Posted by William Charles on July 17, 2015
Credit Cards

Published on July 17th, 2015 | by William Charles

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PSA: American Express Flexperks Card Doesn’t Code Kiva As A Charity

U.S Bank offers two Flexperks credit cards: Visa & American Express (in reality there are really five cards, there is also a business card and select version of the Visa & American Express). The cards both have the same sign up bonus of 20,000 Flexpoints after $3,500 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. The cards do have slightly different categories that earn at an increase rate:

 VisaAmerican Express
Restaurants & fast food1x points2x points
Charity3x points3x points
Gas/Grocery/Airfare*2x points2x points
Cell2x points2x points


* You’ll earn 2x points on whichever category you spend the most on that monthly billing cycle, the other categories will earn 1x points

On the surface this makes it seem like the American Express is the better option as it also earns 2x at Restaurants & Fast Food (and restaurants are becoming notoriously difficult to get a category bonus in). Unfortunately the American Express card codes Kiva as miscellaneous and specialty retail store rather than charity and because of this you won’t earn 3x points on these purchases/donations. This is somewhat important as it’s relatively easy to manufacture spend with Kiva (although there are some risks and ethics involved).

I still think both cards are worth picking up at some stage, Flexpoints are worth up to 2¢ for airfare and up to 1.5¢ for hotels. Thanks to reader Scott for making me aware of this issue.



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Leo
Leo

Thanks for this very helpful post. Does the sign bonus on these cards ever go over 20k?

Keith
Keith

Does the visa card still code Kiva as charity?

Curtis
Curtis

Crap, I had not realized this. Just got the Amex version a couple months ago. Good news is you can fund it with $1k/mo via Serve since it’s an Amex card.

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[…] 3x FlexPoints for every dollar spent on qualifying charitable contributions (Kiva is excluded) […]

HORACE
HORACE

William, am I correct that unlike the US Bank CashBack + card, there is no quarterly limit on charities — and therefore, if you allow 2 cents/point, this would mean that one could realize almost 6 cents back from each charity donation, rather than the 5% back from the Cash Back card, and the amount back is not capped?

Thanks,

Horace

HORACE
HORACE

Thank you very much, William! That’s really good to know!

HOARCE
HOARCE

William — I did some further research on the US BANK AMEX FlexPerks card with several Google searches and I kept getting some hits about a very nasty aspect of the FlexPerks Points program, that unfortunately, you had not highlighted in your overviews of the card products from 2014 onward. Unlike most loyalty currencies, especially programs that have a US based focus, FlexPerks Points EXPIRE!!! Now, the reason that yo missed this is because I could not find it in the materials provided pertaining to the AMEX version of the card and I had to go back and do a search to see if it was true. Sure enough, the following makes clear with respect to the several Visa versions of the card, that FlexPerks points do, indeed, expire — they have a shelf life of 5 years. “Earning FlexPointsSM You earn one FlexPoint for every $1 of eligible net purchases charged to your account during each billing cycle. FlexPoints expire five years from the end of the calendar quarter in which they were earned. When redeeming, the FlexPoints you earned first will always be the FlexPoints you use first.” See: https://usbank.com/flexperks/creditts/fpv_prod_TRsig.htm Now to some this may make no difference, but for others, such as myself, because of this limitation, I might decide it is just not worth the trouble to have to keep track of those earned points, let alone the relative value of cashing them in for a decent reward redemption given their somewhat sliding scale of redemption. Now, I find it most underhanded of US Bank not to mention the lifetime of these earned points when it comes to both of its AMEX Flex Perks products — the Travel Rewards card and its bigger and more costlier brother, the AMEX Flex Perks Reserve card, that carries a $295.00 price tag. Now, it could be that they do not intend to have points earned from the AMEX cards subject to expiration as they do with respect to their VISA earning cards, but I doubt that, and I do think this expiration of the points — with no way to continue their lifetime — a very severe limitation on the program as a whole, especially for those who might come to expect that US based programs have an unlimited to shelf-life, so long as you at the very least jump through certain hoops to keep those points alive. I… Read more »

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[…] Flexperks Visa over the Flexperks Amex. Another reason to choose the Visa is due to the fact that Kiva does not earn bonus points on the Amex version. Of course, the Amex version has the advantage of being eligible for lucrative […]

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[…] points for charitable donations do earn bonus points for loans.  The US Bank FlexPerks cards (except for the Amex version which doesn’t code Kiva as a charity), for example, earn 3 points per dollar for charitable […]

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