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New Amex US Credits for 2021: How Can Canadians Benefit?

Last year, American Express US had rolled out a series of monthly recurring statement credits on a few major credit cards, and that initiative has now resumed for 2021.

For 11 months from February through December, the Amex US Marriott, Hilton, and Delta co-branded credit cards will all enjoy monthly statement credits on US restaurants (for personal cards) or US wireless services (for business cards) of US$5–20 per month, which can add up to as much as US$220 per card throughout the year.

Since many of us hold one or more of these products, I wanted to summarize the details of these generous monthly credits and highlight some of the easiest ways to maximize these credits from up here in Canada.

Register via Amex Offers

Unlike the 2020 statement credits, which were automatically enabled and did not require manual registration, these new offers require you to visit your Amex Offers dashboard and add the offer to your card.

You may not see the offer immediately, because each card can only display 100 unregistered Amex Offers at a time. If this happens, try adding a few other Amex Offers to your card first, or choosing the “Featured” category of Amex Offers to get the monthly restaurant or wireless credit to show up.

The monthly US restaurant credit on personal Amex US Marriott, Hilton, and Delta cards looks as follows:

And the monthly US wireless credit on business Amex US Marriott, Hilton, and Delta cards looks as follows:

US$5–20 Monthly Credit for US Restaurants on Personal Cards

The following cards will earn a US$20 monthly credit on US restaurants through 2021:

  • Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
  • Amex US Hilton Honors Aspire Card
  • Amex US Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card

The following card will earn a US$15 monthly credit on US restaurants through 2021:

  • Amex US Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card

The following cards will earn a US$10 monthly credit on US restaurants through 2021:

  • Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Card (no longer open to new applications)
  • Amex US Hilton Honors Surpass Card
  • Amex US Delta SkyMiles Gold Card

And the following card will earn a US$5 monthly credit on US restaurants through 2021:

  • Amex US Hilton Honors Card

You’ll earn the US$5–20 statement credit every month from February through December, for a total of 11 statement credits.

To be eligible for these offers, you must have opened your card prior to January 1, 2021. Therefore, you won’t get these offers if you’re just signing up for the cards now (such as under the new elevated offers on the Amex US Hilton cards).

While US-based cardholders would find it pretty effortless to score the credit each month with a simple restaurant or food delivery purchase, cardholders based in Canada will need to get a little more creative.

According to data points from last year’s temporary measure on the Hilton Aspire Card, in which the US$250 resort credit was expanded to US restaurants as well, the easiest way to cash out this credit every month will be to load a Starbucks US mobile account and spend the funds in Canada.

To do this, head to the Starbucks.com desktop site (not Starbucks.ca) and create a new US account separate from your Canadian account. Then, log into this US account on your Starbucks mobile app, and you’ll be able to load USD funds with your US credit card.

Based on last year’s data points, this should count as a US restaurant purchase and therefore trigger the US$5–20 monthly credit.

You’d then be able to spend the USD funds in Canada – the exchange rate may not be ideal, but hey, it’s free coffee. Or you could save them for future purchases at Starbucks locations in the US.

I made my first US$20 load on February 1, and received the credit a few weeks later on February 14:

US$5–20 Monthly Credit for US Wireless Services on Business Cards

The following card will earn a US$20 monthly credit on US wireless services through 2021:

  • Amex US Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card

The following card will earn a US$15 monthly credit on US wireless services through 2021:

  • Amex US Marriott Bonvoy Business Card
  • Amex US Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Card

And the following cards will earn a US$10 monthly credit on US wireless services through 2021:

  • Amex US Hilton Honors Business Card
  • Amex US Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card

You’ll earn the US$10–20 statement credit every month from February through December, for a total of 11 statement credits.

As before, to be eligible for these offers, you must have opened your card prior to January 1, 2021. Therefore, you won’t get these offers if you’re just signing up for the cards now.

Canada-based cardholders will find it relatively tougher to redeem these credits on US wireless services compared to the US restaurants credits.

One solution would be to offer to pay off the phone bill for a US-based friend of yours and split the credit with them. You could also try using the credit to pay off a Google Fi phone plan if you have access to one.

(As a last resort, it’s possible to use the quick-payment option for, say, T-Mobile to pay off the phone bill of a complete stranger – that’s always better than leaving credits on the table!)

Personally, I’ll be trying to set up a Google Fi at some point, as I’ve heard that it’s a pretty good long-term roaming solution when travelling abroad too, and will try to apply my wireless credits there.

I’ll also update this section if I come about any other good ways to cash out these monthly wireless credits.

How Much Value Do These Credits Offer?

If you’ve gotten started on your US credit card journey and hold one or more of these eligible co-branded credit cards, then the monthly statement credits can really add up through the rest of the year.

Many of these cards are worth keeping in the long run anyway, but just in case you were thinking about cancelling or downgrading, these credits could be a good incentive to keep the card for another year.

In my case, I’ll earn the following credits:

  • US$220 in restaurant credits on the Bonvoy Brilliant
  • US$220 in restaurant credits on Jessy’s Bonvoy Brilliant
  • US$220 in restaurant credits on the Hilton Aspire
  • US$165 in wireless credits on the Bonvoy Business
  • US$110 in restaurant credits on the Bonvoy Card
  • US$110 in wireless credits on the Hilton Business
  • US$55 in restaurant credits on the Hilton Card

That’s a total of US$1,100 of value throughout the year, which is just delightful!

Granted, I may not place full value on the wireless credits, but it’s still an impressive chunk of value that will help to offset the annual fees – and that’s in addition to the anniversary free night certificates on the Bonvoy cards and the free weekend nights on the Hilton cards.

Conclusion

American Express US has set its cardholders up for success in 2021 on the co-branded credit cards by Marriott, Hilton, and Delta. If you’ve held one of these cards since prior to January 1, make sure to check your Amex Offers dashboard and add the corresponding offer to your card.

The US restaurant credits on the personal cards are easier to redeem in Canada, whereas the US wireless credits will be more of a mixed bag. I’ll update this article as we learn more about maximizing both of these sets of statement credits.

Now that the co-branded Amex US cards have rolled out their temporary perks for 2021, I’m now waiting to see what kind of benefits or credits we see on the Membership Rewards family of cards, like the Platinum Card, Gold Card, Green Card and their respective business versions.