American Express (U.S. Cards) Is Adding Benefits For Most Cards To Mitigate COVID-19 Impact

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American Express has added additional point earning benefits as well as credits for a variety of U.S based consumer and business cards in order to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 situation of the usual benefits associated with the card.

Instead of reducing the annual fee American Express adds limited-time offers ranging from credits for streaming and wireless services to accelerated earning on supermarket and food delivery purchases.

Many credit cards in the U.S. (and Amex worldwide) come with a portfolio of benefits that are based on the premise that the cardholder is basically free to go and travel – a crazy assumption, I know.

Unfortunately as we all know realities changed somewhat in the last few months and it’s expected that we have to live in a somewhat adjusted world for probably the remainder of the year.

Since the benefits associated with many cards are therefore irrelevant at the moment many cardholders consider to either downgrade or cancel their cards, in the very least calling Amex to ask for a reduction of the annual fee.

Amex has decided to offer additional benefits to their card members on top of the original portfolio in the hopes that it deters customers from dropping the card while providing them with value.

You can access American Express website for the new benefits here.

As people are adapting to new ways of living and working from home, American Express is introducing new limited-time offers, services and solutions to support customers and their evolving needs in the areas that matter most right now: staying connected, dining at home, working and running a business remotely and supporting small businesses.

Starting today, select U.S. Consumer Cards will receive limited-time credits for streaming and wireless service and new accelerators on U.S. supermarket purchases. Select U.S. Small Business Cards will get access to statement credits on wireless, shipping and Dell Technologies purchases and offers for remote work tools. U.S. Card Members will also have access to a number of exclusive Amex Offers across food and wine delivery services, online retail, business services and supplies and more.

The new benefits in form of credits are everyday spend based, focusing mainly on Dining, Digital Services and Delivery.

Down below is the (rather long) list of new benefits cardholders of the mentioned card types can benefit from.

Spoiler: The Gold Charge Card benefits are rather lackluster and the same goes for the Delta Reserves as they aren’t getting much love through this round of improvements – sad.

Here is a summary of the new and existing offers, services and solutions American Express customers can enjoy from the comfort and safety of their homes.

STREAMING AND WIRELESS
To help our Consumer and Small Business Card Members in the U.S. stay connected from home while lowering their expenses, American Express is providing access to a range of new and ongoing offers, experiences and solutions.

What’s New:

Platinum Consumer Card Members will receive up to $320 in statement credits when they use their Platinum Card on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month on each, from May through December 2020).

Business Platinum Card Members will receive up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each, from May through December 2020).

Green Consumer Card Members will receive up to $80 in statement credits when they use their Green Card to pay for wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $10 per month, from May through December 2020).

This builds on the streaming and wireless benefits already offered on many U.S. Consumer and Small Business Cards, including:

Blue Cash Preferred Card Members receive 6% cash back on U.S. streaming subscriptions.

Amazon Business and Amazon Business Prime Card Members receive 2% back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.

Lowe’s Business Rewards Card Members earn 3X points on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.

STAY-AT-HOME DINING AND ESSENTIALS
Here is how American Express is supporting Card Members while they’re dining at home and shopping for their household essentials.

What’s New:

Delta SkyMiles Reserve, Platinum, Gold and Blue Consumer Card Members will now earn 4X miles at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020).

Marriott Bonvoy and Brilliant Consumer Card Members will now earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases (May through July 2020).

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Consumer Card Members’ eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the $300 Marriott Bonvoy Statement Credit benefit (June through August 2020).

Hilton Surpass and Aspire Consumer Card Members will now earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020). Bonus Points earned through eligible purchases on all Hilton American Express Cards, that post to the Card Member’s Hilton Honors account between May 1 through December 31, 2020 will be considered Base Points and will count towards Elite tier qualification and Lifetime Diamond Status.

Hilton Aspire Consumer Card Members’ eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the $250 Hilton resort credit benefit (June through August 2020).

This builds on restaurant, food delivery and supermarket benefits already offered on many U.S. Consumer and Small Business Cards, including:

Platinum Consumer Card Members receive $15 in Uber credits every month, plus a $20 bonus in December, which can be used to order food delivery on Uber Eats.

Gold Consumer Card Members earn 4X Membership Rewards on U.S. supermarket (up to $25,000 per calendar year) and 4X Membership Rewards on restaurant purchases worldwide, including takeout and delivery via Grubhub/Seamless, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Caviar, Postmates and more. Plus their $10/month dining credit can be used on Grubhub/Seamless and more.

Green Consumer Card Members earn 3X Membership Rewards on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.

Blue Cash Preferred Card Members receive 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).

Blue Cash Everyday Card Members receive 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).

