, I know why. Please explain what you’re talking about by adding a card to an app?

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Paul May 2, 2020 - 3:51 pm

Agreed, Amex makes lots of offers that create good press, but with enough loopholes that often times they go to waste, as intended…

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Jared May 2, 2020 - 4:20 pm

Yep. AMEX is a pain with their cat and mouse games for their credits. I will be able to take advantage of the credits for cell phone/streaming services as I’m using it to pay for YouTube TV.

Depending on their cat and mouse gimmicks, I may not upgrade to their Optico (or Titanium) card when it comes out. I’m sure they will be generous with the airline credit but I’m sure it will be something along the lines of $600 worth of annual credit when you fly on your select airline but only from a hub on a flight number that ends in an even number and on a plane where the last number of the tail is an odd number.

This is why I’m more excited to see if Chase counters with a premium version of the CSR.

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Steven May 2, 2020 - 4:51 pm

Useless to me as well because google fi doesn’t qualify as a wireless provider. I also buy gift cards and prepay for my streaming services,

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xyeahtony May 2, 2020 - 7:43 pm

You must be special because almost everyone has either netflix, or hulu, or both. Easy to spend $20 there. And the majority of people are not paying their cell phone bills with a chase ink. The majority of people should not have any issues using all these credits, which will offset the annual fee by at least $200, especially if you find a way to use the airline credit.

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joeheg May 2, 2020 - 8:23 pm

Um, I’m not special. I’m like everyone else and I know someone who lets me use their Netflix password 🙂

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Wanderdata May 2, 2020 - 8:56 pm

Thanks for the continued useful content – I gravitate back to YMMV due to useful and honest articles.

I gave up completely on AmEx due to their fiddly and difficult-to-use credits. I had the business platinum for a year and got NOPED a few times at Centurion Lounges, at which point I NOPED AmEx. The potential $40 a month does not outweigh the $600 fee for me.

I am but a small sparrow in the great flock of Hobby power-users, but I also found AmEx MR points fairly useless except for AF transfers. Yes I am probably an idiot, and YMMV (as they say).

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joeheg May 2, 2020 - 9:06 pm

Despite my troubles with their premium offerings, I still find MR amazingly useful. Blue Business Plus No-AF card for 2X MR is great for everyday business expenses and we’ve redeemed for flights on Delta, ANA and Virgin Atlantic.

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Nick Reyes May 2, 2020 - 9:48 pm

If Chase charged you $160 for 7 months of cell phone insurance, would you pay that to insure your phones?

That’s exactly what’s happening if you have a Platinum card and aren’t putting $20 on it. That’s some expensive cell phone insurance IMO. I’d have to be pretty confident I’d break my phone to pay that much to insure it.

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joeheg May 3, 2020 - 12:23 am

I looked at it when we got our new phone. AppleCare would have cost $199 for a single phone. Problem is that we could only get it on our new phone, not on the one that was 1 yr old. I could pay $8.99 per month per phone for SquareTrade but then I’m net $2 and not getting 3x for my cell phone bill. What it comes down to is that I’m a chicken and will overpay for insurance I’ll probably never use.

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Upse May 3, 2020 - 1:41 pm

It’s really a good addition of benefits for almost people. You lost some credibility when you claimed that it’s difficult to use the Saks 100 credit. Huh?

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joeheg May 3, 2020 - 4:23 pm

I never shopped at Saks before. You have to spend $50 every 6 months, not $100 per year. Any spending would simply be to use the credit and I’d be paying 3-5x more than I would be to buy the same item somewhere else. So I’m not saying it’s hard, just that it’s difficult to use and not worth face value.

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Business or consumer - does Dell sell stuff you might want? May 5, 2020 - 7:38 am

[…] ceases. On the other side, most people probably spend something on streaming services, though not everyone who streams entertainment spends that money monthly. There will be some people with no use for stamps and some who don’t find the streaming […]

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frugalman May 9, 2020 - 10:13 pm

Audible is one of the qualified “streaming subscription” for $20 monthly credit. I am wondering if buying their audio books would qualify the credit.

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joeheg May 13, 2020 - 11:27 am

I’m not sure. Not many data points out there as this is a new benefit. Credits seem to be posting quickly so if you’re going to be purchasing a book anyway, it couldn’t hurt to try.

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Mike May 11, 2020 - 10:21 pm

Does the $20/month credit work for the Delta American Express Platinum card?

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joeheg May 13, 2020 - 11:20 am

Unfortunately it doesn’t. The credit is only for the American Express Platinum card and doesn’t include co-brand cards.

Reply

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