Update: This post includes offers that were valid at the time of publication, but have since expired. Please click here to see the best offers currently available.
You already know that I love the Amex Business Platinum 50% pay with points rebate. If you didn’t know, please click here to read about it, then come back to this post to finish reading. I know… that’s a lot of homework for a busy person, so if you want the short version, suffice to say that the rebate often makes it possible to get exactly the flights you want, for fewer points, all while earning miles from your flights. And it’s a great way to get 2 cents per point value from your Membership Rewards points.
So, I was happily loving this rebate feature and suddenly Amex announced that, starting March 30th, the Enhanced Business Platinum card would earn 5X when purchasing flights through Amex Travel (you can also earn 5X purchasing prepaid hotels through Amex Travel, but don’t do that — you can do better).
And I thought “Great, we can earn 5X when buying flights, but who would ever do that when they can redeem points for great value instead?” And I realized that, in fact, there are many reasons why you might take advantage of this 5X opportunity:
- You might not have enough Membership Rewards points to pay with points for the flight
- The flight you want may be in economy with an airline other than the one that you selected as your preferred airline (for review, the 50% rebate only kicks in when you buy business or first class flights with any airline or with economy flights with your selected airline).
- You might be traveling for business and need to pay for the flight in order to get reimbursed.
And I’ll leave it to the reader to come up with other reasons. I’m sure there are many. But, that’s not what this post is about. The point is that I didn’t think I’d use the 5X feature to earn points because I’d be too busy using the 50% rebate feature to spend points. But I may just have stumbled upon a way to have your cake (earn almost 5X rewards) and eat it too (get the 50% rebate)…
My recent points rebate
In my recent post where I declared my love for the 50% rebate, I described purchasing a $632.40 flight with points. I spent 63,240 Membership Rewards points and got back 31,620. That’s how it is supposed to work, and it did. But, something else interesting happened…
I earned 2,530 points for “BPlat 4x MR pt in BAU Spnd”. What the heck is that? Well, if for some reason I earned 4X points on my $632.40 purchase, that would come to… 2,530 points. Wow! Even though I paid with points for this flight, I earned 4X rewards on the original purchase price!
Why did I earn 4X rewards for this flight?
In January we wrote that Amex had a targeted offer for Enhanced Business Platinum cardholders to earn 5X for airfare. Personal Platinum cards already had this as a standard feature, but the Business Platinum card did not. I was lucky enough to be targeted for this offer.
When you pay with points for airfare through Amex Travel, they first charge your credit card for the full amount and then they post a credit to your account in exchange for the points.
I’m pretty sure that the following happened: The $632.40 airfare purchase triggered a 4X bonus. Why 4X? Normally I’d earn 1X for all purchases, so Amex delivers 5X points by adding a 4X bonus on top of points normally earned. In the end, I won’t earn the base 1X because the credit to my account negates it (as an aside, travel fee reimbursements and Global Entry/TSA-Pre rebates do not negate 1X rewards, but most other credits do).
What this may mean going forward, and why a 54% rebate equals 2.17 cents per point value
I think it is very likely, but not at all guaranteed, that the coding for the new 5X airfare feature coming March 30th will work the same way as the targeted offer (which ends March 29th). If so, that means that the Amex Enhanced Business Platinum’s 50% points rebate will really be a 54% rebate.
A 54% point rebate doesn’t sound materially different from a 50% rebate, but let’s run the math…
Normally, a 50% rebate results in getting 2 cents per point value from Amex Membership Rewards. Proof:
- Point value: $632.40 / (63,240 – 31,620) = $.02
However, a 54% rebate results in 2.17 cents per point value!
- Point value: $632.40 / (63,240 – 31,620 – 2,530) = $632.40 / 29,090 = $0.0217
Or, more simply:
- Given that your final point cost after rebates would be 46 points per dollar…
- Point value: $1 / 46 = $0.0217
UPDATE: It turns out that this deal can be duplicated today if you have both a personal and business Platinum card. Please see this post for complete details. Hat Tip: Topspin 46.
Why 2.17 cents per point value is awesome
While the Business Platinum card has many things going for it, it’s not great for everyday spend. For most purchases, it earns only 1 point per dollar. With other cards you can do much better. That said, getting a rebate on spend worth 2.17 cents per dollar is not bad at all.
Where the 2.17 cents per point value really shines is where you can earn more than 1 point per dollar. The best card for earning Membership Rewards points, in my opinion, is the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card. The card earns 3x points at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X); 2X points at US gas stations; and 1X points on other purchases. And when you use the card to make 30 or more purchases each billing cycle you get a 50% bonus on all points earned. In that case, the card’s bonus categories become:
- 4.5 points per dollar at U.S. grocery stores, up to $6K spend per year (then the rate drops to 1.5X)
- 3 points per dollar at US standalone gas stations
- 1.5X points per dollar everywhere else.
