The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is a popular cash-back credit card that offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. With no annual fee, a generous welcome bonus, and useful benefits, it’s easy to see why this card has gained so much traction.
But before you apply, there are some key facts you should know to determine if the Cash Magnet Card is the right fit for your wallet. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll explore 7 essential things you need to be aware of with the American Express Cash Magnet® Card.
1. A Solid Base Cash Back Rate
The Cash Magnet Card offers a flat 1.5% cash-back rate on all purchases. This applies to every category – from groceries and gas to dining and entertainment. There are no bonus category rotations or activations required.
This straightforward earning structure makes it easy to estimate your rewards. If you spend $1,000 in a month, you’ll earn $15 back. Spend $2,000 and get $30 cashback (terms & rates).
The 1.5% base rate competes well against other no-annual fee cash-back cards like the Citi Double Cash which also offers 2% (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay).
Some cards do offer higher rates in specific bonus categories, but require activation and remembering to use the right card for each purchase. The Cash Magnet Card keeps earning simple with one standard rate for everything.
2. Lucrative Welcome Bonus
New cardholders can earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 6 months. This provides an extra 10% cash back on the first $2,000 spent.
Amex also regularly offers increased welcome bonuses on this card, sometimes up to $300 back. So it pays to check for any limited-time offers before submitting your application.
To qualify for the welcome bonus, the purchases must be completed within the first 6 months of account opening. The bonus is awarded 8-12 weeks after reaching the spending threshold. Cash advances, fees, interest charges, and other non-purchase transactions don’t count.
3. No Annual Fee
The Cash Magnet Card has no annual fee. This is relatively rare among cash-back cards – especially those that offer similarly solid earnings rates and bonuses.
Cards like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charge $95 per year. And the Citi Premier® Card has a $100 annual fee. Avoiding an annual fee saves money long-term.
4. 0% Intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers
New Card Members can benefit from a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. This intro period allows you to pay down existing balances or make large purchases interest-free.
Balance transfers must be made within 60 days of account opening to qualify for the 0% rate. And there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% (whichever is greater). After the 15-month intro period, a variable APR between 19.24% – 29.99% applies.
This intro APR offer provides flexibility and savings on interest. But it’s important to pay off transferred balances completely within 15 months. Otherwise, residual balances will start accruing interest at the standard variable APR.
5. Bonus Points and Special Financing on Large Purchases
Through Amex Offers and Plan It, Cardmembers can periodically earn bonus points or financing on large ticket purchases.
For example, a recent Amex Offer gave 15% back (up to $100) on purchases of $500 or more at Best Buy. Specific merchants and terms vary with each offer.
Plan It allows splitting eligible purchases of $100 or more into monthly payment plans. This helps budget for big expenses without paying interest. You continue earning cashback as normal while paying down the balance monthly.
Leveraging these features strategically can save money on major purchases that don’t otherwise qualify for the 0% intro APR.
6. Valuable Benefits and Credits
Beyond earning cash back, the Cash Magnet Card includes other key benefits:
- Rental Car Insurance – Provides coverage for rental cars when booked with the card. This can help avoid paying extra rental company fees.
- Purchase Protection – Eligible purchases are covered against damage and theft for up to 90 days, up to $1,000 per purchase, and $50,000 annually.
- Access to Amex Entertainment – Cardholders get access to special offers for concerts, theater shows, and other events. Offers may include preferred seating, pre-sales, and more.
- ShopRunner 2-Day Shipping – Complimentary 2-day shipping and free returns with ShopRunner-eligible merchants. Can be used when shopping online.
- Amex Offers – Cardholders can add special discounts and bonus points directly to their card for use at checkout. Offers frequently include cash back at popular merchants.
- Global Assist Hotline – Get 24/7 assistance with medical, legal, transportation, or other services when traveling internationally.
Depending on your lifestyle and spending habits, these benefits and credits can add significant extra value to the Cash Magnet Card.
7. Opportunity to Upgrade to a Premium Card
A nice feature of American Express cards is the ability to upgrade down the line to more premium versions (subject to approval). This allows you to retain your history and growing credit line while gaining new perks.
For example, the Cash Magnet Card can potentially upgrade to cards like the American Express® Gold Card with 4x points on dining and groceries (up to $25,000 annually) and up to $120 in annual dining credits.
Or upgrade to the American Express® Green Card to earn 3x points on transit, restaurants, travel, and more. There is a $150 annual fee for the Green Card.
Upgrading after establishing a strong payment history with the no-annual-fee Cash Magnet Card can help unlock premium rewards, credits, and benefits.
The Verdict on the Cash Magnet Card
The American Express Cash Magnet® Card presents a straightforward way to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases. Valuable welcome and referral bonuses, intro 0% APR, ShopRunner free shipping, Amex Offers, and other benefits add to the overall value.
With no annual fee, the Cash Magnet Card can earn you hundreds of dollars per year in cash-back rewards. If you prefer flat-rate cash back without category limitations, this card should absolutely be on your radar. Consider pairing it with cards that earn bonus rewards on your biggest spending categories.
Before applying, be sure to check eligibility requirements and any limited-time welcome offers for maximum savings. Don’t forget to take advantage of the 0% intro APR offer to save on interest upon approval. Use the first 15 months strategically to pay down debt or make large purchases over time.
With a little planning, the Cash Magnet Card can become an essential component of your wallet. The generous welcome bonus effectively pays for itself. And the unlimited 1.5% earn rate keeps the cashback flowing month after month.
To view rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet, see Terms & rates.