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So I got the (relatively) new American Express EveryDay Preferred card as part of a churn a few months ago. And of course by “I”, I mean “my wife” (which actually turned out to be somewhat of a hassle, as I will explain later)
I like the card and it’s currently our goto card at grocery stores (earning 3% there). Well, at least the stores that we shop at that TAKE American Express (which is generally just Kroger or Meijer here).
One of the more unique things about this card is that if you use the card to make 30 or more purchases in a month, you get a 50% bonus on your card. So at grocery stores, this could mean you get 4.5% on your spend (though the category bonus is limited to the first $6500 of spend).
Buying gift cards at Kroger
Anyways, back in early July, Kroger ran a promotion where you got a $5 coupon off of your next order if you bought 2 Visa or Mastercard orders with a limit of 1 per day. Early on we figured out that you didn’t need to buy 2 cards, and there was no limit enforced.
My plan early on was to get 12 $500 cards, which should get 18,000 American Express points (12 * 500 * 3), which should make 27,000 Membership Rewards points after the 50% bonus.
You’ll pay 12 * $5.95 or $71.40 in activation fees, but you will also get $60 back in grocery coupons. Add in a few extra dollars if you cash out with money orders instead of Bluebird, but your total cost should be under $20. Not bad for Amex points that conservatively are valued at least $500.
I think I ended up with 5 or 6 of them before stopping. One problem that I had was that the card was in my wife’s name, and Kroger seemed to have a pretty strict policy about making sure that the card matched your ID. One cashier let me do it with my name and her card, but a couple of other ones would not. Since she’s usually dealing with “the crew” of kids, she often does not want to deal with me sending her in to do things like this. I’ve learned to tread carefully here 🙂
When you log in to your account, it shows you how many transactions you’ve made so far, as such.
Anyways, so midway through the month, I had about 17 of my 30 transactions done when I logged into my account to find that my transaction count had been reset!!
It was then that I learned that the transaction count is based on your STATEMENT DATES, not a calendar month. It makes sense when you think about it. In fact, looking at the official terms, and even my earlier post about the card, it clearly does say it’s based per statement period, but it was a shock to me.
I even used my trick to always get a live chat with an Amex agent (several times), but nobody was able to help me
The moral of the story
Well the obvious moral of this (and many other stories…. ) is that I’m an idiot 🙂
The other one is to make sure to read the fine print, and for these cards, make sure if you’re trying to hit your 30 transactions to get a 50% bonus, that you do it based on your STATEMENT beginning and end dates.
My mistake cost me about ~6,000 American Express points, but it doesn’t have to happen to you! I guess after they gave me 50,000 points I wasn’t expecting, I’m still in the black with them 😛