Posted by Chuck on July 27, 2016
Credit Card Benefits

Published on July 27th, 2016 | by Chuck

30

How do Statement Credits Affect Points and Minimum Spends with Amex?

Amex has various benefits and programs which result in statement credits, including the Airline Credit benefit, Amex Offer credits, Global Entry credits, and more.

Do those statement credits reduce the number of points/rewards earned? And do they reduce your overall spend on the road toward meeting the spend requirement for a signup bonus?

All statement credits (with the exception of returns) seem to count for minimum spend purposes. However, for earning points, there’s a difference between Amex Offer credits and OPEN credits which don’t earn, versus all other credits which do.

General

Some general things to keep in mind when calculating Amex rewards:

  • You don’t earn points on the annual fee.
  • Annual fees do not contribute to minimum spend requirements.
  • If you return an item the points are clawed back.
  • Rewards post after statement close with a one month delay, e.g. a day or two after your April statement closes, you’ll see the points from your March statement. SPG cards do not have this delay; the points show up within a few days of statement close.

Travel Benefit Credits

Amex has numerous travel credit benefits, such as their $200 airline incidental benefit on the Platinum card or $100 on the Premier Gold card, and their $100 Global Entry benefit.

Points are earned on Airline credits. Similarly, these purchases should count toward the minimum spend requirement.

Note that while travel benefit credits do not reduce your overall spend for promotional purposes, on the Amex site it will show as a decrease in your Year-to-Date spend. Disregard the YTD spend when you’re calculating your spend for promotional purposes.

Amex Offer Credits

Points

Amex Offer credits reduce the amount of points earned, e.g. if you spend $100 and get $20 back, you’ll get 80 credit card points, not 100. The system treats the Offer credit as if it were a return; if you buy $100 worth of goods and return $20, you’ll only get 80 reward points.

They even deduct it properly from the category bonus earnings. For example, if you get an Amex Offer credit at a grocery store on a Blue Cash card, you won’t earn any cash back on that purchase, not the base cash back amount and not the bonus cash back amount.

One case where this isn’t true is offer credits from Amex themselves, such as those $10 Amex Express Checkout credits last year. Those did earn points and cash back. Also, Amex Offers on third-party cards (such as BBVA, etc.) do earn points on the full amount of the purchase; they don’t process the credit as if it were a return.

Minimum Spend

Data points in the comments to this post suggest that Amex Offer credits DO count for meeting a minimum spend. Apparently, it’s just for point-earning purposes that they have it coded not to count, but for all else it does count.

Amex Open 5% Rebate

As with Amex Offers, the 5% OPEN savings on Amex business cards are considered by the system as if it were a return and it does not earn points. It should still count toward a minimum spend requirement, as with Amex Offers (above).

Interestingly, when there is an Amex Offer at an OPEN partner, the system awards 5% on the full purchase amount, without first deducting the Amex Offer credit.

Insurance Benefit Credits

Insurance benefits like Purchase Protection, Return Protection, Extended Warranty, and similar benefits should count toward your minimum spend and should not have any points deducted.

These benefits come through as ‘Payments’ in the Amex system, as if you sent a payment to the card in the amount of the statement credit. That shouldn’t affect the purchase for spend and points purposes at all.

Chase Travel Credit

With regards to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card $300 travel credit, it’s documented that the $300 travel credit does earn points (3x per dollar on travel), and also counts toward the minimum spend requirement.

Conclusion

While statement credits have been working to count toward the Amex minimum spend for the automated system, we recommend not counting them in case you ever have to deal with pesky representatives.

Thanks to these two Reddit threads (here and here) for inspiring this post

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30 Responses to How do Statement Credits Affect Points and Minimum Spends with Amex?

  1. Vince says:

    A question, do amex offer credits reduce the balance due after minimum amount paid?
    Thank you.

  2. Moe says:

    Hey, If I closed my card after receiving my airline statement credit, do they take it back?

  3. Nick says:

    Is this the same on Prestige? I am working on that min spend now.

    • Chuck says:

      I don’t know how it works for non-Amex cards, but I suspect that it will count with Prestige as with Amex.

      Hopefully, someone can chime in to confirm.

  4. mason says:

    it’s not clear to me from this article if amex offer credits deduct from total spend towards a minimum spend threshold. example: the $10k offer recently available on the SPG biz card. would an offer credit count against meeting that?

    • Chuck says:

      I believe Amex Offer credits will reduce your spend toward a minimum spend requirement, as discussed in the article.

      For example, if you have to spend $3k and you spend exactly $3k but got $10 back from an Amex Offer, you will NOT get the signup bonus.

      • gary says:

        i believe the offer credits do not reduce the spend requirement. when i did this with my mercedes card my bonus points posted right after i hit 3,000 which it would not have if the offer credits reduced the spend total.

