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How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

Super Contributor

How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

I've had the Amex BCE for coming up on 2 years now.  In terms of CB, for me, I only really use it as a grocery card for the 3%.  I used to use it for the 2% on gas, but I find using a 2% general spend card to be more appealing (whether Citi DC, Blispay, etc) since you can get the CB quicker without having to wait for the $25 increments from Amex.  And, naturally, I don't use the card for any 1% "everything else" spend.

 

I don't know, I guess the luster of the card has just more or less worn off for me.  All it really does is give me 1% more [compared to a general 2% CB card] back on groceries... which is fine, but I'm single and don't spend a lot in that category.  I've considered the BCP, but after crunching the numbers on the bump up in groceries and gas it wouldn't offset the AF for me, so basically not worth it.

 

Those that are more informed of the additional benefits of the card, can you inform me what else I may be missing out on?  I know there are "Amex Offers" but I'm not sure I've ever taken advantage of a single one.  In general, I'm just looking to get more out of this card if possible than simply 1% more CB on groceries over using a different card.  Any insight or advice here would be cool.  Thanks!

Message 1 of 58
57 REPLIES
Senior Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

I honestly can't even think of any for you aside from the grocery spend and AMEX offers. My card except for times my family forgets to use another card has had no use on it since I have other cards to use. The offers are the only reason I check on it every once in a blue moon.

FICO 08 Scores (Mar-18): TU 796, EQ 798, EX 789

Message 2 of 58
Valued Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?


@wrote:

I've had the Amex BCE for coming up on 2 years now.  In terms of CB, for me, I only really use it as a grocery card for the 3%.  I used to use it for the 2% on gas, but I find using a 2% general spend card to be more appealing (whether Citi DC, Blispay, etc) since you can get the CB quicker without having to wait for the $25 increments from Amex.  And, naturally, I don't use the card for any 1% "everything else" spend.

 

I don't know, I guess the luster of the card has just more or less worn off for me.  All it really does is give me 1% more [compared to a general 2% CB card] back on groceries... which is fine, but I'm single and don't spend a lot in that category.  I've considered the BCP, but after crunching the numbers on the bump up in groceries and gas it wouldn't offset the AF for me, so basically not worth it.

 

Those that are more informed of the additional benefits of the card, can you inform me what else I may be missing out on?  I know there are "Amex Offers" but I'm not sure I've ever taken advantage of a single one.  In general, I'm just looking to get more out of this card if possible than simply 1% more CB on groceries over using a different card.  Any insight or advice here would be cool.  Thanks!


The Blue cards aren't worth it unless you get the 6% on groceries and 3% on department stores and gas. 

 

The downfalls make the card not worth it unless you're doing the above. 

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Message 3 of 58
Frequent Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

The BCE gets you a free membership with ShopRunner,  which gives you free 2 day shipping and free returns at "hundreds of stores". Hey, it's a free perk, amazon makes you pay an annual fee for free 2 day shipping lol.

 

Also apparently there's something called American Express Presales which seems to have to do with getting tickets to events and what not early, and is only available to Amex card holders, including the BCE.  There's also a thing called Entertainment Access, which looks pretty similar tbh.

 

And if you're looking to buy a car, there's the American Express Auto Purchasing Program. The long and short of it is it could get you a discount on a new car, but the details are in the BCE terms & conditions.

Chase UR: Amex MR:Citi TY:
Cash back:Travel:
Debit: + DCU savings acct for 5.12% APY for $1k, My referral for Beam 2% - 4% savings
Message 4 of 58
Mega Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

There are also cards that V/MC give you same 3% on groceries,  which generally a wider range of stores counting for groceries, and no $25 increment annoyances.   

 

Amex offers are found very useful by some, I have only used a few over many years.

Message 5 of 58
Established Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

Aside from plain grocery, gift cards that code as grocery & easy 3x cli there's not much more to get out of them.

We spend a crap ton of groceries having a toddler & the two of us, so combined with a local stores 5% discount for registering with your student ID and sales/coupons we get anywhere from 8-20+% and that makes it useful despite the stupid redemption process and restrictions.

