Bad News: The Amex Business Platinum Card 50% “Pay With Points” Rebate Is Being Cut

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Wow, this is disappointing. Last October, American Express announced some major changes to both The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express. Specifically:

  • The Amex Personal Platinum Card offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines or through Amex Travel.
  • The Amex Business Platinum Card offers a 50% refund on Pay With Points redemptions, when redeeming on your designated airline in economy, or on any airline in first or business class. Pay With Points ordinarily gets you one cent of value per point, meaning that you’re getting two cents of value after the refund.

On top of that, even more changes were recently made to the personal Amex Platinum Card.

Anyway, one of the fantastic benefits of the Amex Business Platinum Card that I’ve been loving is the 50% rebate when using the Pay With Points option, which has essentially been an opportunity to get two cents of value per Membership Rewards point. For example, in conjunction with The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, this has been an opportunity to get up to a 3% return on my base spend.

I recently shared my experience taking advantage of this great benefit to book first class tickets to Hawaii, a market where first class award seats can otherwise be tough to come by.

Amex-1

Even though this benefit was just introduced several months ago, it’s already being cut. Per The Points Guy, as of June 1, 2017, major changes are being made to the Amex Business Platinum Card Pay With Points feature:

  • The Amex Business Platinum Card Pay With Points benefit will be reduced from a 50% refund to a 35% refund (meaning you’re getting ~1.54 cents per point of value, rather than 2 cents per point)
  • There will be a cap of 500,000 rebated points per year
  • The rebate is already taking 6-10 weeks to post, rather than just a day, as was the case before

It’s reported that this benefit was extremely popular, and that “it simply isn’t possible to continue offering such a rich return.”

There’s no doubt this was extremely generous, though it’s also bizarre to me that they’d introduce the benefit (which people are using exactly as intended), and then take it away just months later. This was a very straightforward benefit, so I’m not sure what exactly they’re surprised by.

I’ll be very sad to see this benefit discontinued. I guess I’ll be redeeming as many points as possible using the Pay With Points feature in the next month or so.

Did you ever take advantage of the Pay With Points 50% rebate?

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Comments

  1. I was going to get this card for this exact purpose. I guess I will stick with the regular Amex Platinum card I already have.

  2. My guess is that a small number of people were (rightfully) using this lesser known benefit on a frequent basis, and that Amex would rather pool the cost of this benefit into something less valuable but used by a greater number of customers?

  3. I wish Amex would bring back trip cancellation/delay coverage to its premium cards. I can’t get the Chase Sapphire reserve or preferred because of 5/24 so I have no cards with this kind of coverage on it.

  4. @bluedevil

    The Citi Prestige offers the best trip protections of all the premium cards as it kicks in at just 3hrs. I’ve used it a few times, it’s gotten easier recently, it used to be a PITA to use before. I wish Amex would offer similar so I could take advantage of the 5x on airfare, but I’d rather have 3x TYP and the peace of mind that my trip is protected.

  5. This just convinced me not to spend on any membership rewards points card for the forseeable future. And they wonder why Chase is eating their lunch

  6. SOOOO Disappointed about this. This news for me is worse than any devaluation. I put all my spending with Amex because of this benefit. The future of saver award tickets is not good, I honestly believed this was the future of spending points for travel. I’ll go back to splitting my charges with Chase and Citi. Very upset

  7. @bludevil If you are interested in trip cancellation/delay coverage, then I suggest Citi Prestige is the best card. No one comes close to it.

  8. Can they cut the benefit within the first card member year? I thought there was regulation against that since people are taking a hard pull (negatively affecting credit scores) only for them to have the benefit pulled months later before ever getting to use it.

    Also, how much of cheap asses has Amex turned into:

    1. Uber credit has to be used monthly or expires.
    2. $200 travel credit is difficult to use compared to the effortless process on the Citi prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve.
    2b. Limiting that you can only use the travel credit benefit on 1 airline.
    3. Upping the AF by $100 more than what its competitors are.
    4. MR points take forever to post.
    5. The “enhancements” they made only seem to benefit them and provide no true value to the customer (free worthless gold card for AU, 5x on hotel ONLY if booked through Amex travel which won’t get you elite perks for the stay, etc)

    I know there’s other annoyances with them too but these are the immediate things that come to mind.

    It’s frustrating that the way they seem to benefit is simply on people letting credits expire. Then when a solid way to use the points comes out they yank it months later.

  9. Literally got 2 cards just for this over the last 6 months. Better believe I’m cutting my spend way down on Amex.

    Between Prestige losing the AA bonus and Amex losing this, flexible points are getting screwed all around.

  10. FYI-I just called American Express to complain about this recent change. I was told that for existing cardholders, the 35% rebate would only begin at the end of their annual fee year. For example, if you had signed up in February, you would have until February to take advantage of the 50% rebate. While not ideal, at least it seems like they are giving more notice of this change than we previously thought. The 6/1 date is for new cards issued.

    That said, this is a very negative change and will probably lead me to be in the market for a new business credit card.

  11. At this point they need to align this benefit to the personal Plat card as well. This essentially puts it on par with the CSR 1.5 cent redemption rate other than it works as a rebate in this case.

  12. one day we all cut AMEX cards, send the shreds back to them & tell them this is an enhancement we customer give back to them.

  13. I’m amazed that companies continue to take any guesswork out of where my business is best held. AA is out due to poor redemption rates and outdated equipment. UA is out due to poor customer service and outdated equipment. AMEX is out due to cost to hold it and overcrowded lounges. Hotel loyalty doesn’t matter any more. Looks like Sapphire Reserve is the way to go.

    BTW, just got a call from my Chase banker, my $500 bonus for a new business checking account will post next Tuesday. Based on the terms of the offer I thought I’d hold it for 6 months and eat the $20/mo fee on the account…nope, my banker found a way around it. Because of his help on it I’ll keep the account open 7 months total and then close it, he isn’t then hit with an early closure penalty to the bonus he gets. Chase wins again.

  14. Lucky I know I give you a hard time for being a quasi bank employee but your reporting on this is way better than horrible TPG. That site almost tries to make this seem like a good thing

  15. I applied for this card specifically for that benefit and literally just had it delivered by UPS an hour ago. Ugh. How disappointing. At least I’ll get the 100k pts with only a $10k spend — but still trying not to think about the 150k offer I received in the mail also literally the day after I applied for the 100k offer. This is not a good way to start my amex biz platinum experience.

  16. Its not a “great benefit” – it merely put them at par with the likes of a Cap 1 Spark card at 2 point per $1 earned and then penny per point redemption. Seeya Amex!

  17. @ steve — What you’re missing is that you can earn at least 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on cards like the EveryDay Preferred, not accounting for any other category bonuses. That’s a return of at least 2%, which is much better than the two cent cards you’re referring to, in my opinion.

  18. Super disappointing. Was able to redeem for 5-6 flights using this card, but was definitely counting on doing much more.

    Lucky – am I right in saying that the card is still worth keeping even with the 500,000 MR cap? If you conservatively value those at $0.01, assuming you only have this card for the purpose of redemptions, thats a $5K return on a $550 (pro forma) fee, right?

  19. Just met the 15k spend for 100k MR — including eating a fee for a hefty 1040-ES payment. Very disappointing to see a devaluation so quickly.

  20. Thanks for heads up on this Lucky. I am travelling to Bogota in September. I looked at American and no Business Saver awards available.
    So looked at Amex travel and was able to get Business with Delta for $938 return from IAH and pay with points, I get 50% back, so net about 47,000 MR rewards points. WOW less than 1 way economy.

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