So when I received the e-mail with that in the subject line, I immediately assumed it was spam. However, I checked the sender and realized that it was an approved address from American Express; I opened the e-mail and was directed to this page.
Turns out that American Express is running a promotion that allows American Express cardholders to purchase high-ticket items at significant discounts for the next few days. There are various quantities of different items available for purchase at 12PM, 4PM, and 9PM EST. The items remaining for purchase are as follows:
- Today -- Panasonic D-SNAP SV-AV50 video camera. Retails for $400, but you can buy it on the AMEX site for $150 and there are 335 available. This camera got a "fair" rating on its CNET Review.
- Tomorrow -- Williams-Sonoma Baker Collection. Retails for $170, but you can buy it on the AMEX site for $50 and there are 495 available. This would probably make a good Christmas gift for someone that was into baking.
- Friday -- The Art of Shaving engraved, nickel-plated shaving set that includes a stand, razor, and badger hair brush. Retails for $770, but you can get it for $150 on the AMEX site. I actually use an Art of Shaving brush myself and I have found that I get a much closer shave with less irritation by using the brush. It would be nice to have the full set and the razor uses Mach 3 blades, my brand of choice.
- Saturday -- Sigerson Morrison leather bag. Retails for $860, but you can get it for $200 on the AMEX site and there are 250 available. I have never heard of this brand, but I have asked a couple of people that I know about it (people that are into coutere) and they were pretty impressed.
- Sunday -- NBA travel package for two to see the Heat vs. Lakers in lower level seats on Christmas Day, including round-trip first-class air and a 5-star hotel. Retail price of the package is $5,400 (probably varies a little depending on where you are flying from), but you can get it on the AMEX site for $1000 and there are 10 packages available. I am not a huge basketball fan, but this would be a really cool gift for someone that was into the game.
- Monday -- this is the big ticket item! A 2005 BMW Z4 3.0i roadster including round trip air fair to go pick the car up in South Carolina and attend the BMW Performance Driving Course. Retail value of the package is $42,500, but you can buy it on the AMEX site for $5000 and there are 5 available. I am certainly going to take a whack at trying to get it, wouldn't you? I am certain that the odds on this one are horribly against me, but I've really got nothing to lose.
- Tuesday -- this was just recently added: Treo 600 smartphone. Retail for the phone is $450, but you can get it on the AMEX site for $150 and there are 300 available. Unfortunately this is not the new Treo 650, but it's still a really good price for the 600 at this point. I am assuming, based on the color of the phone in the picture, that this is an unlocked GSM model that you could use with T-Mobile or Cingular/ATT or any other GSM carrier (note that the AMEX site makes no mention as to whether or not the phone is carrier-locked).
Think this will cause people to go out and sign up for American Express cards? I am sure that's what they're hoping and, if one of these gifts is on your list for someone, it certainly seems like a better deal than signing up for a store card to receive 10% off (assuming that you are lucky enough to be able to purchase one of the items above).
I'll let you know if I get to buy one of the BMWs or if I am successful in purchasing any of the other items. Also, this promotion runs until December 21, so I'll try to update new items periodically as I see them pop up.