Several months ago, I wrote about the dilemma I was facing over whether to close my Amex Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) credit card when the $65 annual fee came due. Ultimately, I decided to keep the card open, and accepted Amex’s retention offer of 1,000 SPG points.
There were several factors that played into my decision:
- I had two other Amex accounts that I planned to close when the annual fees posted.
- I I wanted to retain my full credit line with Amex, by transferring the credit from the closed credit cards to an open account.
- I hoped to accumulate more SPG points over the course of the year, that I could transfer to various airlines to top off my frequent flyer accounts.
- I was close to reaching the 20,000 point threshold, when transfers to airlines earn a 5,000 point bonus.
Amex currently has targeted deals offering statement credits for over a dozen promos. If you click on the “Offers for You” tab, you will be directed to up to a dozen targeted offers for savings off various purchases.
One attractive offer was for a $30 statement credit with a $150 purchase at ShopRite. That’s 20 percent of your grocery purchase. We don’t have ShopRite in Northern Virginia, but a couple of the other offers were a good fit for me.
First, there was an offer for $40 off a storage unit charge of $200 or more. Bingo! I would gladly pay our storage unit rent with my Amex credit card this month.
Second, perhaps the best offer was for a $25 credit for a $75 purchase at Staples. Gift cards are explicitly eligible puchases. I chose $75 in Shell gift cards. Sure, gift cards are a pain to deal with, but it’s hard to argue with a 33 percent discount on gas purchases. Here’s a screenshot of my latest transactions:
There are several other interesting offers available to me; your mileage may vary:
- $15 for spending $75 at Legal Seafood
- $10 for spending $50 at Lowes
- $5 back with a $25 purchase at Forever 21
- $5 back with a $15 purchase at FedEx Office
- 25% off purchase at Papa John’s
Finally, the third way I earned a credit was to sign up for iDine, the Amex version of the rewards dining program. The payout for iDine is in dollars, which some people may prefer over the miles offered by frequent flyer programs’ dining bonuses. You get $5 for signing up.
I wonder what offers may pop up in the future. So far, I have fully offset the annual fee on the SPG card, and then some.
I strongly advise against making any purchases that you weren’t already going to make. If you’re lucky, you may find offers at places where you regularly shop.