When I previously modeled a spend scenario in the post “Best credit card combos: Membership Rewards,” I found that a person can earn, on average (see assumptions in the post), 2.33 points per dollar with the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card alone. If that same person has the Amex Enhanced Business Platinum Card and uses the points for airfare at a value of 2.17 cents each, that’s an average rebate of over 5%!
Until the Business Platinum card’s new 5X airfare feature kicks in on March 30th, we won’t know for sure if redeeming points for flights will result in earning 4X bonus points as it did for me recently. My guess is that it will. And, if so, the Business Platinum Card along with the Amex EveryDay Preferred card may become, for many, the single best credit card duo around. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: It turns out that this deal can be duplicated today if you have both a personal and business Platinum card. Please see this post for complete details. Hat Tip: Topspin 46. This strongly suggests that I was right: when the 5X airfare feature of the Business Platinum card kicks in on March 30th, it is very likely that 2.17 cents per point value will become standard with that card!
What is the latest here? About to make a booking.
Does choosing personal Plat for charge result in 5X plus 50%?
Does choosing Business Plat for charge result in 5x plus 50%?
Data points greatly appreciated.
I did not get the 5x with this on my Biz Plat.
i got 5x by picking my personal while i had the 50% biz bonus in the same points pool
You can no longer double-dip with earning 5X and paying with points.
This was confirmed with my latest fiasco here: http://www.derpreport.com/?p=3086
Need to get the word out. They were nice and refunded the points and removed the credit leaving with the bill. They did say I would get 5x points here, but I don’t know since its coded as AmEx travel and not a direct booking with the airline.
Your report seems to suggest that you can’t pay with a regular Platinum card and still get the 50% (or 35%) rebate if you also have the Business Platinum card. Are you sure about that? The agent you spoke with may have been wrong. I know that you won’t earn 5X, but I think you can still get the rebate. Of course, without earning 5X there’s no reason not to pay with the Biz Plat card.
yes, they were EXPLICIT in saying I must choose the Business Card for 50% back. I have gotten the bonus back before by choosing the personal Plat. I guess things have changed!
Mixed reports out here, some claim to have gotten the 50% back after a long wait of over 5 weeks. I guess I should of waited. Others were told that they had to pick the biz platinum!
Okay, another 30 min phone call and they reversed positions, because of the language of “you must charge your eligible airfare purchase through American Express Travel to a Membership Rewards®program-enrolled American Express®Card” I should be getting the points back, even when picking the Platinum Personal to pay. It will however take 4 to 10 weeks!
[…] Why this is a great combo: This combination delivers fantastic benefits, huge earnings on spend, and terrific value when redeeming points. Membership Rewards points are best redeemed by transferring to an airline program for premium class international awards, or for the Amex Enhanced Business Platinum 50% rebate when you pay for flights with points. In the latter case, you get 2 cents per point value, and may get even more (see: Wow! 2.17 cents per point from Business Platinum pay with points!). […]
[…] we think it’s possible that I may get back about another 1600 points. Read more about why here. If that holds true, I will have paid about 18,800 points for the one-way business class […]
I made an Amex Travel purchase with Amex business platinum(pay with points) on March 31. At least so far, no 4x bonus 🙁
Are there any other data points?
Same here, but I’m hoping that the 4X will appear a day or two after my statement closes on April 18th. When does your statement close?
Here’s an interesting data point: when redeeming MR via pay with points, you will not get 5X even if using Amextravel.com … I wasn’t targeted for the 5X offer on airfare with the business amex platinum, I just had the regular 5X when purchasing airfare on amex’s website (business platinum).
I booked a trip for the whole family with my selected airline on economy, and after 4 weeks, I got my 50% MR points back (that’s roughly half the time of what Amex says it takes)… I was still waiting on the 5X points of the airfare purchase… and after a few days I decided to call this morning and was confirmed by the MR department (1-800-297-3276), that pay with points redemptions does NOT earn 5X on the actual purchase.
So there you have it… No 2.17 cents per points on Pay with Points redemptions, but rather 2…until at least my next anniversary date 🙁
at which point it will become 1.5
Not planning on cancelling it, I’ll stick with it as well my Prestige which has pretty much paid for itself… still waiting on the Chase 5/24 to determine if I should reapply for the Sapphire Reserve (was denied once already when I applied on the last day of the 100K offer… heck, I might as well try, even when I knew I was over 5/24)…
Love you blog Greg! And Nick is a great addition to your team!… Keep up that work…
Thanks Alex. I’ve seen the same.
