Posted by Chuck on August 4, 2014
AmEx Offers

Published on August 4th, 2014 | by Chuck


Amex Offers: $20 off $100 at Courtyard by Marriot, $11 Moneymaker per AmEx Card

You can see our intrduction to AmEx Offers here. See also How to Sign Up for Multiple American Express Sync Offers.

The Offer

Direct Link to Offer

A few days ago AmEx released a new Offer of  $20 off $100 at Courtyard by Marriot. This is great for Courtyard stays, but we didn’t see much potential otherwise, being that the Terms and Conditions explicitly exclude gift card purchases. However, FrequentMiler experimented and found that purchasing a $100 gift card at a Courtyard Marriot did trigger the email acknowlegment from AmEx thanking him for using his synced card. This is great news, because besides the possibility of perpetuating the Offer by buying gift cards and using later, we can also use this as a moneymaker by buying Marriot gift cards at Courtyard locations and selling them through a gift card reseller. The best option here is Cardpool at 87%, which could be 91% by going through Topcashback. This would mean a profit of $11 per registered AmEx card.

This offer can be saved via the AmEx log-in, or via Twitter by tweeting #AmexCourtyard.

The Fine Print

  • Offer valid from 8/1/14  to  9/30/14
  • Only valid at Courtyard locations, not other Marriot locations
  • Excludes gift cards (based on the above, this isn’t actually true)

Our Verdict

When I saw the offer, I was considering trying out purchasing a Marriot gift card at a Courtyard location, but I really didn’t think it would work for two reasons. Firstly, AmEx seems to be pretty good about not always writing a gift card exclusion; this gave them a level of credibility in my eyes. Secondly, since Terms & Conditions state that reservations must be made online or by phone, I figured that it’s a different POS processing the payments, and the in-hotel POS wouldn’t trigger the credit. I’m happy to find out otherwise. My theory now is that the T&C are written by the retailer and not by AmEx; since Marriot didn’t want people using this to buy gift cards, they simply wrote an exclusion in the T&C. This is also a lesson for the future not to trust the T&C so quickly.

That being said, there is an element of risk here; maybe AmEx Marriot will re-code something so that it won’t work on gift cards (are they reading this post?:-)), and maybe it somehow varies by location. I’ll probably try out a couple, and if I’m having success with the credits posting, I’ll buy a whole bunch more. It may be a smart idea to stick to one Courtyard location so you don’t need to worry that a different location will process differently.

                                     Hat Tip to FrequentMiler

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I went Courtyard hotels to buy a gift card, Looks like they have a green color courtyard gift card As per your strategy, I can sell this in Card pool but I don’t see a courtyard Merchant listed, would I be able to sell the courtyard gift card under Marriott merchant. Will they accept it? please do let me know


[…] common example of this is Amex Offers at hotels, e.g. Marriott. They’ll often exclude gift cards in the terms, but, in practice, if you buy a gift card at […]

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