Posted by William Charles on December 8, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on December 8th, 2019 | by William Charles

28

American Express Offering ‘Plan It’ Feature With No Fees On Some Purchases

Update 12/8/19: Looks like American Express is pushing this hard again.

Late last year American Express started testing something called ‘Plan It‘ on some credit cards. The idea behind Plan It is to give you some flexibility to pay off large purchases over a period of time, when you make a qualifying purchase with Plan It you then pay it off in equal monthly payments over a time period chosen by you. Rather than paying interest, you pay a monthly fee instead.

American Express is now offering some ‘Plan It’ offers where you don’t pay that monthly fee. Effectively this gives you an interest free period on those purchases. Think of it as AmEx offers but instead of getting a statement credit, you pay no interest on those purchases instead. For example here is one offer on Hilton purchases:

It seems that the offers are primarily on travel plans. My issue with these types of interest free period offers is that it can cause consumers to spend more than they typically would and when the interest free period ends the interest rates skyrocket. I guess in this case it looks like you’d have the full debt repaid during the interest free period, but there is still the chance of overspending and defaulting. At the end of the day each individual is responsible for making sure that doesn’t happen to them, but I always like to pay my balances in full at the end of each month that way it’s very clear what my current financial position is. Additionally rather than the type of offer above, I’d much prefer a typical AmEx Offer for Hilton that offers straight cash or points back.

Hat tip to FM

 



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MTPDC
MTPDC

I have been using Plan It on an Everyday for several months on large purchases and have never paid any fee or interest – the fee is always “$0.00.”

Brandon
Brandon

If you are a new cardholder in your 0% APR period, there is no fee to use the Plan It feature. I have been using this too.

For those who don’t use it, Plan It gives some time frame to pay back the amount in full. They split the cost evenly over the period and ADD that to the min monthly due. They also give you an Adjusted Balance (Balance on card-amounts on Plans not due that month=Adjusted Balance) that if you pay makes you get no interest on the account.

MTPDC
MTPDC

The instant I hit post, I realized it’s because of the 0% introductory rate. Doh.

Joe
Joe

I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but if there’s no interest anyway, one can just use a calculator to determine a monthly payment. Plus, what if one just wants to put the money in a savings account and pay the balance off at the end of 0% APR period?

P
P

Yep. I have this on aspire. I can’t find a way to remove it so I don’t accidentally add it

Jason
Jason

If there’s no early payment penalty then you can just pay it off in full anyhow though.

Lrdx
Lrdx

There is no downside of a free plan..

John
John

Mines for a + $500 stay at the Hilton. I guess if you have a wedding or big event in the future your saving up for it may be a good idea? Otherwise if you have to take out a loan to stay at the Hilton you really probably shouldnt be. Even at 0%. I dont know what Amex/Hilton was thinking here.

Mikey
Mikey

Your analysis of this offer highlighted an assumption that is spot on: the bank is hoping you’ll overspend and then be trapped in an exorbitant interest rate down the road. I once received an offer from CITI for fee and interest free convenience checks lasting six months. I was judicious in maxing out the offer but made 100% that I would have the funds to repay the balance a month before the promo expired. This is practically the only way consumers should consider accepting these offers.

Jan B
Jan B

Really no different from others. Just a work around.

Really interesting documentary from PBS with how and why the 0% teasers got started probably over two decades ago. Just watching it and realizing the intent keeps one vigilant with the promotions.

weedibix
weedibix

True of typical 0% offers, but not this one. You pay this loan down over its duration, so at the end there is no balance.

JamaicanTraveller
JamaicanTraveller

This could be a good way to float reimbursed work expenses for a few months, which you then use for a high interest savings account or short CD for 5 months.

T
T

I’m here to see if others have done similar floating schemes and have been successful. My only concern is that the banks sometimes somehow find a way to screw consumer later down the road.

Kyle
Kyle

William Charles Hey it looks like from your screenshot that you’re located in Seattle too. Do you guys ever do meetups or anything like that here?

