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My Experience Using the Amex Business Platinum FedEx Credits Ricky October 29, 2020

My Experience Using the Amex Business Platinum FedEx Credits

Back in the summer, the American Express Business Platinum Card came out with an offer of up to $680 in statement credits in order to entice cardholders to keep using their cards during this challenging period. The $680 was distributed across three types of business spending:

  • A one-time $250 statement credit on any $250 purchase from Dell Canada
  • A $40 statement credit, up to four times, on Canadian mobile services (for a total of $160)
  • A $45 statement credit, up to six times, on shipping purchases made with FedEx Canada (for a total of $270)

While the Dell and mobile phone credits were easy enough to redeem, the FedEx credits have been tougher for most Business Platinum cardholders to use up fully, because not everyone regularly purchases shipping from FedEx in the first place.

With a couple of Business Platinum Cards among my entourage and a paralyzing fear of leaving value on the table, I wanted to share my experience using up my FedEx credits over the past few months and hopefully help some of you burn up your $270 worth of credits before they expire on December 31, 2020.

Shipping Items at the FedEx Store

Each Business Platinum Card can earn a total of six statement credits of $45 each, which are individually triggered upon a single purchase of at least $45 with FedEx online, over the phone, or in-store.

Importantly, a purchase of, say, $90 will not trigger two sets of the $45 credit – as I learned the hard way when I first decided to try shipping something in-person at the FedEx store.

I needed to send a parcel back to my family in Beijing, and whereas a regular Canada Post shipment might’ve sufficed, I decided I may as well use FedEx since I had credits to burn.

The total shipping cost came to $108. Looking back, the wise thing to do would’ve been to ask the FedEx employee to split the payment into two separate payments, but with the mantra of “be the data point you want to see” on my mind, I decided to process a single $108 payment to see if it would trigger multiple credits at once (after all, that’s how the $40 mobile credits worked).

It did not, and so I found myself needlessly out-of-pocket by an extra $60 or so.

Therefore, if you’re shipping items at a FedEx store, make sure to ask the staff member to split any payments in excess of $90 into the correct number of transactions, so that you’ll be able to trigger the maximum number of $45 credits.

Of course, your shipping purchase needs to be a minimum of $45 to qualify for the credit in the first place. If your shipment gets priced out to an amount lower than $45, ask the staff member if you can add-on some extra insurance or perhaps a requirement for in-person signature, so that you can bring the total to $45, trigger the credit, and reduce your out-of-pocket spending to near-zero.

Shipping Items with a FedEx Account

With so many credits to spend, I decided that visiting the FedEx store to ship items wasn’t the most practical course of action. Since Jessy and I were going to be moving from Montreal back to Toronto this fall, I decided to put the FedEx credits to good use by shipping large boxes packed with our belongings back to our place in Toronto.

In order to use the online billing feature and arrange for FedEx pickups at my residence, I needed to set up a FedEx account first, which can be done online at the FedEx website.

For a multinational corporation that plays a key role in global supply chains, FedEx’s website sure is clunky and unintuitive, at best.

In particular, the website wouldn’t allow me to complete the account creation process online as a brand-new FedEx user, since it required me to enter two previous FedEx invoices for “verification”, which I didn’t have on hand as I had never shipped anything with FedEx before.

After a quick phone call to customer service, I was instructed to enter two dummy invoice numbers to complete the process. That left me with a fully operational FedEx account, although I should warn you that there are still a few technical quirks to watch out for, such as having to log-in multiple times during the same session for no apparent reason.

When it’s time to start your shipment, there are two online tools you can use: FedEx Ship Manager Lite and FedEx Ship Manager Advanced.

The former is meant to be more user-friendly, but because of how slow and clunky the FedEx website is, I actually found it to be more challenging to use. I’d recommend going with the Advanced tool, which is more comprehensive and lets you do things like shipping multiple packages at once.

