Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
I hate spending money on annual fees. But I love saving money, so I continue to pay them. Here’s how it works.
The best travel credit cards make it child’s play to save more money than you pay in annual fees. It’s especially easy to save with Amex cards, thanks to a powerful benefit called Amex Offers.
Further reading: Everything you need to know about Amex Offers
Amex Offers are targeted to certain cardmembers. For example, my current Amex Offers include:
- Spend $150 with Turo, receive $45 back
- Spend $75 at select department stores, receive $10 back
- Spend $75 with Boxed, receive $20 back
That’s $75 in savings from purchases I’d probably make anyway.
In addition, there’s a super helpful Amex Offer for a $100 statement credit with Marriott. This credit alone helps me offset two of my annual fees.
Offset your annual fees by using Amex Offers
Between my wife and me, we recently received two offers on our Marriott cards:
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Amex (what was once the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card)
Because of our upcoming travel, we’ll use these $100 credits for both cards, even though we don’t usually spend a lot on Marriott. These offers came at the perfect time.
Nearly every Marriott credit card comes with some kind of annual free-night certificate.
Our Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card has a rather intimidating $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees). By using the $100 Marriott credit, that effectively brings the annual fee to $350 this year. The card also comes with $300 in Marriott credit every year, which you can use for room rates, room upgrades and food and beverages inside the hotel. That reduces this year’s annual fee to $50. The immense benefits that come with this card also include the annual free-night certificate worth 50,000 points. We can book a five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel with a voucher like that. For example, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans costs 50,000 points per night.
That same night can cost $900+ during certain times of year.
Our other card, the Marriott Bonvoy Amex, has a $95 annual fee. Saving $100 with this card’s Amex Offer single-handedly offsets the card’s annual fee, which means that any other value I receive from the card’s benefits is absolutely free.
The card also comes with an annual free-night certificate, worth 35,000 points. I consistently use this voucher for hotel rooms that cost $300+ per night, so I get more than my money’s worth from that perk. This Amex Offer means I’ll receive at least $400 in value from this card, all for a $95 annual fee.
Before you rule out a card because of its annual fee, take a good look at all its benefits. The benefits might offer greater value than the annual fee. The best travel credit cards have stellar perks. Amex Offers is one such perk. Even if you have a no-annual-fee Amex card, you’re eligible for Amex Offers — though I’ve found more useful ones to be on my cards with annual fees.
You can subscribe to our newsletter for more credit card tips and ideas to save money, whether you’re a frequent traveler or not.
For rates and fees of the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant, click here
Featured image courtesy of Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock