Amex Offer – Spend $300 on Airfare, Get $50 Back

I just came across this offer while going through my wife’s American Express offers. She seems to get the better ones that I don’t get on either my EveryDay Preferred or Starwood Preferred Guest Business card.

Get a one-time $50 statement credit by using your enrolled Card to spend a total of $300 or more on purchases made directly with any airline by 9/15/15. See terms and conditions for details and exclusions.

I think this is an easy & self-explanatory one that any readers of this blog can take advantage of. Just make sure the purchase is directly with the airline and not through a third party like Orbitz, Priceline, etc.

I’ve read that there is a better version of this offer (spend $300, get $75 back) and that it’s highly targeted. Hopefully, you find this offer in your American Express accounts. Any discount on airfare is a welcome one!

Register Now! American Express Small Business Saturday

Registration for American Express Small Business Saturday is live!

Register all your eligible American Express cards at this link as soon as you can.

As I detailed in a previous post, this year’s Small Business Saturday, which occurs on November 29th, will be different from previous years.

Each eligible American Express card will be allowed a $10 credit up to 3 times.

To earn the $10 credit, one must make a minimum $10 purchase at a shop/store/restaurant participating in Small Business Saturday. See the map here for establishments in your area.

I’ll probably be doing all our transactions at a local liquor store that was kind enough to work with us to swipe all our cards last year.

So don’t delay in registering because you never know when registration will be filled and then Amex will pull the offer!

Small Business Saturday 2014

Shop Small

One of my favorite days of the year for free money is returning this year to kick off the holiday season.

Small Business Saturday (Shop Small) will happen on November 29, 2014.

Last year’s event was a bit of a downer due to the reduced statement credit of only $10 per card. However, this year Amex has stepped it up by offering three $10 statement credits per eligible American Express card! That is effectively $30 in statement credits per card!

Registration

Registration is limited (though I don’t recall ever being shut out of registering) and will go live on November 16 at 12AM MST.

Make sure you register every single Amex card you have.

As usual, corporate and prepaid cards are not eligible, but Serve and Bluebird cards are this year!

Eligible Small Businesses & Strategy

You can always check out the map of eligible small businesses to plan your day with the utmost efficiency.

Last year, I found a great local liquor store who had no problems ringing up our 16+ cards separately. Sadly, this year we only have 8 Amex cards, but I’ll still hatch a plan that will earn us $240 in statement credits.

Again, you will only receive the $10 statement credit if you make a purchase of at least $10 at an eligible small business. Do this 3 times per card. Don’t just charge a single $30 transaction.

Terms

Here is a link to the full Terms & Conditions.

One thing that I noticed in the terms & conditions that is different from last year is:

Purchases at gas or service stations do not qualify for the statement credit, regardless of whether they appear on the Shop Small Map.

Looks like I won’t be stopping by the gas pump to have Amex reimburse me for driving around on Small Biz Saturday.

Bluebird & Serve Increase Daily Load Limit to $2500

American Express Bluebird has updated their Membership Agreement. Previously, the daily load limit was $1,000 via loading online with Vanilla Reload cards or loading in person at Walmart with a debit/gift card.

As of July 1, the daily load limit will now be $2,500. However, the daily limit for loading at Walmart will be $1,999.99.

bluebird walmart 2

bluebird walmart

This effectively halves the amount of times you have to visit a Walmart to reach the monthly limit of $5,000.

I’m very happy with this news because it decreases the time & effort it takes to load our Bluebird accounts. It also aligns perfectly with our latest points-earning strategy, the TD Go card. Stay tuned for a future post on that.

Note, American Express Serve has also mirrored this increased daily load limit to $2,500.

Hat tip to Frequent Miler

Bluebird Life After Vanilla Reloads

Since the big news last month that Vanilla Reload cards were going cash only at CVS stores nationwide, some manufactured spenders have been scrambling for alternatives. There are definitely options, though none easier than the good old Vanilla Reload.

Enter the OneVanilla Prepaid Visa Card.

You can still, at the time of this post, purchase these prepaid cards at CVS stores (and other stores) with a miles/points earning credit card. The fee on these cards is $4.95 ($1 more than the old Vanilla Reloads).

You can then go to Walmart and load you Bluebird account at a MoneyCenter kiosk or at a regular cashier by using the OneVanilla as a debit card. The PIN is whatever 4-digit number you enter upon your first purchase. In this case, the first and ONLY use of this card so enter any 4 digits.

There are, of course, caveats to this. You need a Walmart within a reasonable distance. The further it is from you, the more time & gas you waste, adding to the overall cost of points. Also, you can only load $1,000 per day with this method so to max out your spend potential each month, you would have to visit a Walmart a minimum of 5 times.

My process (which includes Joann) is as follows:

  1. We each buy 2 $500 OneVanilla Prepaid Visa Cards at our local CVS using credit cards. (Note: Your store’s policy may differ regarding the number of prepaid cards you can buy in one transaction)
  2. With our $2,000 worth of OneVanilla cards, we go to Walmart (ours doesn’t have a MoneyCenter so we do this with a regular cashier)
  3. We each load our Bluebird accounts with $1,000 (in 2 separate $500 transactions)
  4. We go home and pay our credit card bills with Bluebird Bill Pay!

Again, we try to maximize our trips to Walmart so we both load the maximum $1,000 per day to our Bluebird accounts. It wouldn’t be worthwhile to just buy one $500 OneVanilla, drive to Walmart, and load only $500.

It’s never going to be as easy as it was with Vanilla Reloads, but Bluebird is still a viable option for manufactured spend. It just takes a little extra effort now.