Amex Spokesperson Confirms New Amex Platinum Airfare Bonus

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Earlier I posted about how American Express confirmed on Twitter that The Platinum Card® from American Express will offer 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines as of October 6, 2016. For a couple of weeks now we’ve been hearing rumors of changes coming to the card, so this enhancement on everyday spend came as a welcome change.

However, American Express quickly denied their statement in a follow-up Tweet, suggesting that this was in fact an “old offer.” It sure sounded to me like this was the case of someone releasing information too early, rather than the information being wrong, given that there had been rumors of positive changes for a while.

Well, it looks like American Express has now officially officially confirmed, through a spokesperson, that this benefit is coming to the card. Per the Associated Press:

As of Thursday, AmEx Platinum Card users will earn five points for every dollar spent directly with airlines or on AmEx’s travel website, a spokeswoman said, up from the current one point per dollar earned on airfare. The company wanted to improve the program ahead of the busy holiday travel season. The reward changes will be automatic and apply to all Platinum Card holders, the spokeswoman said.

That’s great news! It now seems pretty certain that Amex will be making changes to their existing Platinum Card, rather than introducing a new product altogether.

What remains to be seen is whether they’ll be making any other changes to The Platinum Card® from American Express, or if this is it.

Regardless, all of my airfare spend will be going on this card in the future.

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  1. There’s so many salty people commenting on your blog these days. Thanks for doing the footwork. I take your reports and posts for granted until I read some of the other blogs.

  2. As someone else noted on the previous post, this negates the Delta AMEX card for spend on travel.

    They need to offer more if they’re trying to compete with the CSR. Still not enough incentive IMO.

  3. Good call on Amex to incentivize some spend. Now I have to decide when I fly United from IAH, my hub, if I want to get points on Amex or use my United Presidential Plus and get Boarding Group 2.

  4. Presumably this means 5x for Lifemiles or AA miles purchases since both are processed by the airline?

  5. If only airline (not even ‘travel’ in general) spend will earn 5x/$, then this would be a clear weakness compared to the CSR, which awards 3x/$ for broadly defined categories of “travel” and “dining”, allowing one to earn WITHIN THE SAME DENOMINATION 3x/$ across a wide range of purchases, many of which are part of one’s normal routine, for faster build up of points.

    I am not impressed at all by what I have heard so far about what AMEX is planning. I already have the Business Platinum card so that whatever change they make to it I will get automatically and then be able decide whether or not it would be compatible with my travel pattern.

    So far, the CSR reigns supreme.

  6. Let’s do the math. 5x points for flights compared to CSR’s 3x. That’s a net of 2 points extra per dollar. How much airline spend would it take to justify the $450 annual fee? Or more accurately yet the $250 differential after the $200 annual credit?

    I’d wager to say 20,000 points would be decent for $250, meaning this spend makes sense if you’re spending north of $10,000 on airfare per year.

    I hope Amex sweetens the offer because most of us won’t be spending that much. Plus, Chase points are more lucrative than their Amex counterparts.

  7. @lucky to the extent you asked the questions:

    Any news on whether this will be replicated in other geographical markets (e.g. Canada)?

    Also interested in hearing if this will apply to business cards or not!

  8. Amex recently lost a boatload of costumers with its recent clawback of points, myself included. Luckily I closed my Platinum before Sept 1 and got almost my whole annual fee back.

  9. I’d honestly rather more categories, but I’ll take what I can get. I’ve been seriously considering dropping the card because between the Prestige and the CSR, it’s hard to justify spending $1500 on 3 credit cards… In a vacuum it’s easy to justify the Prestige, b/c I often get more than $450 value out of a single use of 4th night free benefit. Similarly the CSR is great because it pairs well with many free cards and with a 100k bonus, it’s clearly worth signing up for and holding the first year (I’ll probably downgrade to CSP though after year 1). The Amex is harder to justify in a vacuum where you’re likely to be holding on to other premium cards.

