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Saks Devalues Semi-Annual $50 Amex Platinum Credit

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*amex platinum* recently took a hit … and for once, it's not even the bank making the devaluation.

Twice per year, Amex Platinum cardholders get up to $50 in statement credits for purchases made at the high-end department store, Saks Fifth Avenue. But unless you're willing to spend big, a whopping 20% of that credit now goes to cover the cost of shipping for online orders

With less than 40 stores scattered across the country – most in major metropolitan areas – many Amex Platinum cardholders turn to the Saks Fifth Avenue website to use up their semi-annual credit. But now with a $300 minimum spending requirement to qualify for free shipping, that $50 credit feels a lot more like $40 after accounting for the $9.95 shipping charge

To be clear: It didn't used to be this way. All Saks purchases (regardless of the amount) used to be eligible for free shipping through ShopRunner, a complimentary benefit available to Amex cardholders, but Saks is no longer available on the platform. Even without ShopRunner, the minimum order amount for free shipping was a much more tolerable $100 … and then $200. Now at $300, you must be willing to spend well beyond the Amex Platinum's $50 statement credit to get your money's worth.

Just add this to the growing list of hoops you have to be willing to jump through in order to eek a little value out of your $695 (see rates & fees) per year credit card. 

Is this change the end of the world? Hardly. But at the end of the day, Amex uses statement credits, like this one, to justify its ever-rising annual fees. With so much of this particular credit now going to pay for shipping costs, it just shows that none of these credits should be taken at face value.

Read next: We've Had It With Amex Card Credits & Benefits

 

How to Maximize Your Saks Credit

Now that your semi-annual statement credit of up to $50 is really only worth $40, how can you get the most out of it?

If you've never shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue – and no, Saks OFF 5th doesn't count (at least not for this credit) – things are pricey. With racks full of designer brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Versace, finding something that costs $40 or less can feel like a tall task. But if you know where to look, it isn't impossible. 

To save yourself time and frustration, make good use of the website's filters. I normally start by picking who I'm shopping for and then head straight to the sale tab and sort by price, low to high. 

 

Saks Fifth Avenue Website Menu 1

 

From here you'll see the full list of sale items that meet your current criteria. With the current lowest priced item being a $10 pair of socks, I'd recommend dialing it in a little further by using the additional filters available on the left-hand side menu. 

The first one I use is the price filter to trim the list down even further. By selecting items under $50 I went from over 9,000 choices down to about 300. If you're OK spending a little bit of money out of pocket when using your Saks credit, you can type in your max price as well. 

 

 

Saks Fifth Avenue Filters

 

Once you've landed on a price you're comfortable with you can further filter items by choosing whether you're looking for clothing (and what type), accessories, household items, and more. You can even filter by size so that you don't have to waste time looking through a bunch of clothes only to realize that none of them will work for you. 

Finally, when you find something that you're ready to use your credit on, you're going to want to click through a shopping portal like Rakuten before adding the item to your cart and checking out. We sometimes see shopping portals offer 15% cash back (or more) at different times throughout the year for purchases made at Saks. But even at 2%, every little bit counts.

 

Saks Fifth Avenue on Rakuten

 

Thrifty Tip: Use the site Cashback Monitor to see current shopping portal payouts for any store. If you're registered with multiple airline and cashback shopping portals, make sure you're getting the best return as rates vary. 

Read next: Don't Miss Out: Tips for Tracking All Your Amex Card Credits & Benefits

 

Top Items Under $40

It's impossible for me to say exactly what you should spend your Amex Platinum Saks credit on … but that doesn't mean I can't make some suggestions. 

If you've got a child in your life, you're in luck – many of the cheapest items available on the Saks website are for kids. With name brand clothes, pajamas, and toys all coming in under $40, this could be your best bet for a wide selection of options.

 

Saks Fifth Avenue kids stuff

 

Assuming your toddler doesn't have a Saks credit of his or her own to use, maybe you want to treat yourself instead. In that case there are still lots of options, even if it's not as wide open as with kid's stuff. 

Household items like dishes and cookware are a sneaky good way to use up this credit on something useful. With dishes starting out around $10 apiece you could get a whole set of some items without spending much more than your $50 credit. 

Occasionally, you can even find a sale on more expensive items like this high-end Zwilling frying pan for less than $40. 

 

Zwilling frying pan

 

Self-care and grooming items like face cleansers and moisturizers can be another great use for this credit. While I can't personally attest to the quality, my wife swears by Supergoop! sunscreen. It's not exactly cheap, starting at $30(ish) for a tiny 1.5 oz. bottle – but when all else fails, I know that I can add this to my cart and make her day. 

 

Supergoop sunscreen

 

Finally, there are thousands of clothing options that you can use your credit on. With all sorts of styles and designer brands available, there's likely something that would fit the taste of every shopper.

The biggest problem I've found trying to use my Amex Platinum Saks statement credit on clothes is that most of the discounted items are only available in limited sizes. For this reason, I'd highly recommend filtering by size in order to save yourself the time and disappointment of searching through all the available options just to find out it won't work. 

 

Bottom Line

Saks Fifth Avenue recently raised the minimum order amount needed to qualify for free shipping to $300. This is a big blow to anyone with an Amex Platinum in their wallet because one of the card's money-saving benefits is a semi-annual up to $50 credit for Saks purchases. 

Unless you're willing to spend big with Saks ($300 or more), your $50 credit will now feel a whole lot more like $40 after accounting for the $9.95 shipping charge. 

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

10 Responses

  • For those in main US cities, go to a Saks store and buy a $50 gift card. They don’t expire and you can save them until you have enough to buy something nice.

    • I came here to say the same thing. Amanda.Exploring on instagram taught me this. She’s VERY knowledgeable and has taught me so much in just a few months about shipping portals, transferring points, and so much more.

  • My best option has been to pop into a Saks when I am traveling to purchase $50 gift card. In store, a gift card gets the credit. Save them up for a purchase that you really want. I was able to get a great deal on Le Creuset one December. Saks will have good offers during holiday. Used Rakuten portal, so had more benefits.

  • I have a 15% off coupon code I got emailed to me combine that with Rakuten for another 2%.

  • Amex should serious consider this Saks deal. It is worthless in my opinion. A normal T shirt at 20 dollars in Cistco or elsewhere is 200 dollars, or more. What in the wired Saks has pricing like this. Who buys these stuff. Have a tie up with someone resistable. That us my advice to Amex. I told them multiple times, nit that they care…lolll

  • If you have someone that you work with in the store they can order an item that might not be available in the store and when they do the system the associates use to place orders doesn’t charge shipping so find your favorite Saks location and make a friend there, any sales associate can sell almost anything in the store or order it.

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