Posted by Chuck on October 5, 2016
Credit Cards

Published on October 5th, 2016 | by Chuck

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Additional Amex Platinum Benefit Revealed in Press Release, Two Cents-per-Point Flight Redemption

We’ve discussed the upcoming changes to the Amex Platinum personal and business cards starting tomorrow, October 6. Today Amex put out an official press release with the changes.

Press Release

There’s one interesting paragraph about an upcoming change we hadn’t known until now:

Business Platinum Card Members can now earn 50% points back when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points through American Express Travel to book a flight with their selected airline. They will also receive this benefit when booking a first or business class ticket with any airline.

Platinum business cardholders can redeem Membership Rewards for flights with a 50% rebate on the points used. Pay with Points costs one cent-per-point when redeeming for travel. By getting 50% back, you’ll effectively be getting two cents-per-point with travel redemptions. For example, if you buy a $300 flight and use 30,000 points, you’ll get 15,000 points back. The $300 flight ends up costing you 15,000 points, or two cents-per-point.

This is good news as having a business Platinum now means a straightforward way of redeeming MR points at 2 cents-per-point on flights.

The big limitation here is that this 2x redemption is limited to two scenarios:

  • Get 2 cents per point for all first class or business class flight booked via Amex Travel
  • Get 2 cents per point for all flights, including economy, booked with your selected airline booked via Amex Travel

Suddenly, choosing your airline with Amex Platinum business cards has more implications than just figuring out how you’ll cash out the $200 airline incidental bonus.

For someone who pays for flights occasionally, this puts a minimum MR redemption value of 2 cents-per-point if you have the business Platinum card. And it means that if you have both the personal and business Platinum cards, you’ll end up with an effective 10% discount on your flights (purchase with personal Platinum for 5x and redeem with business Platinum for 2 CPP).

Recap of Changes Starting October 6

  • All versions of the Amex personal Platinum card will get 5x points on airfare booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel. This benefit will not apply for business Platinum cards.
  • Amex business Platinum will have two new benefits: 1) 1.5x points on all large purchases, $5,000 or more; 2) The ability to redeem MR points for 2 cents-per-point on your selected airline or on first and business class tickets with any airline. These benefits will not apply to personal Platinum cards.



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Dan
Dan

Now if we could only get a 150k point signup bonus for the plat biz to come back, maybe just before christmas time would be nice…

Paul
Paul

Word.

Frank
Frank

I had a 150k offer come in the mail in August. I jumped on it right away. I believe it was valid until October. So it’s possible they are still floating it around somewhere.

Bodiddely
Bodiddely

This is a great change and I’m excited about it, but another big limitation of this compared to using Citi or Chase points on airfare is that you must effectively have double the required number of points to do the booking and then wait several days to get a rebate (actual T&Cs say something like 6-8 weeks but Flyertalk reports are a couple days to get points rebated).

So even though I have 150k MR points – which should be enough to book 3 tickets for $1k each on my preferred airline, I can only book 1 today (down to 50k MR balance), wait few days for rebate to bounce me up to 100k MR, book another (balance goes down to 0 MR), wait again for rebate to bring me back to 50k MR points – and now I can only pay $500 out of the 1k for the third ticket, and get 25k points back.

So even though theoretically my 150k points should be enough for 3x 1k tickets, in order to take advantage of that in one booking I would need a minimum of 300k MRs in my account. So you really need a lot of cushion room in your MR balance to get full value out of this benefit, unlike Citi TYP and Chase UR.

Jake P
Jake P

One thing to remember is the need for double the points at the time of booking. For example, you’d need the full 80,000 MR to book an $800 flight, but you’d get 40,000 of them back. So if I only have 50,000 MR, they aren’t actually worth a $1000 flight. Just makes it slightly less appealing.

Jake P
Jake P

Bodiddely beat me to it!

Bodiddely
Bodiddely

Yours was much more succinct 😉

P
P

That 2 cents kind of redemption is tempting. I have an Amex offer for 75k MR for $5k + $5k spend instead of the $15k spend, and I almost want to get it . . . almost.

Dima
Dima

Do any of these benefits apply to AMEX Corporate Platinum?

Daniel
Daniel

Shesh. They can’t just improve the program, full stop. They keep adding these hoops to go through lime the aforementioned double-points requirement and also only getting 2 cents I’m economy on your chosen airline.

Bodiddely
Bodiddely

This IS an improvement though. At least you get to pick the airline. Out of their competitors, the next highest would be Citi TYP at 1.6 cpp but ONLY on AA, and only until next summer when it is being devalued. Chase UR may be used anywhere, but only at 75% of the value of using MR on your preferred airline. Granted, you don’t face the “double points” hoop for this so they are more flexible.

I never used MR for paid airfare before, and can see myself doing so quite frequently from now on. My EDP effectively earns 3 cents per point on everyday spend now (at least to the extent that I would otherwise be paying out of pocket for flights on my preferred carrier)..

Stvr
Stvr

It does highlight how worthless actual miles are these days. They can’t get you two cents a point *consistently*

bob
bob

is the 1cpp redemption value only for Plat holders? I have a Gold, and when i try to book travel, its way less than that (maybe 0.6cpp?)

Tony
Tony

Maybe actually read the article?

Ron
Ron

amex is the cheater. I won’t trust them anymore. if you get too much rebate, they will deduct your points with some kind of ridiculous reasons.

SG
SG

Will this 50% be on top of the 30% airline bonus they already give fore Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or AirTran Airways?

Ron
Ron

what a shame. Docofcredit delete my post!!! Shame on you and Amex

Lantean
Lantean

Amex just don’t get it… CSR is popular not only because it’s so rewarding but also because of how simple the rewards structure is.

Amex is once again coming up with silly limitations and registrations etc… they won’t win customers over from CSR this way.

Dima
Dima

They probably needed to give at least something to their customer service reps to tell all those people who call in to cancel Amex Plat in favor of CSR.

Johnny

This is a pretty big perk for sure but I’d really like to see the earn rate increased. So let’s just assume that for simplicity, this means each point is worth 2 cents when redeemed for travel on the new amex plat.

With the CSR, I still get 3x back on dining/travel, and 1.5x back on everything else (because of free unlimited). Most of my spend in NYC is in the dining/travel category and when i redeem points for flights, I get 50% premium so I get something closer to 4.5c per point. At the minimum, I’m getting 2.25x because of the freedom unlimited. This is still better than AMEX new structure. For example:

I spent 25k on dining/travel with CSR
25k x 3 = 75k UR points
75000*1.5 = 112500 points which is good for $1125 flight

I spend 25k on dining/travel with AMEX
25k MR points
Good for $250 flight,
12500 points back
Redeem that for $125 flight
Get 6725 points back
Redeem for $67.25 flight
….
Using summation formulas, this approaches $500 value which is one hell of a way to get 2x back on your points lol

Josh Trout
Josh Trout

This was clearly designed by someone who loves Zeno’s paradox.

Dave C
Dave C

Sorry, just not a big deal to me. Have never booked through any card’s portal and probably never will.

Runtheroad
Runtheroad

Is it safe to assume that this is the big reveal and there isn’t a new product coming? If that’s the case, I think this is going to be pretty underwhelming for many people.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

wow. this is a huge hook to try and get people to hold both the personal and biz plat cards for max earn and redemptions.

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