American Express perksAmerican Express (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers a well-rounded collection of all types of cards, from cash back credit cards and travel rewards cards to those designed for small business owners and an array of charge cards. What you might not realize is that beyond the card-specific benefits that are prominently advertised, American Express has a host of great perks that many cardholders can use to their advantage. To help you out, we’re detailing four of these great American Express perks and how you can make them work for you.

Pay It Plan It

Avoiding interest is a key factor in the minds of most credit card owners, and yet so many people wind up carrying a balance on their card — which can be costly. American Express introduced two features in 2017 — Pay It and Plan It — that aim to help cardholders budget large purchases and manage their monthly statements better. Note that Pay It Plan It is only available to U.S. personal cardholders. Here’s how they work:

Pay It

Many people use their credit card throughout a given billing period and only think about it when their statement comes due. Pay It allows you to chip away at your balance as you go. Simply log into your American Express account (or open the app on your phone), tap any eligible purchase and select “Pay It” to pay off that amount on your outstanding balance immediately. Pay It is limited to small purchases, which are considered those under $100 according to American Express’ terms and conditions. If you’re someone who tends to carry a balance, this tool can be helpful for paying down your outstanding balance a little bit at a time throughout the month, rather than making one single, large payment when your statement comes due. You can even use it to keep on top of your purchases as you make them, to ensure that you don’t reach the end of your billing period with a burdensome balance that you can’t afford to pay in full.

Plan It

Let’s face it, not all of your purchases are going to be under $100. If you’ve got a big purchase coming up or find yourself with emergency expenses, it might seem daunting to try and pay it off in a timely manner, especially if your credit card is long past any 0% intro APR promotions it started with. That’s where Plan It comes in. This feature allows you to turn your large purchase into a monthly payment plan that does not accrue interest. Instead, once you make the purchase, you can log into your American Express account and select the “Plan It” option next to it on your account history. You’ll be given 3 plan options to choose from, which may vary depending on your creditworthiness, account history and the size of the purchase amount (e.g., 3 months, 6 months or 9 months). When you select a plan, you will see an exact breakdown of how much each payment will be, which includes all fees upfront, so you know exactly how much you’ll have to pay. Because the fees are fixed and presented to you upfront, you won’t have to worry about collecting interest while you pay down your balance. Plus, the amount is added to your monthly payment due so there’s no need to remember to make extra payments. And if you decide you want to pay the whole thing off early, you’re free to do so without any penalty (or having to pay further fees for the months remaining in your plan).

Deals, deals, deals

Amex Offers

Being an American Express cardholder means you get access to dozens of discounts and deals on dining, shopping, entertainment, travel and more. You can access the current deals available by logging into your account via a computer and clicking the “Benefits” link or simply scrolling to the bottom of your account dashboard. If you’re using the mobile app, click the “Offers” tab at the bottom to see your current and previously used offers. Some deals offer a fixed percentage off a product or service, while others involve spending a certain amount to get money back — such as, spend $50 at X store or merchant to get $10 back. If your American Express card earns points, you might also see offers that let you earn extra points on your purchases. In addition to U.S. consumer card and business card owners, those with registered American Express Serve or Bluebird cards can also access these offers. Offers refresh on a regular basis, and you can easily add the offers you want to take advantage of to your account to ensure that you don’t miss out.

ShopRunner

American Express perks

A view of the ShopRunner homepage.

Who could turn down free 2-day shipping at over 100 stores? With a ShopRunner membership, which is available to American Express consumer, small business and charge cardholders, that can be yours — for free. All you have to do is log into your American Express account and follow the instructions to enroll in the program. In addition to free 2-day shipping on qualifying purchases, you’ll also get free shipping on returns. That’s a great benefit to have all year round, but especially right now as the holidays are fast approaching. The stores that you can use your shipping benefits at are plentiful — including 1-800 Flowers, Neiman Marcus, Kate Spade, Newegg, AutoZone, Staples and more. Plus, you have the option to save your card details when you enroll for faster checkout when you shop. In order to secure the free shipping and return benefits, you must be logged into ShopRunner when you check out at the online retailer and your item must meet certain eligibility requirements (e.g., minimum price). You can also search for specific items or look through available items from specific stores on ShopRunner directly. Your complimentary enrollment is good so long as you maintain your American Express account, which is an annual savings of $79 on the membership price alone.

Save the planet with your credit card

A company that commits to the environment is one that many of us can get behind, which is why it’s so great that American Express has recently announced that it will soon begin making credit cards from ocean plastic. Part of a collaboration with an organization called Parley, which works to combat marine plastic pollution, these new cards will be developed using marine plastic pollution recovered from oceans and coastlines. The expected roll-out for these cards is sometime in the next 12 months, after the cards have been tested and perfected. In addition to these recyclable credit cards, American Express has also made other commitments — including reducing single-use plastic in its offices and Centurion lounges, intercepting plastic before it makes its way into the environment, turning all of its employee business travel carbon neutral by 2021 and powering its New York headquarters and all U.S. data centers with renewable energy sources. While the cards aren’t available yet, they will be in the next year, so American Express cardholders should keep their eyes peeled for a chance to get one next time their card expires.

Want to learn more about the many American Express cards out there and what they each can offer you? Read our reviews to find the perfect card to fit your needs so you can start taking advantage of these and many other American Express perks.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.