Amex to jettison OfficeMax from OPEN Savings; and other changes good & bad

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Amex OPEN improves Hertz benefit, but otherwise mostly bad news…

One of the best and most reliable ways to buy gift cards at a discount has been to use an American Express small business card with OPEN Savings at OfficeMax.com.  Amex’s OPEN Savings program automatically credits your account with 5% back for online purchases of $250 or less, and 10% back for purchases of more than $250 at OfficeMax.com.  OfficeMax sells a variety of gift cards online, each with a 99 cent fee.  So, if you buy at least three $100 gift cards at once, you’ll net a 9% discount on those cards (plus you’ll earn credit card rewards).

Unfortunately, Amex now says that this benefit will go away as of January 1, 2014:

Effective January 1, 2014, OfficeMax.com will no longer be part of the OPEN Savings benefit. Any amounts that are charged to your Card account by this merchant on or after this date, will not be eligible for the OPEN Savings benefit.

Amex_OPEN_OfficeMax_FrequentMiler

Is this permanent?

In my old post about the Office Depot / OfficeMax merger I guessed that the Open Savings benefit would go away.  Specifically, I wrote this guess:

We will lose the ability to save up to 10% via Amex OPEN Savings.  Of course it’s possible that Amex will negotiate a similar deal with the new entity, but my guess is that this benefit will go away entirely.

Our hope, of course, is that Amex will ink a new deal with the new combined Office Depot / OfficeMax entity.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Other losses

In addition to losing the OfficeMax benefit, Amex is getting rid of the Epson Store as of December 16, 2013.

Other changes good and bad

Amex has begun including detailed information about OPEN changes in mailed credit card statements.  All of these changes are expected on January 1, 2014:

Hertz:

Currently, OPEN Savings rebates are offered only if you spend more than $500 at Hertz.  As of January 1, 2014, Amex will offer 3% back for the first $500 of spend within a calendar year, then 5% back for up to $2K of spend, then 10% back for over $2K spend.  This is a great enhancement for those who do not rent cars often since you’ll be guaranteed at least 3% cash back on all Hertz spend beginning in 2014.  See image for details:

amex open 1

HP Home & Home Office:

Like the Hertz changes, the HP benefit changes will be good for those who spend very little, but for those who spend more the rewards levels have become less favorable.  Take a look at this image for details:

amex open 1

FedEx Office:

Like the HP changes, the FedEx changes are good for lightweight FedEx spenders, but big time spenders will see a significant dip in benefits as their payout will drop from 10% to 5% and will be capped at $20K spend.  See image for details:

amex open 2

What do you think about all of these changes?  Are they good or bad for you?

Hat tip: Jordan

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