    If they added Alaska as a transfer partner and/or ran more frequent transfer bonuses to useful airlines (AC/DL/etc), it’d be a bit easier to justify. Also, they could add a special Amex-SPG ratio of maybe 2:3 for Plat card holders that would make the card VERY valuable. I often have trouble trying to figure out how to spend my 7 digit Amex balance because there’s so few good hotel options, but with a reasonable transfer ratio to SPG, it’d become a lot easier.

  10. Not sure extra 2 points per dollar over CSR, Citi Premier, or Citi Prestige is worth losing the travel delay benefits offered by those cards and not AMEX Plat.

  11. Meh. If they match the CSR with 3x dining, I’m interested, but for my spending patterns, 5x airfare isn’t worth it.

  12. According to the AP story on this AMEX “enhancement” of their Biz Plat card:

    “AmEx Platinum Card users starting Thursday will earn five points for every dollar spent DIRECTLY [not even at site’s like Orbitz] with any AIRLINE or on ** AmEx’s ** TRAVEL WEBSITE.”

    The 5x seems to me to be too category- and domain-restricted to make this card anywhere near as rewarding as the CSR. At best, one would wind up with enough AMEX MR points for a domestic economy ticket every year, unless one is a road warrior. This won’t be for everyone and that may be intentional…

  13. Not competitive w CSR although the 5x at least shows they are trying. A select group will be happy but for the rest that spend maybe a couple of thousand a year (usually less even) the benefit is small. I really do like the centurion lounge but is that enough to keep me with a $450 af when I’m also carrying the CSR?

    It almost feels like if this is the punchline to a long joke then sorry amex I’m not laughing. I expected more than 5x airline for you to get competitive with the CSR.

  14. Lucky, since one of your later posts said this new program applies only to the Personal AMEX Platinum card, does that mean it includes the co-branded Schwab Personal AMEX Platinum card too? Please advise. Thank you,

  15. If the change applies only to the personal Platinum card then this would definitely be a much lower product than the CSR, which no such restrictions, although one can understand why AMEX would restrict it only to the personal Plat card: businesses would do much bigger volume purchasing and earn such numbers of points that the gig would not be very profitable for AMEX…

  16. They lost the Costco card contract.

    They’re about to lose SPG to Marriott which has a contract with Chase.

    Speaking of Chase the CSR is way more dynamic with the bonus categories.

    AMEX is a sinking ship.

  17. My only question is whether that will be a global change, or simply a US perk.

    We already pay more (450 GBP is 30% more these days), get less points (1 per GBP spent), so yes that would be great.

  18. I was offered $200 (or 25k MR points) to retain my Amex Plat. when I called them to cancel the card. I opted for the straight cash retention offer since I don’t know how (and when) I’ll utilize those extra MR points for advantage. Whether that was the right choice is neither here nor there at this stage. I told the rep that CSR is on market with significantly better benefits. He agreed, and advised me that 5x airfare is “step one” of many changes to come in the next few months. Let’s see what that means. In the meantime, I’m still in a quandary about whether to go ahead and get the CSR and the Amex EDP to maximize everyday spend. I’ve been doing a major disservice to myself by putting all of my spend on Amex Plat. all of these years and my dining on BA Visa which I opened up early 2015 to get bonus Avios. I’m new to this points game and wasn’t wise about this!

  19. What’s strange is I haven’t received one email from Amex. Not one. So only blog readers or people who randomly call will be informed of this. Can’t say I’m surprised by this. Also why make the changes in waves other than to drag out a few more annual fees. This makes no sense especially given how the perks have widdled away over the years. They are subpar in every way right now compared to the prestige or csr as it relates to earnings, redemptions, priority pass, travel protection, travel credit etc. honestly their hotel status upgrades are one of the few perks even keeping them in the conversation outside of the their always crowded centurion lounges which are few and far between.

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