AMEX Business Platinum 50 Percent Points Rebate on Airfare Worth It?

AMEX Business Platinum 50% Points Rebate on Airfare Worth It?


The new 100K AMEX Business Platinum offers a couple new benefits over the old version of the card, including a 50% points rebate when redeeming points for economy class of the airline you select for your $200 airline fee credit, and a 50% points rebate when redeeming points for business or first class of any airline. But is this benefit worth it?

Pay with Points Usually a Terrible Deal

One of the worst uses of AMEX Membership Rewards points is Pay with Points, because you generally are redeeming at 1 cent per point. You may as well be using a 2% cash back card, or the no annual fee Chase Freedom to earn 5X or 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories.


AMEX Business Platinum 50% Points Rebate = 2 Cents Per Point + Frequent Flyer Miles 

While I'm also loath to redeem AMEX Membership Rewards points at a value of only 2 cents per point, it's decent for many people who have limited flexibility for their travel dates, since it enables them to buy tickets for the exact dates they want to travel. They earn frequent flyer miles on the tickets, and the 50% points rebate they later receive means they're effectively redeeming each AMEX Membership Rewards points at 2 cents per point.


An Example: Singapore Airlines Economy LAX to Tokyo for $496 = 24,800 Points

Here's an example of a well-priced American Airlines Airlines Economy roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles LAX to Tokyo NRT for $466, which Dan pointed out.

You could either pay cash for the ticket or use an AMEX Business Platinum to redeem 46,626 AMEX Membership Rewards points for the ticket, then get 50% of those points back (so 23,313 AMEX Membership Rewards points), effectively redeeming points at 2 cents per point. 

A regular non-elite AAdvantage member earns 5X the fare cost, so in this case, 5 x 466 = 2330 AAdvantage miles. A top-tier Executive Platinum elite would earn 11 x 466 = 5126 for this trip.

AMEX Business Platinum 50% Points Rebate on Airfare


Alternatively, although this won't qualify for a 50% rebate since Singapore Airlines can't be selected for the AMEX airline incidental credit, there's a $496 Singapore Economy fare, and I personally would pick Singapore Economy over AA Economy any day.

Since the fare is in discount fare class “V” the ticket only earns 10% of the miles flown for Singapore KrisFlyer, or roughly 1090 miles for LAX-NRT-LAX.

Alternatively, a United MileagePlus non-elite earns 5X the fare cost, so in this case, 5 x 496 = 2480 United MileagePlus miles.



Is the 50% Points Rebate Also Available with the Personal AMEX Platinum?

No; the personal AMEX Platinum instead has the new benefit of earning 5X on airfare purchased directly with airlines; see AMEX Platinum: 5X on Airlines from October 6.


When Does the 50% Points Rebate Post to My AMEX Membership Rewards Account?

AMEX refers to the 50% points rebate as bonus points. Per AMEX terms, “Extra points will be credited to your Membership Rewards account approximately 6-10 weeks after charges appear on your billing statement.”

What About the 50% Points Bonus / Rebate for Business or First Class?

Given the cost of first class and business class airfare, it usually won't make sense to redeem that many AMEX Membership Rewards points for these tickets, or you may not even have sufficient points to even have that redemption option. That said, there are sometimes well-priced first class or business class tickets that could make sense. Just keep in mind that AMEX Travel doesn't always have access to the lowest fares you can find with the airline directly.

Have you earned a 50% Membership Rewards points rebate/bonus on AMEX points redeemed for airfare, using your AMEX Business Platinum card?

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