Initially I thought I'd load gift cards up max my earning rate until I realized the extra % in doing so is arguably trivial at best and not worth the effort or risk of looking like manufactured spend to Amex. My Amex blue is solely used at trader Joe's, Harris Teeter or whatever random grocery store I happen to visit.
Fico8 (Feb '18) - EQ 704(+11) TU 784(+8) EX 777(+94)
Fico8 (Mar '18) - EQ 694(-10) TU 774(-10) EX 780(+3)

Message 6 of 58
Frequent Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

Downfalls? It's a no annual fee card - I used to have the BCP but downgraded to the BCE after year 1. 

 

Really, when you look at it, the BCE and BCP are forced into the same niche roll: fallback grocery card. Think of it like this: if you could get a card that was 5% back on groceries all the time and no annual fee, wouldn't that be preferable to the BCP? While the rotating category cards don't guarantee grocery, it happens with them enough that you can justifiably use them as an alternative when grocery is a category. Since the Nusenda Platinum Cash Rewards always has grocery in Q1 and there are practical category alternatives (Target [red debit card gives you 5% off, stack it with a Kasasa cash back checking for more; mine gives 5% off of $200 spend/month for a potential of 9.75% off at Target], wholesale, Walmart, etc) for when it's not at 5% between the Nusenda/Freedom/It, IMO the BCE still makes sense for no annual fee as a backup grocery card, but $95 for the BCP? I don't see the appeal anymore.

 

 

 

Chase UR: Amex MR:Citi TY:
Cash back:Travel:
Debit: + DCU savings acct for 5.12% APY for $1k, My referral for Beam 2% - 4% savings
Message 7 of 58
Valued Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

Dw uses her BCP all the time. We max the grocery and use the gas option alot. The card has a very nice limit so it very easy to stay under 10%. We also have a plain BC for when we max out the BCP grocery however it appears that coverting this to a BCP may be worthing work the numbers. We also use the shop Amex specials and picked up another $100 last year  as well Shop Runner.  We use Disco or others for 5% gas when it is an option.  We feel we get our $95 from BCP and hen some 

Message 8 of 58
Established Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

I forget the exact math, but I believe if you spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 or above a week in groceries, which isn't hard with kids, you're always in the black with BCP. Provided you don't count immediate or easy redemption.
Fico8 (Feb '18) - EQ 704(+11) TU 784(+8) EX 777(+94)
Fico8 (Mar '18) - EQ 694(-10) TU 774(-10) EX 780(+3)

Message 9 of 58
Frequent Contributor

Re: How to get the most out of Amex BCE?

Generally I don't think maxing out your CB limit by buying a lot of gift cards is the best idea, unless you will use them fairly soon. Unless you already have something to spend those gift cards on, you're not saving money, you're forcing yourself to spend at that store later. A better option if your goal is to securely maximize monetary return is to put that money in a high interest yielding savings or checking account, if not a mutual fund. I think the easiest and most available guaranteed accounts are the Insight and NetSpend cards for their savings accounts or an interest bearing Kasasa checking account. There's also Kasasa cash back checking, so one or both Kasasa options may appeal.

Well, there can be a caveat to gift cards: my favorite restaurant is a local Japanese fusion place. It's a hibachi with a full sushi bar. On Sunday and Thursday every week, for years, it's all you can eat for $25 off of a "limited" (very generous) menu. In December they had a deal where when you buy a gift card you get bonus value on that gift card. For $400 you'd get a $600 gift card. I bought 2. My Nusenda Platinum Cash Rewards offers restaurant as a category in q4 every year, and to my surprise I actually got $48 back on the $800 spend - I hadn't noticed before, but that card actually gives 6% back! But either way, this was justifiable to me - $752 for $1200 in GC where I can get all you can eat hibachi and sushi for $25, or half off sushi at lunch during the week. Sure that doesn't factor in tax and tip, but at this rate it's a moot point lol, it's still about 14 free all you can eat feasts.
Chase UR: Amex MR:Citi TY:
Cash back:Travel:
Debit: + DCU savings acct for 5.12% APY for $1k, My referral for Beam 2% - 4% savings
Message 10 of 58