HAWK
HAWK

That’s actually reader’s FM’s location- they sometimes forget to block information. I recall seeing a reader’s last four digits of CC for a post yesterday

Yoni
Yoni

A widely known blogger inadvertently posted their home address even thou they redacted their alphanumeric home address they left the USPS bar code which contains house number and street address. For the world to see did give them a heads up and they fixed the post.

balwx
balwx

Royal Carribean on my BCP today

First qualifying purchase of $1000+ with Royal Caribbean International® w/ your enrolled Card will be placed into a 6-month no-fee payment plan. Monthly plan payment amount will be included in your Minimum Payment Due for 6 months. See terms.

MisterBill
MisterBill

I know this is an old post but I got email from AMEX today about a no-fee Plan It offer on my card. I don’t usually use my AMEX cards but happened to have a few large ($100+) purchases on it because of cell phone and insurance offers and an AMEX Ticketmaster presale. I set all of the purchases to a 6 month payment plan and was not charged any fees. It was not because I had 0% interest on the account, it was specifically because of the “No fees for Plan It” offer.

Not sure how Autopay works with this. Presumably if I pay the amount due it will only include the current Plan It installment.

HarryTheFirstHarry
HarryTheFirstHarry

This offer is back – at least in my account. 0 fees if setup until Jan 2020. So any $100+ purchases are interest and fee free for 24 months, yay, nice float especially with all these GC deals in the past few weeks.

Samosa
Samosa

Wow….this is an amazing deal. They are showing me 0 plan fee and 0% interest for 24 months. Per terms, one can combine up to 10 qualifying purchases in a single plan, and one can have up to 10 plans at a time.

One can buy ten $500 VGC from Safeway deals and combine them into a single plan = $5K interest free loan. Potentially, one can have 10 such plans at the same time. I guess time to move credit line from my now useless cash magnet to Everyday card with this deal. I hope TAB bank keeps paying 4% interest!

HarryTheFirstHarry
HarryTheFirstHarry

Exactly my thoughts as well. This is the season of grocery store GC buying deals and you are not going out of the way to make use of this offer. So perfect timing.
And unlike what doc mentions in the Hilton example, this is not specific to a a merchant and does not need “loading” like the sync offers. It applies to any purchase you make on your Amex card until Jan 24th.

In summary: 0% APR for 24 months on purchases with 0 fees and no credit pull either.

I’m actually surprised that this offer has not got as much love/comments as its worth.

David
David

I just spent $9k on GCs to take advantage of the no fees for 24 months. Thanks for the free loan, Amex!

Frito Pendejo
Frito Pendejo

Can’t they just send me money? I don’t get this debt thing

wtfamex
wtfamex

I got a $0 fee offer on my ancient BCE for a hotel expense incurred over Thanksgiving. I can pay it off, but I also don’t really see how plan-it is worth the hassle, for either party.

Again, this is about AmEx and its cubicle drones obsessed with trying to understand millennials. Someone decided they don’t like interest charges, so AmEx just rebrands it and then markets the ever living hell out of it. However, I seriously doubt there’s been much customer uptake.

They could’ve lowered APR’s 1% and driven the same, or more, incremental spend as opposed to thinking/hoping plan-it will do the same.

But I, thankfully, don’t dwell in one of their cubicles to help them understand this.

vc
vc

actually, if you have a high interest rate, plan it is a better deal. they have a useless feature called ‘pay it’ that just lets you make a payment for a single purchase. it’s extremely useless considering that you could just make a normal payment. i had a lengthy conversation with a rep who tried his best to explain the benefits to me.

Jon
Jon

They emailed me $0 plan fees through late January for any plan

PT
PT

Has anyone noticed an unusual difference in the plans offered depending on how you access the account, with the terms on the Amex app being much shorter?

On a $1000 charge (Hilton Aspire), I’m offered:

Computer with web browser – 24 months
Phone with Amex app – 3, 6 or 9 months
Phone with web browser – 24 mo

Samosa
Samosa

Weird…..just tried to create another Plan for a recent $2.5K purchase. Now they are showing me only 3, 6, and 12 month plans but not the 24 month plan (in app and in browser).

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