Hilton Honors, Hilton Surpass and Hilton Aspire Consumer Card Members earn 5X, 6X or 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points, respectively at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery.

Amex EveryDay® Card Members earn 2X Membership Rewards on U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X).

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card Members earn 3X Membership Rewards on U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X).

The most remarkable benefit items here are (in my opinion)

  • The $320 credit for streaming and cellphone services on the Platinum Personal Card
  • A $80 (8x $10) credit for U.S. cellphone services on the Green Personal Card
  • The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant $300 credit which can now be applied to U.S. Restaurant spend
  • The Hilton Card benefits for lifetime status qualification count as well as the $250 credit that can now be applied to U.S. Restaurant spend in the same way as they Marriott Card.

Especially the Green Card might really pay off this year considering the low $150 fee.

I wish this wasn’t geographically limited to U.S. only locations. I understand it’s a U.S. card but many cardholders are using the card internationally due to company postings or second homes overseas.

The streaming service credits can be used at the following partners:

I’m sure there is something in this list for everybody so that credit combined with the cellphone services allowance is a hard benefit worth real cash. Everybody has to pay a cellphone bill of some sort.

The allowance is 8x $20 for Streaming as well as 8x $20 for Cellphone services. This can not be combined or exchanged against the other category.

Customers with Business Cards will also receive a range of new benefits although slightly different and a bit centered on business expenses:

Amazon Business Card Members receive 3% back on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and at Whole Foods Market and 2% back at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery.

Amazon Business Prime Card Members receive 5% back on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, AWS, Amazon.com and at Whole Foods Market with an eligible Prime membership and 2% back at U.S. restaurants including takeout and delivery.

Lowe’s Business Rewards Card Members earn 3X points at restaurants including takeout and delivery.

Delta SkyMiles Platinum, Gold and Blue Consumer Card Members and Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card Members earn 2X miles on restaurants, including takeout and delivery.

Hilton Honors Business Card Members earn 6X points at US restaurants, including takeout and delivery.

Marriott Bonvoy Business Card Members earn 4X points at US restaurants, including takeout and delivery.

REMOTE WORK ESSENTIALS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
Here’s how American Express is backing small businesses to offset the costs of tools and technology and providing resources they need to operate their businesses.

What’s New:

Business Platinum Card Members will receive up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell Technologies, for a total of up to $400 in statement credits in 2020 when added to the existing Shop Dell with Business Platinum benefit ($100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020 and up to $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and December 31, 2020).

In addition, they will receive up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each, from May through December 2020).

New, free Shop Small® templates and resources at ShopSmall.com, as well as benefits, offerings and expertise from more than 40 leading companies as part of the recently launched ‘Stand for Small’ coalition.

Resy, a subsidiary of American Express, is waiving all fees for new and existing ResyOS customers through December 2020.

This builds on relevant benefits and value already offered on many Small Business Cards, including:

Business Gold Card Members earn 4X Membership Rewards points automatically on the two categories where they spent the most in each month from a set list, including U.S. purchases for shipping, technology, advertising in select media, and at restaurants including delivery and takeout.

Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card Members earn 2X miles on eligible U.S. shipping purchases andon U.S. purchases for advertising in select media.

Marriott Bonvoy Business Card Members earn 4X Marriott Bonvoy points on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers, and on U.S. purchases for shipping.

Hilton Honors Business Card Members earn 6X Hilton Honors points on wireless telephone services purchases directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping.

Blue Business Plus Card Members earn 2X Membership Rewards points on purchases (up to $50,000 per calendar year).

Blue Business Cash Card Members receive 2% cash back on purchases (up to $50,000 per calendar year).

Lowe’s Business Rewards Card Members earn 3X points at office supply stores in the U.S. and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.

The options for Business Cards to earn a large amount of points are potentially very high especially on the Business Gold Card.

I’m personally not a huge fan for the multiplier in U.S. Supermarkets simply because I don’t spend much money in Supermarkets in general even if I was in the U.S. at this time which I am not.

Conclusion

Most customers should be able to make use of these credits and therefore get a bit of value back from their American Express Cards. If that isn’t the case I would call Amex and ask to either get a discount on the annual fee called retention offer or alternatively downgrade to a lower priced card product. Of course you can always cancel the card as well.

Retention offers with American Express are only given every other year so if you’ve received one last year more likely than not you won’t be able to get another one this year. I suggest to be friendly in any case when you call them up as it usually yields in the best results. Main argument is probably that travel benefits won’t apply this year for obvious reasons and that the benefits rolled out don’t do anything for you as you don’t use any of the services supplied via credit. Be prepared however for Amex to offer nothing and make a decison about your card.

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