If you have good credit and would like to earn something on your purchases but don’t want to fuss, the American Express Cash Magnet is a decent choice. The rewards rate—1.5% cash back on everything you buy—could be bigger, but at least it’s simple. You won’t have to keep up with rotating categories, spending caps, or complex redemption options.
This is also a reasonable option if you want time to pay off a large purchase. New cardholders can get 0% interest on purchases, and the promotion lasts for 15 months—a pretty good stretch.
Competitive 0% interest offer
Simple, unlimited reward opportunities
Limited redemption options
- Competitive 0% APR offer: This card’s introductory 0% interest offer is good for purchases, and lasts 15 months—as long or longer than many offers you’ll find. Unfortunately, this card does not also offer a 0% interest deal on balance transfers as well—several of its competitors do.
- Simple, unlimited reward opportunities: You can earn an unlimited amount of cash back with this card, and you’ll never have to think about using the right rewards card for the right store. This can help you keep your rewards game carefree.
- Limited redemption options: Your cash back is typically redeemable only as a credit to your card statement, and only if you’ve earned at least $25. (American Express notes in its fine print that it may offer other options, like gift cards or merchandise, from time to time.) Other cash back cards have more redemption choices as a standard option and without a minimum.
American Express Cash Magnet Welcome Offer for New Cardholders
The American Express Cash Magnet offers new cardholders $150 cash back if they spend $1,000 on their cards within three months of account opening.
To offer a bit of flexibility during the pandemic, you may have more time to earn your new cardholder bonus, if you haven’t already earned it. For more information, see “Credit Card Deals Help You Earn and Use Travel Benefits During COVID-19”.
With some rewards cards, assessing the new cardholder bonus can be tricky because the currency is points or miles, which can often have varying redemption values. Not so with a simple offer like this one. The $150 is worth exactly $150 as a credit on your card statement, which is comparable to what other cards with similar rewards rates are offering.
Earning Points & Rewards
As we’ve said, there’s nothing complicated about earning rewards on this card, and that’s precisely the draw. You’ll earn a flat 1.5% cash back for every $1 you spend, with no limits on how much you can earn.
There are several competing cards that offer the same 1.5% cash back, and in fact, you can even find 2% back in some cases, though there may be some hoops to jump through to get that rate.
If you spend $24,000 on your credit card in a year, or an average of $2,000 per month, you would earn $360 with a 1.5% cash-back card or $480 with a 2% cash-back card.
The cash back is redeemable as a statement credit as long as you have accrued at least $25 in rewards. American Express may offer additional redemption options including gift cards or merchandise, but there’s no guarantee of that.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
If you need to make a big purchase, use this card to avoid interest on those buys for 15 months.
If you have a handful of purchases you want to pay off over time, you can also look into the Amex “Pay It Plan It” feature. The “Plan It” side of this program lets you bundle up to 10 purchases of at least $100 each into a payment plan with no additional interest charges. For the first 15 months after opening this card, there's no fee to use this feature. After that, you can use Plan It for a fixed fee based on the repayment plan you choose. For example, $100 in charges may be spread out over three payments of $34.02 for a total cost of $102.04, six payments of $17.49 for a total cost of $104.92, or nine payments of $11.98 for a total cost of $107.74.
As far as rewards go, make sure to get the $150 welcome offer by spending at least $1,000 within your first three months. And then rack up as much cash back as you can by using your card wherever you go.
American Express Cash Magnet’s Other Features
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Pay it, Plan it short-term financing options
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Free shipping through ShopRunner membership
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events
American Express customers consistently report positive customer service interactions. In fact, J.D. Power rated American Express the second best credit card issuer in terms of customer satisfaction in its 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. American Express earned 838 out of 1,000 possible points, and the industry average was 806.
American Express has a mobile app that can make tracking your purchases, paying bills, and staying on top of your rewards easier. You can even use the app to set up account alerts to track spending or remind you to pay your bill.
American Express credit cards come with standard security features like account monitoring and transaction alerts.
American Express Cash Magnet’s Fees
The fees are pretty standard fees for a cash-back credit card, although you should be aware of the 2.7% foreign transaction fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.