How to save money with American Express

Now, the post’s title may sound a little off given that American Express is a credit card, but one of my favorite ways on how to save money is by using this credit card. Now, I am not just talking about the points or cash back I earn by using a loyalty program credit card, but savings offers just for using credit card discount programs such as AMEX Sync and others.

For holders of American Express credit cards, and a few select debit cards, like Serve, you are eligible for American Express’ “sync” program. Their sync program is how to save money on a rotating list of stores by rewarding you with statement credits when you buy a certain amount, say $100, on certain products or services. Typically, $25 is what is offered. But, it could be higher, if you spend more than $100, as I have seen. It works like this. First, you need to pull up your account on americanexpress.com. Second, you need to locate the tab at the bottom of the screen that says “Offers.” Third, and most importantly, you must “add” the offer to the card before making the purchase.

It usually works fairly seamlessly, but you do have to make sure the transaction goes through properly, use the right AMEX card when making the purchase if you have several, and also spend the minimum amount in one purchase. For this last point, you cannot make multiple purchases on separate occasions at a store and receive the bonus. 

how to save money

Credit: American Express

How to save money using credit card offers

Here is where I have applied this offer to something that I would purchase anyway. This past week (when I checked) AMEX was offering a promotion at Amazon for essentially free money. Spend $20 and receive a $20 statement credit! Yesterday, I visited Amazon, bought $20 worth of stuff I needed and then almost immediately received a confirmation indicating that I triggered the offer.

American Express offers are great, but other credit cards offer are another way on how to save money while shopping. Discover Deals, Master Card, and Visa all have programs as well that will help you save money just for adding offers to your cards. Bottom line, before you buy, see if what its in your wallet already can help snag a deal you weren’t even aware of.

“Plenti” is the new rewards program that might change everything

Especially if you are an American Express card holder, you might have heard about a new rewards program, Plenti, that launched a few months ago. This may be a game changer as far as loyalty programs go. Not only is American Express a backer of the combination online/in store shopping program, but it is partnering up with several other big names in retail such as Exxon, Rite Aid, Macy’s and others to bring consumers a “universal” rewards program.

rewards program

Credit: Businesswire and Plenti

Not only can you earn points with several different retail partners in this program, but you can also spend the currency across most of them as well. Some partners only allow just earning opportunities for now. For me, that’s huge. Instead of earning points that you may never be able to cash in due to high thresholds, now you have more options.

Here is how the Plenti rewards program works


Plenti is free and a snap to join. And, what’s also awesome is that Plenti will give you more opportunities for discounts and deals that you already have with existing loyalty programs. For example, if you are earning gas points at Safeway good for Exxon fuel discounts, you will still earn these along with Plenti points that you earn at the pump. Now, you have even more rewards programs that can help you save on gas money. There will be definitely be opportunities to “double dip” with this program. I will be on the hunt for those.

I hope to see a trend here in terms of universal currency loyalty program rollouts. I think consumers will be more convinced to join programs when they see easy earning and redeeming opportunities, especially across multiple options.

 

 

How to save money on event tickets

Like many, I love going to baseball games, so figuring out to how to save money on tickets is key. Too often, prices shown on ticket websites can be misleading. While there’s the “base” price, there can also be exorbitant ticketing fees that you don’t see until you check out. What are these fees? I am talking about the extra “junk fees” that ticket providers can tack on to your ticket price after they show you an initial teaser price. For example, search for a couple of baseball tickets on MLB.com and it is quite common that there will be “convenience fees,” “download fees,” “on demand fees,” “network fees,” etc. added. Download fees? Really? The good news is that I am going to show you how to save money on event tickets that works with sporting, concerts, and other events, even if you have to pay ticketing fees in the process.

While it can be almost impossible to avoid some sort of service charge when you buy an event ticket, there are ways to help bring down the initial cost of events which is the best way how to save money. I have used Seat Geek (formally Fansnap) in the past to buy tickets for this vary reason. Basically, the site is a ticket search engine that aggregates prices from leading ticket providers, such as Stubhub, and Razorgator. Seat Geek is pretty transparent with the total ticket price, including fees, but of course, you will never know until you go through the final entire transaction. Simply sort through the seats you want by event, date, and section and you can easily compare prices.

SeatGeek shows event goers how to save money on tickets

how to save money on events

Credit: SeatGeek

So, why use a site like SeatGeek?  Simple. By comparing ticket prices, you will get an idea how fees are added to the final sale price for event tickets. You might be surprised that the same event tickets sold directly by a team or venue are actually higher than a third-party site like Stub Hub. So, the next time you are seeking event tickets, do a little hunting to see if you can get the price down first which will help blunt the impact of any extra ticketing fees.