American Express gave its Platinum (both consumer/personal and business) card members some generous statements in May to help folks deal with the stay-at-home world.
Those credits expire at the end of December— and Amex hasn’t indicated they’ll extend those benefits. (There’s still time to use them this month.)
So with that in mind, I’ve started changing the preferred billing methods on my cell phone, streaming provider, and shipping accounts.
Here’s what I’m doing for each category.
Cell Phone Bill
Both The Platinum Card from American Express and Business Platinum Card from American Express (as well as the American Express Green Card) gave members a monthly $20 statement credit when using their card to pay a US cell phone provider bill.
Because I have both Platinum cards, I split the payments this way:
- $20: Platinum Card from American Express
- $20: Business Platinum Card from American Express
- Balance: Usually my Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card or Chase Ink Cash Credit Card
For the first several months, I used my Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card to help chip away at the $30,000 spend requirement so I could score the MQM bonus.
But once my wife was approved for the no-annual-fee Chase Ink Cash card in October, we immediately paid our cell phone bill balance with that instead. Why? It earns 5X Ultimate Rewards points on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases each account anniversary year on phone, internet, and cable services, and at office supply stores.
We’ll pay our cell phone bill in full with the Chase Ink Cash. The option of using Ultimate Rewards points for travel or statement credit — especially on 5X earnings — is quite appealing.
Our Delta Reserve cards won’t get quite the workout in 2021 that they did in years past. We don’t plan to go crazy on MQM through credit card spread, because we don’t yet know if Delta will roll over all MQM to 2022 (like they did this year). We’re shooting for one MQM Status Boost per Reserve card (his and hers).
The Platinum Card from American Express gave members a monthly $20 statement credit when paying for select US streaming providers. I paid Netflix and Apple Music with my Amex Platinum Card. After the credit kicked in, I was out of pocket about $3 a month between those two streamers. Nice!
My Hulu-Disney+-ESPN+ bundle and new HBO Max went on our Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. That card awards 6% cashback on select US streaming providers.
We’ll simply shift Netflix and all our Apple subscriptions to the Blue Cash Preferred. And when Major League Baseball starts back up (whenever that happens), I’ll charge my MLB.TV subscription to the Blue Cash Preferred.
If you don’t have the Blue Cash Preferred card (and you really should!) the US Bank Cash+ (5X on select categories) and Wells Fargo Propel Amex (3X on streaming) are solid options for streaming purchases.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express afforded cardholders up to $20 in monthly statement credits when used with some US shipping providers.
I used the credits to mail prizes to our SWAG Saturday winners. I also let my father-in-law’s small business use it a few times. And I confirmed that it works for mailbox renewals at The UPS Store. My wife had to ship gifts to nieces and nephews, so we used it for those purchases, too.
But to be honest, I do very little shipping and mailing. (At least, not enough to merit getting a credit solely for those charges.) So I’m fine using my Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card for those purchases until I hit the $30,000 Status Boost spend. I’ll reevaluate after that.
Other good options for the shipping include American Express Business Gold Card (4X on select purchases, limits apply), the Chase Ink Preferred (3X — see, there’s that Ink Preferred card again!), or a 2X cards such as the Blue Business Cash or Blue Business Plus from American Express (those are just two of many).
I certainly appreciated the statement credits that Amex gave some of its cardholders. Many people weren’t able to use the airline incidental credits, so these sort of made up for that. (In the case of the consumer/personal Platinum card, it more than made up for it, IMHO).
It may be time to start dropping some of the high-ticket cards if they don’t pay for themselves. So I’m glad I have several good options for earning Ultimate Rewards and cash back. Those are definitely the best options for me going into 2021. What about you?
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