[…] Platinum can then redeem for at 2 cents per point towards certain airfares — perhaps getting 2.17 cents per point in total value. Be sure to add each offer to all of your cards as these offers are good through December 31, 2017. […]
[…] has reported that starting today, you may additionally earn 4x points on the cost of the airfare. You can read more about why here. If correct, you would then earn approximately 8,000 points back from the paid airfare for a final […]
How long did it take for the 50% points back to post? I see the charge on my Personal AMEX charge for the flight purchase and 100% of the points were deducted immediately after booking.
The first time I did it, the points didn’t show up until late the next day or maybe even 2 days later (even though they were back dated to the original day). The second time I did it, they showed up immediately. I guess it depends how the call agent handles it.
[…] times in a billing cycle, you could earn up to 2,250 Membership Rewards points on each load. If Greg’s discovery continues to hold true, those who also hold the Amex Business Platinum card can get up to $48.83 […]
Can someone tell me if this will earn the 50% reimbursed MR:
My selected airline is Delta, but I live in Kona, Hawaii. So, if the flight is KOA-MNL and goes like KOA (Hawaiian) -HNL, HNL-TYO (Delta), TYO-MNL (Delta), do I earn the 50% MR? This is not a multi-city but a one-way flight in economy.
If the entire itinerary is marketed by Delta (even though they don’t fly the whole thing), then it should work. I’m not sure if you can determine that from the Amex Travel website though.
The site doesn’t show if it’s a DL flight or HA flight, but shows them as “operated by Hawaiian Airlines” and “operated by Delta Air Lines.” Very interesting.
[…] a very cool development, as outlined by Frequent Miler , and also as discussed in this thread on Reddit […]
Good morning America. Look who discovered Mississippi. Congratulations.
[…] Wow! 2.17 cents per point from Business Platinum pay with points! […]
Preferred Airline choices – If you have the personal and the business Platinum is it best to have two different selected airlines? I can only see the 50% rebate tied to the business card and the $300 rebate tied to the personal or am I missing something?
[…] a very cool development, as outlined by Frequent Miler, and also as discussed in this thread on […]
[…] I described how I recently got 2.17 cents per point value from Membership Rewards points. I had inadvertently stacked the Business Platinum Card’s 50% Pay with Points rebate with a […]
Now that the Biz Plat offers the 5X for airline purchases, do you have any idea if a biz ticket purchased in excess of $5K USD would also trigger the 0.5x larger purchase bonus?
[…] a very cool development, as outlined by Frequent Miler, and also as discussed in this thread on […]
Are you at all concerned with booking via Amex versus direct with the airline, in situations where you may need to make flight changes or with IRROPS?
I already noted this on Gary’s blog a few days ago. Because of the way the coding is done I don’t they can stop it. We can still get reimbursed for AA gift cards and it’s been years! The 50% back feature was what got me to cancel the personal plat and keep the business plat. I rack up a ton of points from inventory purchases so that feature is awesome. AA has terrible inventory for Flagship LAX to JFK using miles but it costs about the same amount of MR points and I earn miles and looks like I’m about to get status based on class of service bonuses. I used to think pay points was for suckers until I got more points than I now know what to do with. With all the promos last year I am getting 3.75% back on all pay with points bookings! 1.5 x for charges $5k plus, small business promo and 50% back on First class fares! Oh and all the eqm and rdm for those flights!
[…] you’ve just finished reading about how paying with points may soon yield 2.17 cents per point in value for Amex Business Platinum holders (and perhaps already does for those previously targeted for 5x airfare spend), you might be […]
This can be done if you have a business platinum and a personal platinum. You do not need to use your business platinum in order to get the 50% back you just need to have it linked to the MR account. There was a reddit thread on this awhile ago and I’ve done it myself; charge the flight to the personal and you get 4x and the rebate through Amex travel. This isn’t a glitch according to the reddit thread.
Great to know, thanks! That suggests that this really will work with just the Platinum Biz card as of March 30th. Very good news.
saw that reddit post too. hopefully amex does not put a stop to this. I doubt they will do as it forces you to book through them rather than directly with the airline.
But that $1000 annual fee for keeping both platinum cards is hefty when there is such overlap between their benefits.
With a minimum of $400 in airline credits though.
Shut down as of today! http://www.derpreport.com/?p=3086 Was told I need to chose the Biz Plat for the 50% from now on. Mind you, it had worked 3 times before!
looks like it still works, but you got to wait 31 days for the bonus to hit!
So, just to confirm, you mean that it still works when you pay with points from your personal Platinum card when you also have a business Platinum?
Yup, pay with points, choose personal plat, linked biz will get you 35% after 31 days, then 5x on personal, 2 weeks later you get your missing 15% if you were grandfathered in!