Last week, I reviewed my American Express credit card portfolio. My primary takeaway was to close my consumer Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card. Ironically, yesterday, I received a spend promotion from American Express for that very card.
The offer is very straightforward:
Register the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express by April 30, 2018.
Make $1,500 in eligible purchases using the Card by June 30, 2018.
Earn a $50 statement credit.
The $1,500 spend can be completed twice. In other words, if I spend $3,000 before June 30, I would receive a $100 statement credit.
The credit itself is a 3.3% cash return on spend, better than the rate currently on most savings accounts. This is in addition to the standard return of 2.7% for one Starpoint per dollar spent on the card. Overall, $3,000 of spend would net a total return of 6.0%. Not too shabby.
Why I wont't complete this offer
If I were not planning to cancel the card, since I am finished with the initial spend requirement on my Chase Ink Business Preferred Card, I would transfer my non-bonused spend to the SPG card without delay. However, despite the attractive total return, I will proceed with the cancellation. Why? Well, as they say, the devil is in the details.
The timing for this offer is almost certainly tied to my card renewal date in May. I have only charged one recurring monthly charge to this card so I suspect the account has been flagged as "at risk." The offer is likely intended to prevent account closure. However, the offer timeline is why I won't postpone closing the account to obtain the statement credit.
In the email, the terms state:
If you reach the Purchase Requirement, the statement credit will be applied to your account 8–12 weeks after July 17, 2018....To receive the statement credit, your Card Account must not be cancelled or past due at the time of fulfillment.
Conveniently after the annual fee is due. Because American Express ended prorated refunds of annual fees upon card cancellation, even if I close the account after receiving a $100 statement credit, I would net $5 after the annual fee. When reviewing my accounts, I wondered if American Express might offer something to keep the account open, and this is effectively such an offer: a "waiver" of the annual fee if I were to achieve a spending threshold.
Even if waiting until late summer to cancel did not impact my ability to apply for other Amex credit cards (I am currently at the max of 5 Amex credit cards), $5 is not much of an incentive to renew a card that that virtually never use.
The spend promotion from my Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card would be very compelling if I were planning to keep the card. By simply putting spend on the card, I could essentially waive my upcoming annual fee. However, this offer does nothing to change the value equation that led me to decide to cancel, so I will proceed with closing the account this week.
Have you received a similar offer? Did you take advantage of it? Let us know in the comments below.