Introduction and Background
As you probably know, Amex Offers are special offers attached to your American Express cards. They generally take the form of either (a) a certain amount of statement credit after a certain amount of spend (a statement-credit Offer); or (b) a certain number of Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points if you spend at least a certain amount (a MR-earning Offer). [To learn more about Amex Offers in general, please see the article on our Resource page, Amex Offers Explained.]
At Middle Age Miles, we strongly prefer MR-earning Offers to statement-credit Offers, because we value MR points at more than 1 cent per point. And back in November, we wrote an article lamenting the demise of MR-earning Offers (see Where Have All the MR-Earning Amex Offers Gone?).
Yesterday we were very excited to see some comments in the Reddit Churning Daily Discussion thread and later, an article by Doctor of Credit, celebrating the return of MR-earning Amex Offers. Some Reddit commenters reported receiving MR-earning Offers on the same card where they had statement-credit Offers, resulting in a potential double dip.
This morning, we set out to explore the situation with the new Amex MR-earning Offers with a full review and analysis of 20+ Amex cards held in our family by 4 different users. Unfortunately, what we found did not match our initial enthusiasm, leading us to ask the question …
Are MR-Earning Amex Offers Back – Or Just Shuffled Around?
Results of our Research
As we mentioned above, we did a full review and analysis of the Amex Offers on 20+ Amex cards held in our family by 4 different users – me, Philly, and Middle Age Miles kids KB and Andrew.
1. Craig’s Cards
I have 8 MR-earning Amex cards where I am the primary cardholder, and 1 where I’m an Authorized User (AU). I also have several Amex co-branded cards that do not earn MR points, such as the Amex Hilton Aspire and the Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card (formerly the SPG Luxury card).
- Prior to yesterday, none of my Amex cards had any MR-earning Offers available.
- Now, all of my MR-earning Amex cards have MR-earning Offers available – anywhere between 10 and 16 MR-earning Offers on each card.
- This includes all of the following cards: (1) Personal Platinum; (2) Personal Gold; (3) Personal EveryDay; (4) Business Platinum; (5) Business Rewards Gold (legacy card); (6) Business Green; (7) Blue Business Plus (as primary cardholder); (8) Blue Business Plus (as AU); and (9) Blue for Business.
- Merchants with MR-earning Offers include: (1) 1-800-Flowers; (2) 7 For All Mankind; (3) Art.com; (4) Boxed; (5) Casper.com; (6) John Varvatos; (7) Martha Stewart Wine; (8) Norwegian Cruise Line; (9) The Red Door Salon & Spa; (10) Rover; (11) Splendid; (12) Squarespace; (13) Telecharge; (14) Teleflora; (15) Wayfair; and (16) WineInsiders.com.
- There were 3 instances where I had previously enrolled in a statement-credit Offer for a merchant, and yesterday I also received a MR-earning Offer for that merchant: (1) Art.com; (2) Martha Stewart Wine; and (3) Teleflora.
- It appears that we were able to enroll in these new MR-earning Offers even though we had previously enrolled in the statement-credit version. This sets up the possibility of a double-dip – that is, receiving both the statement credit and the MR points for the 2 Offers, with a single qualifying purchase.
- There were no instances where any of the new MR-earning Offers had a corresponding statement-credit Offer on any of my other Amex cards. This includes my co-branded non-MR-earning Amex cards such as the Hilton Aspire and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant (former SPG Luxury) cards.
Historically, one of the nice “opportunities” related to MR-earning Offers has been that you’d often receive an MR-earning Offer on one Amex card and a corresponding statement-credit Offer on another card. In this situation, you’d be able to take advantage of the Offer twice, receiving MR points on one Offer and statement credit on the other. A recent example where we used this was an Amex Offer for MGM Resorts. We used one of Philly’s cards to earn 5,000 MR points with a $250 purchase, and another of her cards to earn a $50 statement credit with another $250 purchase.
But if the current situation on my cards – no statement-credit Offers corresponding to the new MR-earning Offers – holds true into the future, it’s possible that Amex may have eliminated the “corresponding offers” opportunity. This would definitely be an unhappy development. We’ll keep watch on this issue.
2. Philly’s Cards
To the extent the situation with my cards was hopeful with respect to MR-earning Amex Offers, the situation with Philly’s cards was the exact opposite – quite grim:
- Until yesterday, Philly’s Amex Business Platinum card was the only card in our entire Amex portfolio that had regularly been receiving MR-earning Amex Offers.
- Now, as of yesterday/today, Philly’s Business Platinum card has exactly zero MR-earning Offers available for enrollment.
- But, at least the MR-earning Offers where she had previously enrolled stayed in place and remain attached to her account as MR-earning Offers.
- There are no instances where she has both a MR-earning Offer and a corresponding statement-credit Offer, either on a single card or on different cards.
- In addition, there are no MR-earning Offers on her Blue Business Plus card (primary cardholder).
What happened here? Is Philly no longer receiving MR-earning Offers at all? Her situation seems to be exactly the same as “TheJester” who was the second commenter on the Doctor of Credit article.
The situation with Philly and “TheJester” is very disappointing.
Could it be the case that Amex has not expanded the availability of MR-earning Offers but instead merely shuffled the decks so that different people are getting them and some are now excluded? It sure seems like it.
3. KB & Andrew’s cards
Middle Age Miles kids KB & Andrew each have 2 MR-earning Amex cards. Each of them is an AU on a personal EveryDay card and a Blue Business Plus card. Their situation is:
- Prior to yesterday, they did not have any MR-earning Offers on any of their cards (but have very occasionally received MR-earning Offers in the past).
- As of yesterday/today, they do not have any MR-earning Offers on any of their cards.
Clearly, KB & Andrew were not part of yesterday’s rollout of MR-earning Offers to different users.
Summary and Conclusion
Our research and analysis reveals:
- Data points of cardholders who were not getting MR-earning Offers are now getting them (Craig + some commenters on Reddit Churning and Doctor of Credit)
- Data points of cardholders who used to get MR-earning Offers but are not getting them at this time (Philly + TheJester)
- Data points of cardholders who were not getting MR-earning Offers and still aren’t (KB & Andrew)
- [UPDATE 2/19/19 at 11:15 am CST – Commenter Sue adds a DP of a cardholder who was previously receiving MR-earning Offers and continues to receive them.]
We also have my unfortunate data point where I’m not seeing any instances of having a MR-earning Offer on one card and a corresponding statement-credit Offer on another card.
There are certainly more data points to be found and analyzed here – but at this point, it looks to us like Amex has merely shuffled the decks, as opposed to universally improving the availability of MR-earning Offers. In addition, if we’re not going to get instances of corresponding MR-earning and statement-credit Offers on different cards any longer, that’s a meaningful negative.
We thought there was reason for great optimism here, but now we’re not so sure.
What’s your situation with respect to MR-earning Offers? We’d love to collect more data points and reach conclusions that are more solid, so please share with us in the Comments!
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