There’s still time to take advantage of the American Express Shop Small offer. The extended sign-up date has already passed. If you’ve already enrolled, you have until September 20th to make up to 10 purchases of $10 or more at a small business with your enrolled AMEX and get $5 back.
I was excited about this offer until I realized how infrequently we currently visit our local small businesses because of COVID-19.
I signed up for the Shop Small offer with my AMEX Optima card. It was the only personal card I have that earns Membership Rewards and I decided that I’d rather earn those instead of getting Marriott Bonvoy points or Delta SkyMiles.
Then American Express launched the 10x points offers for gas and restaurants on their AMEX Bonvoy cards. Not many gas stations are small businesses but there are plenty of restaurants where you’d be able to earn 10x Bonvoy points and get $5 back.
Since I signed up for the Shop Small offer with one card and the Marriott Bonvoy offer with another, I have to decide which card to use at independent restaurants. During our first post-coronavirus trip we ate at several local restaurants, as long as they had outdoor seating.
I decided to use my Optima card and earn $5 back and 1 Membership Reward point per dollar instead of the 10x Marriott Bonvoy points.
Our dinners cost $60, $81 and $81 and I earned back $15 in credits. Instead, I could have earned 2220 Marriott points. Back of the napkin math shows that I currently value Bonvoy points at less than 0.675 cents each.
Another reason I went for the cash instead of the points is that I have a good deal of Bonvoy points right now and we’re not staying at hotels. I also have four Marriott free night certificates that I’ll want to use before paying for a night with points. Your math may be different if you’re looking to earn more Marriott points.
In hindsight, if I had signed up with one of our Bonvoy AMEX cards we could have been earning with both offers but who knew those bonuses were coming. Looking back at the math, I’m glad I decided to get the $5 back on each meal instead of going for the 10x points.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary