Month: September 2014

American Express Serve $25 Bonus offer & $10 Good Faith Credit

serve get 25 back aug 15 sep 13I received two credits from Serve recently. One is $25, and the other is $10. As for $25, a short description says, “Thanks for Using Your Card.” And here is an email I received earlier. I needed to make 5 transactions of $10 or more to receive the credit. I started using my Serve card on Aug 27th. I believed that was the transaction#1. And I would need 4 more transactions, and I was thinking where to use. But two days later, somehow I already received the $25-credit. I check my transactions since Aug 16th. I made six bill pays and 2 regular purchases. One of them is the purchase of gift cards at Bed Bath and Beyond. The purchase was for Amex Offer “$5 back on $25 or more purchase.” I wasn’t sure if this transaction was eligible for another offer. So I didn’t count as one of five transactions for the new offer. However, the credit was posted, that means I didn’t have to do anything for the new offer. It seems that only regular bill pays meet the requirements to receive the credit.

serve credit 25 10

The other credit is $10 and was posted on Aug 27th. It is described as Good Faith Credit. I had no idea what this credit is for until I received this email today.

At American Express, we are committed to providing you with the best American Express Serve® Account experience possible. We recently fell short on this commitment and experienced an error related to an offer you added to your Serve card. We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you more about this error and how we’ve resolved it.

We offered you a one-time $10 statement credit when you used your enrolled Card to spend a total of $200 or more on American Express Gift Cards. Although you were able to enroll in this offer, your American Express Gift Card order was declined, and you were not able to receive the $10 credit.

To correct this error, we have issued a $10 statement credit to your American Express Serve Account. We would like to offer our sincere apology that you were unable to redeem the offer.

If you have any questions, please call us at 1‑800‑954‑0559 to speak to an American Express Serve Customer Care Professional.

We truly value your membership and will continue working to ensure you have a positive American Express Serve Account experience.


The American Express Serve Team

I remember this. There was Amex Offer, but you couldn’t redeem. I actually synced the offer and tried to make a purchase of AmEx GC. The transaction was declined because they don’t take prepaid or gift cards as payment. (see details here) No big deal, I didn’t care much about it, but American Express took it seriously and resolved generously. American Express issues lots of useful offers and takes good care of their customers.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred vs Everyday

amex blue cash credit cardThe two credit cards from American Express, Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday, both offer bonus cash back on the purchase at grocery stores and gas stations. Preferred charges an annual fee of $75, and Everyday has no annual fee.



  • 6% cash back at grocery stores (up to $6000 per year in purchases, 1% after that)
  • 3% cash back at gas stations and selected department stores
  • 1% cash back on any other purchases


  • 3% cash back at grocery stores (up to $6000 per year in purchases, 1% after that)
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and selected department stores
  • 1% cash back on any other purchases

The limits only apply on purchases at grocery stores. Cash back at gas stations and department stores are unlimited. Let’s say that you use two cards at grocery stores only. When you spend $2500 a year, cash back from two cards are:

  • Preferred $2500 x 0.06 – $75 (annual fee) = $75
  • Everyday $2500 x 0.03 = $75

So, if you spend more than $2500 a year (or $208.33 a month), you’d better choose Preferred over Everyday. After you have spent $6000 at grocery stores, you can still earn 1% cash back. You can track your spending on each category online account page. The picture is how statement looks like when grocery purchases has exceeded $6000. There are two lines for U.S. Supermarkets, and one is follow by “1%”.

amex blue cash reward statement

What to Do when reaching $6000 limit

Until next year, My AmEx Blue Cash Preferred offers only 1% cash back at grocery stores. You can use another card that offer cash back more than 1%. For example, 2% Bank of America Cash Rewards Visa, 2% US Bank Cash+ Visa, etc. Or you may apply for another AmEx Blue Cash card. But maybe you don’t want to have many credit cards, or don’t have credit score good enough to get approved of new credit cards. For those people, there is a way to continue to get bonus cash back at grocery stores with the same AmEx Blue Cash even after you have spent $6000 at grocery store. The key item is American Express Gift Card.

You can purchase AmEx GCs online, at their website But you shouldn’t go to the site directly. You have to go through online shopping portal sites. A rate of cash back for the purchase of AmEx GCs varies from portal to portal. However, most of the time, either Befrugal or TopCashBack offers the highest rate between 2% and 3%. A purchase fee of AmEx GC is $3.95 regardless of value of gift card. There are some different shipping options and costs, but say you purchase $1000 AmEx GC with cheapest shipping option. A purchase Fee and shipping cost $3.95+$8.95=12.90. You have to spend $12.90 for $1000 cash equivalent item, but credit card reward’s 1% cash back covers most of it. So, cash back from the portal will remain! It means that you always get 2% to 3% discount every time you use AmEx GC.


American Express Blue Cash Preferred and Everyday are both great credit cards for grocery store purchases. To offset an annual fee of Preferred ($75), you need to spend $2500 annually at grocery store. (if you use the cards only at grocery stores) As a rough indication, if you spend less than $2500 a year, choose Everyday. If you spend more than $2500 a year, choose Preferred. In my opinion, $2500 is just a little amount. It is $208.33 per month. Even if you don’t buy foods at grocery stores, some grocery stores sell gift cards. You can buy merchant or Visa/MasterCard gift cards to get full 6% bonus cash back ($360) easily.