Maximizing Sam’s Club Awesome Amex Offer – Free Money!

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Yesterday I wrote about the new Amex Offer which gives a $20 statement credit with a $20+ purchase at Sam’s Club online. This ultimately means free money! As I mentioned, this offer is available to everyone and you can take advantage of it for every single American Express card you have!

To register: 

  • Sync every American Express credit card you have with Twitter. If you have not already done this, follow the directions outlined in this previous blog post.
  • Tweet #AmexSamsClub from EVERY twitter account. I personally use TweetDeck to simplify my life as I am able to just send off one tweet and it registers all my accounts! This will register you for the Amex Sam’s Club promotion. Just make sure you receive the confirmation tweet back from @AmexOffers.
  • Make your $20+ purchase by September 30, 2015.

Over the course of the day, I did a bunch of digging, and found a bunch of ways to fully maximize on the deal. Here is what I found:

  1. Purchase a Sam’s Club membership at a discount. While having a Sam’s Club membership to take advantage of this deal is not necessary, if you want to purchase a year long membership Groupon is offering a good deal. $45 for a ‘Plus’ membership which also includes a $20 gift card and about $22 in food vouchers. Keep in mind though that this membership voucher can only be redeemed in-store. However, if you do not want a membership, you can always purchase items online with a 10% surcharge (although read #2 for a workaround). 
  2. Sign up for a guest account with a California address. If you have a California address, you will NOT be charged the 10% surcharge. You can always have the item shipped to a different address than what is on your account.
  3. Purchase Sam’s Club gift cards. You can purchase a $20 Sam’s Club gift card directly online. No where in the terms does it state that gift card purchases are ineligible. You can then use a Sam’s Club gift card at Walmart! You can purchase a Sam’s Club gift card here.
  4. Purchase a Vanilla Mastercard Gift Card: Purchase a $50 Mastercard gift card for $52.38. After the $20 statement credit, this will cost you only $32.38. You can then use the $50 gift card as cash at any merchant that accepts Mastercards.  You can purchase a Vanilla Mastercard gift card here.
  5. Purchase another merchants Gift Card at a discount: Sam’s Club (similar to Costco and BJ’s) sells gift cards to many other merchants at a discount. From what I see online, gift cards go anywhere for between 1% to 10% off. A few examples: Purchase a $50 UNO’s gift card for $39.98. With the $20 statement credit, the $50 gift card will end up costing you only $19.98, giving you a 60% discount. Or, you could purchase a $100 Southwest gift card for $96.98. With the $20 statement credit, the $100 gift card will cost you $76.98, about a 23% discount. If you do not have a Sam’s Club membership, you are not able to purchase eGift cards. You can purchase merchant gift cards here. 
  6. Use multiple Amex credit cards in one transaction: To maximize your purchase, you can use up to two American Express cards per purchase. This means if you have multiple Amex cards, you can purchase a $40 gift card in one transaction, or a $50 Mastercard will end up costing $12.38, or a merchant gift card will cost even less!

Currently, ALL purchases made at Sam’s Club online are being coded as a Photo purchase which is excluded from the cash back promotion. Clearly this is a glitch in the system, so I suggest holding off on making your purchase until all is worked out. If you already made a purchase, you can always call American Express and have them manually credit your account. The problem arises when you have a third party Amex card (i.e., Citi American Airline Amex) where Amex will direct you over to Citi and Citi will not take responsibility.

Remember, since this is available via Twitter, ALL American Express credit cards are eligible. This includes hotel and airline branded Amex cards (i.e., Starwood Amex, Delta Amex, Hilton Amex, American Airlines Amex, etc.), store branded Amex cards (i.e., Costco Amex, Macy’s Amex, Bloomingdales Amex, etc.), authorized user cards, Bluebird by American Express, Serve, etc. Essentially the only cards not eligible are American Express corporate cards, pre-paid cards, and Target REDCard. You can check a list of all eligible American Express credit cards here.

Personally, I once people start reporting that online purchases are triggering the statement credits, I will be purchasing Sam’s Club gift cards to use at Walmart. This will allow me to purchase gift cards in exactly $20 increments so I will not be putting out any additional money.

Enjoy your free purchases!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


      • Can Sam’s Club gift cards be used to purchase Visa/Mastercard gift cards? Thinking of purchasing a bunch of $20 Sam’s Club gift cards and then consolidating them to use them to buy a single Visa gift card.

  1. Thank You for all your hard work! This deal seems like a deal in progress. I look forward to all your updates.

  2. Since purchases are being coded as “PHOTO” (which is excluded) has anyone thought to call AMEX now to correct the error? Seems like that approach is better for AMEX than getting 1000’s of calls when the statement credits don’t post. Jammed phone lines, cost of reps’ time, etc., besides looking bad that they didn’t honor the promotion initially.

  3. Folks on SlickDeals are reporting that purchases are now coding correctly. Is that everyone’s experience on here too?

    • @mark – Yes I saw that too. However, still do not see any emails going through or credits. Although, on some offers I have not always received an email and statement credits can take up to a week.

  4. My 2 gift card purchases both posted as online photo. I called Amex and Sams Club and sent them emails. I also called Michael Finney on 7 on Your Side, a consumer radio program and told him the situation on the radio. He gave me a number to call him back off the air tomorrow so hopefully that will get something done. I don’t think either company will want the bad PR.