The “From”, “To”, and “Shipment Details” sections are all pretty intuitive to fill in. For the Service Type, I’ve found the cheapest option of FedEx Ground worked well for my needs, and the amount clocked in at about $1/pound of weight shipped – my cardboard boxes, which weighed about 50 pounds, came to about $50 each time.

When it comes to “Billing Details”, this is where you simply select your own account to bill to. FedEx’s billing cycle seems to be bi-monthly (i.e., twice per month), so you’ll receive your invoice within a few weeks’ time.

Then, under “Pickup/Drop-off”, you can select how you’d like to hand-off your package. Since I preferred for FedEx to come pick up the items from my place, I simply designated a pickup window on a certain date (you can book pickups as soon as the next day if you wish), and a FedEx employee would show up like clockwork to pick up the packages.

(Just make sure to print out your shipping labels beforehand, or else they’ll have to come back the next day, and you’ll get charged a fee for their troubles. At least the FedEx credits meant I essentially got off scot-free here!)

In this fashion, I managed to ship no less than eight boxes full of our belongings back to Toronto over the course of a couple of weeks. Each time, I’d receive the online invoice within a couple of weeks – and this is where things get interesting in terms of making a payment.

I first tried paying the invoices both online and in-person at the FedEx store, but in both cases, there wasn’t the option to split up a single invoice into multiple payments, nor was there the ability to combine leftover amounts on invoice with a specific amount on another invoice to reach an exact total of $45.

And having learned my lesson from my first shipment, I wasn’t about to pay a single cent more than I needed to on my FedEx purchases anymore.

It turns out that the best way to handle payments in this situation is to call the FedEx contact centre, where the phone agents do have the ability to split payments into chunks of $45, as well as combine amounts from different invoices to make exactly $45.

Note that the FedEx billing system tends to reject multiple payments from the same card of the same amount in quick succession, so the solution here is to ask the phone agent to make payments of $45.01, $45.02, etc. Okay, so maybe I ended up paying a few cents more than I had to for the shipping…

The FedEx phone payments show up on American Express as “FedEx Mississauga”, and the $45 credits happily showed up the day after the payments posted.

If you plan to use the FedEx online account to make shipments and use up your FedEx credits, make sure to do so well before December if possible, since the invoices can take a few weeks to generate and the FedEx offer ends on December 31.

What If You Have Nothing to Ship?

Since we’re doing less in-person travelling this year, many Canadians might have reasons to ship something to their loved ones in different cities domestically or internationally.

Still, some Business Platinum cardholders may have trouble using up their FedEx credits because they simply don’t have any items to move or ship. In order to avoid leaving the credits on the table, consider whether the following alternative uses might fit your needs:

  • Offer to cover any of your friends and family’s shipping needs, whether it’s done in-person at the FedEx store (in which case you’d need to accompany them with your card), or online (in which case they can simply bill the shipment to your account).
  • Offer to cover the shipping needs of any business owners in your circles, perhaps agreeing a deal to split the $270 in credits among yourselves.
  • If you often pass by a FedEx store and want to do a good deed for others, consider covering the shipping costs for a stranger, as long as the bill comes close to a multiple of $45 – as one good samaritan has done!
  • FedEx also collects duties on behalf of CBSA for most items that are purchased from abroad and shipped to Canada; your FedEx credits can be used to pay for these duties, as long as you make payments online or over the phone in chunks of $45.
    • What happens if you end up needing to return this item bought from overseas? Well, technically there is a process for requesting a refund of the duties from CBSA, but it seems to be a pretty involved process and it’s not entirely clear how the refund is handled.

Conclusion

While the FedEx credits might not be the easiest perk to use up, $270 is still a fair chunk of value that could go a long way towards offsetting the $499 annual fee on the Amex Business Platinum (on top of the $250 Dell credit and $160 in mobile services credits that you’re also getting), so it could be worth putting in a bit of time to use up your FedEx credits before the year is up.

