With Amex Offers, Travel By or Book By?

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As you all know, I love earning “free” money with Amex Offers. With these offers I receive a decent amount of statement credits throughout the course of the year at merchants that I would shop with anyways. While these offers are great (especially since there are always so many of them), knowing how to fully take advantage of them is extremely important!

Yesterday, a reader reached out asking me a question specifically about the World’s Leading Cruise Line Offer. With this offer, if you spend $500, you’ll receive a $100 statement credit. As long as you were going to book a cruise with them anyways, seems like a great way to save an extra $100 just by using your American Express card! The terms of this offer states that it expires April 14, 2017. 

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So the question is “Do you need to book by this date, or travel by this date?” When it comes to Amex Offers (and that includes ALL offers, not just the one discussed above), American Express doesn’t care about any of the details of your purchase. All they see is that a certain dollar amount was spent and if it meets the minimum amount required by the offer, it issues you a statement credit. There is no one sitting behind a desk, checking your statement and matching up to the offers, and then issuing a statement credit. So that means that as long as the purchase hits your credit card by the expiration date, you are good to go. They do not care when you are traveling (or even if it is you that is traveling!). So for this example above, if the merchant charges you immediately upon making the reservation, then you are good to go. If they do not charge you until your cruise actually departs or a certain time frame prior to, and those dates are after the offer expires, it will not trigger the statement credit, even if you booked prior to the offer expiring.

While this probably impacts travel related offers the most, it is important to keep in mind for all merchant offers. For example, recently there was a Neiman Marcus offer. Neiman Marcus (and most other merchants selling you an item) will not charge your credit card until the item is shipped. If the item takes a few weeks to ship for whatever reason, your credit card might not be charged until well after you made the purchase. If this also happens to be after the offers expiration date, it will not trigger the statement credit.

American Express doesn’t care when the order was placed, shipped, traveled to, booked by, etc. – they only care when the purchase hits your credit card! Just make sure to keep this in mind when taking advantage of Amex Offers!

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    • @Krystyna – I am not sure. I haven’t personally tried myself and haven’t seen any reports stating whether or not it has worked.

  1. That’s why in certain cases (like travel for example), it may be good practice to buy a gift card during the Amex offer eligibility period, have it charged to your account immediately, and presumably the offer credited, and then use that gift card for the future planned travel.

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