        • Chuck says:

          Were these Amex Offer credits or airline credits?

          • gary says:

            i am finishing up a bonus offer for the hilton card. I just went over the required spend if i dont count the credits from amex offers. I will check again when it posts to see if amex shows me over the spending limit. i still have almost 2 months to meet the requirement. I know the points always show up right after the requirement is met. with My Mercedes card the points showed up the day after.

            if it dosent show up the day after i will call them to verify. if they answer correctly(50/0 Chance, they’ll be able to tell me if they show me meeting the requierments

          • Chuck says:

            Thanks Gary, let me know how it goes. I think I’ll have a test coming up on my Platinum MB as well. We’ll see.

  5. stvr says:

    Update for your article. On my BBVA and FIA Amex cards, the Amex Offer credit did not claw back points. For example:

    06/06/2016 — UNLEASHPETCOCO069880 7300 — $75.00 — 375 — NBA- Non Employee 5x Points Finals

  6. Ariel says:

    I recently got a BCP with $250 bonus after spending 1k. I made one transaction for 2 gift cards, so over 1k.

    When the charge posted, it showed the $1011.90 as category of grocery store spending. The bonus posted on the same day, *as a credit of grocery store spending!* Do you think they only counted ~$750 towards spending in terms of the 6x points and 6k limit? This was recently so the points will only post in a few weeks.

    • Chuck says:

      I’m pretty sure that signup bonuses are similar to travel credits and the like, and thus will earn points and bonus points.

      • Ariel says:

        I’m referring to the weird thing of the $250 bonus being not just a credit, but a credit with description/category of grocery store spending (presumably since a transaction at a grocery store pushed me over the limit to get the bonus). So now my activity shows as $750 for grocery store spending (1k-250).

  7. fathiss says:

    Good post. Good information to have. Thanks for researching this.

  8. Andy says:

    Total spent on AmEx platinum, 100k offer : 3015 (does not include annual fee). The last purchase made to tip it over was a 1k Plastiq payment that was the only purchase for the statement month

    Total spent on AmEx platinum including airline travel credits: 2815

    Total membership rewards from platinum only (posted plus 1k pending): 103015

    No amex offers used yet. 1 Point per dollar on the platinum so it’s easy to reconcile. I am sure that the airline spend counts (and the airline credit does not net that out to zero)

    • howard says:

      hi Andy, I am in the same boat as you. I am also sure this is true because I checked with numerous chat reps. However there seems to be a DP that goes against this. Did you put more spending on the card since then?

  9. Jerry says:

    I just got an AMEX Delta card, made my minimum spend of $2000, part of which was a $900 prepaid Hilton Grand Vacation to Hawaii that I have a year to redeem, but it can be cancelled, ( we are waiting on another couple to travel with)….I f I do cancel, later this year, but was awarded the 50,000 points, what happens ?? Can AMEX claw back the points after they have posted to my Delta Skymiles ?

    • Chuck says:

      Yeah, refundable trips aren’t the best way to meet minimum spend. I don’t know what will happen in practice, but it’s certainly in gamble.

  10. Joe-SC1 says:

    Thanks for all the great information in these posts!

    If anyone is still tracking this particular post, here is my data set:

    I just finished the spend for my 75,000 MR Platinum MB card. Hit $3,001.09 spend on August 6 and MR points were credited on August 8. The AMEX Offers, at least for this card, did not reduce my spend total. Those totaled $180 since July 7, but were not taken off the spend amount.

    I did not use the airline credits yet, so no information there.

    The only spend that did not count was the annual fee (as expected).

    Cheers.

    • Chuck says:

      Thanks, looks like Amex Offers do count for minimum spend. I’ll update the post.

      • howard says:

        hi Chuck, just to make sure, when you say Amex Offers count for minimum spend, you are saying the resulting statement credits don’t impact the minimum spend (i.e. we don’t need to subtract whatever credits we got from the spending), correct? and same thing holds for airline fee credits?

        • Chuck says:

          Right, I currently believe that EVERYTHING counts. All spend, regardless of any credits that result due to the spend. So if you spend $3000 and get back $500 from airline credits, OPEN credits, Amex Offer credits – you’ll still get the bonus.

          • howard says:

            Thank you Chuck! I strongly feel it’s true. I have checked with online reps numerous times and the total spend number they gave me were all not reduced by the $200 airline credits (I would be below $3000 if a subtraction is done). Still I saw one or two isolated DPs that say amex claws back points because of return/fee credits. I hope it’s because they failed to properly manage their total spending, not because amex is becoming unreasonably strict to new platinum accounts that are still being frozen.

          • howard says:

            also, I got my 100k soon after meeting spending (according to the reps’ calculations, also according to what counts/doesn’t account as discussed in this article). I can’t imagine them to claw back these points!

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