The Amex Business Platinum awesome 1 time exception

Amex Business Platinum 50pct Point Rebate

Last year, Amex introduced an awesome new benefit for Amex Business Platinum cardholders: Get a 50% rebate when you pay with points for airfare with your selected airline, and when you pay with points for business or first class with any airline.  The 50% rebate means that points are worth 2 cents each when used this way (the old 30% points rebate led to ~1.43 cents per point value).  All you have to do to take advantage of this benefit is to book through Amex Travel.

Sometimes, though, booking through Amex Travel isn’t an option.  For example, I recently used my Delta Reserve card’s annual companion certificate to book two first class tickets for the price of one.  The price for the first ticket was $609.40.  The second passenger was charged just $28.40 in fees.  To use the companion certificate, I had to book through Delta.  I paid with my Business Platinum card.

Amex Biz Platinum Delta Charges

I didn’t know if it would work, but I waited until the charge was no longer pending then called Amex to ask if I could retroactively pay with points and get the 50% point rebate.  I was told “probably not”, but was transferred to the Membership Rewards department.  The very nice woman who took the call told me that you generally must book through Amex Travel, but that they offer a one time exception.

She looked at my account and saw not only the $609.40 charge, but also a $260.26 Delta charge (which happens to be an award booking fee).  She offered to offset both of those charges with points at 1 cent per point, and she promised that I would receive the 50% point rebate.  Sure enough, I did:

Amex Biz Platinum 50pct Rebate

The point rebate showed up immediately, but (despite the date listed below), the statement credits took two days to appear.  Not surprisingly, the $28.40 in fees for the companion were reimbursed by the Platinum card’s $200 per year airline fee reimbursement:

Amex Biz Platinum Pay with Points

I love that Amex is so accommodating with things like this!  Not counting the airline fee reimbursement, I just paid a net total of 43,483 points for $869.66 worth of travel.  That’s a great deal.

Economy flights on a non-preferred airline

I bet that it is common for people to use points to book economy flights through Amex travel with the expectation that they’ll get the 50% rebate even when they book a non-preferred airline.  After all, it’s easy to forget the somewhat complicated details of this point rebate benefit: you can get the rebate with any airline as long as you book business or first class, but only for your preferred airline when you book economy.

So, my guess is that this one time exception was created for the scenario where a person books economy with an airline other than their selected preferred airline.

Reader experiences

I’m interested in hearing from readers about this.  Have you tried to get an exception for the 50% rebate rule?  If so, how did it go?  Please comment below.  (hey, that rhymes!)

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Pingbacks

  1. […] Frequent Miler got a ‘one-time exception’ to retroactively ‘pay with points’ for a ticket he had purchased from Delta directly and not through Amex Travel using his Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. That way he got an effective value of 2 cents a point paying for a ticket where he had already used a companion certificate from his Delta co-brand card. Generous! […]

Comments

  1. I have been using Amex travel to search and book flights recently and this post is particularity interesting because Amex Travel often does not have the same inventory as say, Delta. For example, the itinerary I was looking at did not offer first/business class availability for Delta on Amex Travel while it was showing up Delta dotcom. Additionally, the prices for various airlines tend to be different as well.

    My question is, how do you get the rebate when you clearly paid with cash as opposed to points? Does this benefit apply when you pay with cash too via Amex Travel? I thought it was on a 50% on “pay with points” on designated airline/all first/biz fares?

    • I think you have to read the article. He paid with his credit card, then called and asked if he could retroactively apply points to offset the charges. They agreed to make this exception.

      To me, the real story here is not about points, or Amex Travel site, or Delta site … it is a story about an exceptional customer service experience.

    • The way you’re supposed to get the 50% bonus is to book online through Amex Travel and select to pay with points, or to call the Business Platinum Travel Service at 1-800-553-9497 and tell them you want to pay with points. If you can’t find the flights / rates you want online, you should try calling.

      If all of the above fails and you have to book directly, then make sure to pay with your Amex Business Platinum card. You can then call Amex after the fact to get this one time exception. They’ll then take your points and reimburse the charge.

      • I would NOT interpret your story as finding a guaranteed one-time benefit. The term “exception” implies this does not usually happen. If you spin this differently, it may be taken as encouragement for abuse. AmEx can and will shut down Plat accounts or conduct FR, and it would be partially your fault.

        • Quote: “I was told “probably not”, but was transferred to the Membership Rewards department. The very nice woman who took the call told me that you generally must book through Amex Travel, but that they offer a one time exception.”

        • The first person wasn’t in the Membership Rewards department, so she didn’t know about the exception. The second person didn’t say that she would make a one time exception for me… she said that they offer a one time exception. It seemed clear that it was policy.

        • Lol. New FR trigger, “booking tickets on sites other than amex travel and getting pay with points benefit”.

          Amex FR is solely done if you’re considered to be a potential credit risk. It’s done for no other reason, including punishing for abuse. Saying otherwise implies an ignorance which would disqualify one from making statements here about what amex will do.

  2. Do you still have a personal platinum card? I’m about to call to cancel mine since the annual fee just posted and I’m good with just a Biz Plat, but I wonder if you could pay with your personal platinum card to get 5X points and use the Biz Plat to get the 50% rebate.

  3. Your post was a day too late for me. I went on the amex travel website to book my trip & realized the airline wasn’t my preferred airline and I was getting coach seats. Booked it with a different credit card on the airline’s website. How clever of you to try for an exception. I look forward to meeting you at the Seattle FTU soon!

  4. hey greg, i hope you get a post talking in more detail about the Delta Reserve’s annual companion certificate to book two first class tickets for the price of one. while it was been covered, it has not been analyzed in detail as its considered a “bad deal” like the Plat companion pass. obviously there are sweet spots. would like to see a deep analysis with your skills since its a revenue fare vs pts (although you just showed us an amazing “exception loophole” which allowed you to stack DR comp pass and pay via MR pts + 50% rebate – WOW). i just hope this loophole is not exploited then closed later. then i will blame you greg. haha.

    • Forgot to mention 2 things:

      1) How did you use the companion certificate but paid with the Business Platinum card? thought thats not allowed? i guess the cert is on the delta account and the delta CC doesnt have to be used? similar to Alaska?

      2) saw your delta reserve CC analysis post but its from 2014. not sure how much has changed but maybe you can add more detail on the comp pass section

      thank you greg!

  5. Just spoke to AMEX travel agent and she says that I could pay for a flight with my Business Plat card and retrospectively call and ask AMEX to apply points as payment, provided I did so before the billing cycle closed. She didn’t even mention it would only be a 1-time exception.

  6. UPDATE: The “one time exception” worked again!

    I did the same thing:
    1. I booked a Delta companion ticket through Delta.com
    2. I waited for the charge to appear on my account (no longer pending)
    3. I called and asked to speak to Membership Rewards
    4. Without hesitation they applied the points and the 50% rebate!

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