Amex Auto Purchasing Program Review
The Amex Auto Purchasing Program allows you to finance a portion of your car purchase on your credit card, up to the full sticker price. However, like any big decision, participating in this program has its own unique pros and cons. Keep reading to get a sense of our full American Express Auto Purchasing Program review and decide whether it’s the right fit for you.
Understanding the Amex Auto Purchasing Program
The American Express Auto Purchasing Program is a benefit for Amex card holders, which allows them to use their cards to finance a portion of their next vehicle purchase. If you have an American Express card, putting a portion of the car’s down payment (or more) on your Amex will allow you to accumulate a substantial amount of Membership Rewards points and gain access to other exclusive benefits.
To do this, Amex partners with TrueCar, a digital automotive marketplace. According to the company’s website, it sources data from over 10,000 TrueCar certified dealers to let you know what other users have paid for the vehicle make and model you’re looking to buy. You can also use the site to search for available new and used cars.
In particular, the Amex Auto Purchasing Program specifically connects you with dealers who are willing to let you use your card as a method of payment. All participating dealers will let you charge at least $2,000 of the vehicle’s cost, up to the full purchase price. For certain models, this tool also allows you to request a Guaranteed Savings Certificate, which can help keep you from paying full price for the vehicle.
How the Amex Auto Purchasing Program works
There are two separate components to Amex’s Auto Purchasing Program: buying a new or used car with your Amex and leveraging Buyer Bonus Program rewards after you’ve made your purchase. Here’s a closer look at how each one works.
Buying a new or used car
- Visit Amex’s TrueCar Marketplace.
- Enter some vehicle information (make, model) and your zip code to see search results for what others have paid for that car in your area.
- Enter contact information, like your name and email address, to receive price offers from participating dealers.
- Wait for participating dealers to contact you with more information.
- Visit the participating dealer of your choice to test drive and purchase your vehicle.
- Pay for the vehicle using your Amex card, subject to the limits indicated by the dealer.
- Report your vehicle purchase to American Express within 45 days to qualify for the Buyer Bonus Program.
Buyer Bonus Program
If you do buy a vehicle through the American Express Auto Purchasing Program and register your purchase within 45 days, you’ll gain access to Amex’s Buyer Bonus Program. It provides auto repair and insurance deductible benefits worth up to $2,000.
Here’s more information on how the benefits work:
- Repairs: Reimburses you for 20% of any repair payments made on a vehicle purchased through the program, up to $500. It typically covers parts and labor, except for in New Hampshire and New York, where only parts are covered.
- Deductibles: Reimburses your insurance deductible up to $500, twice a year, when you file a claim with your auto insurance company (not available in New Hampshire or New York).
- Auto Expert Opinion: Allows you to talk with a certified mechanic for an expert opinion on car problems, repairs and potential repair costs. The mechanic can review any repair estimates that you have received on your covered vehicle and help you determine if you’re getting a fair price.
Pros and cons of using the Amex Auto Purchasing Program
You can finance your purchase with your Amex card
You’ll earn Membership Rewards points on your purchase
You’ll gain access to Buyer Bonus Program benefits
Only certain dealers participate in this program
Each dealer sets its own limits on how much you can finance with your Amex card
Multiple dealers will gain access to your contact information
Pros of the Amex car buying program
Ability to use your credit card
Not many dealers will let you buy a car using a credit card. If you can’t buy the vehicle outright and don’t want to take out a new auto loan, financing your car purchase with a credit card can be a strong alternative option. The American Express Auto Purchasing Program will connect you directly with lenders who are willing to accept credit as a method of payment.
Ability to gain Membership Rewards points
Using your American Express card to finance your vehicle purchase will help you amass Membership Rewards points that can be redeemed when shopping, for travel, as gift cards or even as a cash deposit into your bank account.
However, the amount of points that you gain from your purchase will vary according to which Amex card you have and the financing limits imposed by your dealer. It’s also a good idea to consider your credit utilization ratio and how high of a balance you’re willing to carry.
Once you know the total amount you’d like to finance, you can use Amex’s rewards calculator to estimate the redemption value of your purchase.
Access to Buyer Bonus Program benefits
While no one likes to think about getting into accidents or needing to cover the cost of vehicle repairs, these things do happen. If you register your purchase in time to gain access to the Buyer Bonus Program, you could be reimbursed for up to $2,000 in repairs or insurance deductibles.
Cons of the Amex car buying program
Restrictions on dealers who participate in the program
TrueCar boasts that it has over 10,000 certified dealers in its partner network. However, not all of those dealers will accept American Express as a method of payment.
While the program can be a great benefit if one of the participating dealers is selling a car that closely matches your needs, it’s possible that you may have more options available to you if you look outside of Amex’s dealer network.
Limits on how much you can finance using your card
In order to participate in the car-buying program, each dealer is required to allow you to finance at least $2,000 of the car’s purchase price. However, that’s it — they are not required to let you finance up to the full purchase price and each dealer sets its own limits for the amount that it’s willing to accept.
Multiple dealers can access your contact information
When you submit your information to the American Express Auto Purchasing program, you’re also consenting to allow dealers to contact you. It may be nice to have dealers come to you at first, but it can get tiring to have to opt out of services from any dealers that you’re not intending to use.