American Express Reducing Benefit for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

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American Express has been making quite a few adjustments to their premium credit cards lately to stay competitive as other banks rush to attract new customers and release their own version of high-value premium credit cards.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express has another major change coming to one of its best travel reward benefits: the 50% bonus earned when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points on American Express Travel for flights with your registered airline in economy class, or for any airline in business or first class.

Though this benefit will soon be reduced, it will still be honored for 1 year from the date of card issuance for those who apply between October 6, 2016 (when the benefit was added) and May 31, 2017.

On June 1, the 50% bonus will be reduced to earning a 35% points rebate, and it will have a cap of 500,000 points back per calendar year. You still have time to take advantage of this excellent travel benefit with no cap on the 50% points rebate for a full year if you apply for the card on or before May 31.

Remember, the airline you select for the economy class bonus has to be the same airline you select for your $200 airline fee credit, which cardmembers receive every calendar year.

Save on Checked Luggage Fees with Amex Platinum Benefit
This card offers an annual $200 airline credit that can be used on your selected airline for fees like checked luggage. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

It’s interesting to note that this card previously had a 30% rebate before October 6, 2016. With the increasing competition and press coverage of premium credit cards, (partly due to the rollout of the Chase Sapphire Reserve®), American Express probably wanted to drum up some buzz by increasing this bonus to 50%.

By offering 50% of points back, American Express increased the value of their Membership Rewards® points to 2 cents per point when using the Pay with Points option on your select airline.

It seems like the 50% airline bonus wasn’t sustainable for the long term, though. While it’s always disappointing when reward programs retract recently enhanced benefits, American Express is doing the right thing by giving plenty of notice for this change.

With 35% of points back, you’ll get a value of about 1.54 cents per point when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points, which is still better than some other new premium credit cards.

Bottom Line: American Express will be reducing the 50% airline bonus to 35% for business cardmembers starting June 1, 2017, with a rebate cap at 500,000 points. 

While some other premium credit cards automatically set a high value on their points when redeeming award tickets through their programs, remember the benefit from American Express functions as a rebate. This means you’ll actually need to have more points in your account than it will eventually cost to book.

American Express states that this bonus usually takes 6-10 weeks to post back to your account. Though at first the bonus points were credited quickly, recent data suggest that it actually takes the full estimated time to post.

Back in March, American Express announced other changes to this card. They increased the Membership Reward® points earned from 2X to 5X for all travel booked on American Express Travel, which includes airfare and hotels. This benefit will remain the same, along with the $450 annual fee.

The current welcome bonus offer for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express  is up to 75,000 points. Cardmembers can receive 50,0000 Membership Reward® points after making their first $10,000 in purchases, plus an extra 25,000 points for another $10,000 in purchases all within the first 3 months of account opening.

You will not be eligible for the bonus if you’ve received one on this same product before. However, you can still get the card or upgrade an existing business card from American Express to take advantage of the 50% airline bonus for qualifying point redemptions before the deadline.

Competition has been fierce in the premium credit card market lately and there are a number of business credit cards attempting to meet your company’s needs. We appreciate the enhanced benefits spreading throughout the travel credit card market, but programs need to consider how people are going to take advantage of these benefits and ensure the program is sustainable.

Such drastic changes occurring rapidly with some of these benefits can lead you to believe that reward programs aren’t accurately anticipating the popularity of some of these enhanced benefits. But with so many people becoming involved with the points world, it’s important for them to prepare for an increase in popularity!

Overall, the 50% bonus is a great benefit, especially if you enjoy the flexibility of using the Pay with Points option for booking award travel. We do appreciate the notice from American Express, and are happy to report that there is still time to lock in this amazing benefit if you apply or upgrade an existing card on or before May 31, 2017.


The Platinum Card® from American Express

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

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