    • NEVER EVER CALL ABOUT A DEAL! It kills it faster than newbies asking cashiers 5 million questions. Geez. Some people kill it for the rest of us.

      • Actually you are wrong in two ways. Calling didn’t kill this deal. And AMEX was able to correct the posting area once they were notified. You are confusing this offer with those that are “mistakes”. AMEX offers aren’t mistakes, the Smart and Final 100% reimbursement and others are planned months in advance. They know exactly what they are offering.

  5. In the UNOs example – $10 off $50 is actually 20% off… So far have only done the Groupon membership part – kids loved the cupcakes!

  6. If you actually buy something at Sam’s club (not gift card), do you know if your $20 purchase minimum include or exclude cost of shipping? Thanks.

    • @raymond – yes, shipping and taxes are included. Amex just cares about the final charge that hits your statement

  7. I bought a gift card and it coded as Photo…called Amex and they added a $20 credit…but I still get to use the Statement Credit

  8. Purchased e gift card and initially posted pending as Online photo but yesterday pending as and today no longer pending as charge has finalized. This afternoon $20 credit posted to my account. Time to spend on my 7 other Amex cards!!!

    • Hi, did you get the email confirmation from Amex after the transaction posted on your card (the email Amex usually sends after completing the transaction with the merchant – in this case,

      • @ibh – No I did not receive an email confirmation, although I do not always get them when making successful purchases.

  9. To really maximize this deal remember to go through a cash back portal. Top cash back is paying 4% so an extra 80 cents back per synced card 🙂

    Keep me posted if you receive the cash back.

  10. Just saw a comment above to note…. shop that groupon through a portal! Chase UR is giving 4x points for a groupon purchase!

  11. I have been reading that it is very very difficult to activate Sam’s gift cards if you are not a member. Does anyone have any information on this

    • @Carol – I ordered my Sam’s gift card a few days ago so I will be sure to report back once I receive it in the mail.

      • Any news on Sam’s club gift card activation process? I received email from Sam’s club saying I need to activate the card in order to use it, but when I went to their web site it says the activation code (that is automatically entered as part of the URL) is not valid. I called Sam’s club customer service and was told that the card should have already been activated when it is shipped. I haven’t tried using the gift card at Walmart yet but I am wondering if you have any update. Thanks.

        • Login to your account and go into the “Activate a Gift Card” link. You will need to enter the card # and pin found on your card. It’s really easy.

  12. Anyone having consistent success with this offer yet? I bought a Fandango gift card ($50 card currently on sale for $38, so $18 after this offer), and it did not work. Double checked my statement and it was NOT coded as photo, so I called AMEX and asked what was up.

    They initially said that the credit will post within 90 days of the offer ending (in September), but then just gave me a $20 credit for my pains as a “one time” solution.

    I have a LOT of AMEX cards and was able to sync them all using Twitter, so I’m just waiting to hear that this offer is consistently posting before buying a slew of $20 gift cards. Thanks!

  13. So I registered with a CA address (my in-laws) but when I use my personal address for shipping it adds the 10% surcharge back on. So you would have to ship to a CA address to avoid the 10% non-member surcharge, not just register with that address.

    • @Kristina – Interesting. I placed an order a few days ago and did not get hit with the 10% fee (CA account address but NY shipping address). Although my gift card has not arrived yet, so let’s see!

  14. Does anyone know if there’s a 10% charge for non-members buying a Sam’s Club gift card, i.e. how much would a $20 SC GC cost a non-member?

  15. Weird. Sam’s Club pending $22 for GC (charged extra 10%) for about 5 days. Not coded as photo or whatever. Got email saying it shipped. Go to Amex and the charge has completely disappeared. Not in pending, not in charges, not in credits. Just gone.

  16. how can we use two amex cards in one transaction? I’m only seeing the option to enter one card. thanks for your help!

  17. The lowest value Sam’s Club card available is $50, using the link above to gift cards and by performing a search at the site. How is it possible to buy cards in $20 increments?

  18. I am very disappointed with all involved. I went through both my A/E accounts and my wife’s of which we usually have both of us on each account. Of the multiple accounts we have my SPG Business account showed the Sam’s club offer and so did my authorized account on my wife’s Business Gold Open account. I clicked on both and truly felt like I had registered based on the screens I saw at the time. Now that the statements have come in I see the $20 credit on the SPG account but nothing on the Open account. I call tonight and spoke with 2 managers above the original rep and both told me that the T&C clearly state that only 1 offer can be received regardless of which account (either mine or my wife’s) that the offer was signed up for. I tried to plead my case that the web site should be able to track whether I am eligible or not as I am trying to register before making a purchase. They did not budge, said it is my responsibility to now the T&C. It is just $20 but I really feel betrayed. I did not sign up for every account I have via Twitter, only the ones A/E offered me and appeared to accept. If you decide to take advantage of these offer in the future please be prepared to get screwed around if you sign up for more than one offer even if they accept it.

    • I’ve been getting all my credits on both mine and my wife’s accounts as primary and secondary. Do you have both CCs linked to a user account or different user accounts? Look in the Amex offers tab and make sure that the offer is selected for both cards (primary and secondary). In the past I thought I had selected and offer for one but it turned out to not be the case. I think eligibility is a per card type of offer, I’ll leave it to the experts to answer.

  19. I tried checking out a Fandango gift card with a guest Sam’s club gift card. Apparently guest members are not eligible to purchase e-gift cards. Also for physical cards they charge shipping. Anybody know a workaround for this?

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