Since I had these credits to burn, I was able to make my moving process a lot smoother by shipping the majority of my belongings over to my next address. I hope you’ve found my account of the FedEx shipping experience somewhat helpful, and do let me know if you’ve found other creative ways to use up your FedEx credits on the Business Platinum.

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17 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Adil

    Thanks for the informative post Ricky – my question is related to the Billing Details field of the Online Ship Manager – did you input your AMEX BIZ PLAT card details into this field? If yes, would they not charge the card directly after inputting the information and clicking on ‘Ship’? You mentioned calling in to feed them the payments in $45 segments

    1. Avatar
      Adil

      Whoops – hit enter too soon. But you mentioned calling to feed payments in $45 segments – i guess im concerned my card would be charged since my information is already on my account. Thanks!

      1. Ricky
        Ricky

        Under your FedEx Account Management there is an option to set up automatic payments. As long as this is not enabled, you won’t be billed automatically and can call in to pay in $45 chunks (as I’ve outlined in the article) anytime after the invoice is issued.

  2. Avatar
    Alex

    Another option to get those $45 cashbacks – to purchase shipping essentials in their stores (NOT at Staples – only at a FedEx store). They offer boxes, tapes, tape guns, envelops etc.

  3. Avatar
    Eric

    I called in and at that time they insisted that they couldn’t/wouldn’t split into 45.00 increments after the bill was mailed out. Maybe they changed this or perhaps the call in is YMMV. I recommend making payment before the bill hits your mailbox (it can’t hurt).

    I completely agree their website is clunky. I’m going to leave some value on the table on this one.

    1. Avatar
      Dan

      So you’re suggesting to call and pay the shipping bill before the bi-weekly invoice is issued? Did they end up splitting the payments for you in the end? I’d like to utiliise these credits but I definetly don’t want to be on the hook for a $270 shipping bill.

      1. Ricky
        Ricky

        Under your FedEx Account Management there is an option to set up automatic payments. As long as this is not enabled, you won’t be billed automatically and can call in to pay in $45 chunks (as I’ve outlined in the article) anytime after the invoice is issued.

  4. Avatar
    Dan

    Hi Ricky, do you think it would be possible to use to credits to have someone in another country ship something to you in Canada?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes, the easiest way to do this would be to set up a FedEx account as outlined above, then set up the remote shipment to your address billed to your account, and then pay the invoice over the phone in $45 chunks when it arrives.

      1. Avatar
        Dan

        I have it all set-up and I can see the option to bill to my account. I did have to put my credit card details when I was setting up my account. There’s no other steps to be taken to ensure that they send you an invoice instead of charging your card?

      2. Avatar
        Dan

        Thanks Ricky.

  5. Avatar
    Nicholas

    Find it the hard way… Using the FedEx counter at Staples/Bureau en Gros will not trigger the $45 credit as it will show the store’s name on the AMEX statement.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Thanks for the data point.

  6. Avatar
    Kyle

    Is it possible to use the credit for their photo printing service?
    Thanks for the great article like always !

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      If it’s done in-store at a FedEx Office, or if it can be ordered online and billed to your account, then yes!

  7. Avatar
    Alex

    Hi Ricky,

    I found the hard way that Fedex might charge you duties for international shipments even 6 weeks after the package was delivered. In my case they’ve charged me $90 duties, and when I asked what it was all about – they have refunded it and said it was erroneous.
    Another thing, as you’ve mentioned – they have a twice-monthly billing cycle. My account was set up to automatically withdraw money from my card. For 3 shipments of $48 each – they’ve charged me all at once, so I’ve got only one $45 credit.
    Pretty frustrating perk..

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Thanks for the useful data points. Yeah, you’ll definitely want to avoid the automatic billing since they can often lump different shipments together in the same invoice. Calling in and paying $45 at a time is the way to go.

Ricky

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