The Amex Business Platinum awesome 1 time exception

 

Update: This post references an American Express Business Platinum benefit that has changed. As of June 1, 2017, the pay-with-points rebate has changed to 35% for your chosen airline or any airline in business or first class. Additionally, there is a cap of 500,000 rebated points annually.

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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47 Comments on "The Amex Business Platinum awesome 1 time exception"

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Rob
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Shouldn’t that be $1,218.80 in travel? Two tix valued at $609.40 each for 43,483 points.

meathead
Guest

Yes, however, he used a companion certificate, so that wouldn’t always be available in every situation.

EL
Guest

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?

John
Guest

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.

JustSaying
Guest

Or just that you got 2 domestic First Class tickets for 43k.

Amol
Guest

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.

trackback

[…] 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! […]

trackback

[…] The Amex Business Platinum awesome 1 time exception by Frequent Miler. It’s always worth asking. It’s interesting that they did it for more than one flight as well, I wonder if there is a hard cash/points limit they’d go up to as well? […]

Darlene
Guest

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!

NinjaX
Guest

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.

NinjaX
Guest

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!

Nuno
Guest

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.

trackback

[…] long ago, I wrote about how Amex offers cardholders a 1 time exception to the rule that you must pay with points through Amex Travel to get this benefit.  In order to […]

Ryan
Guest

This “new” benefit probably doesn’t cost Amex anything unless they are up-charging their tickets on their website, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I mean they will get the service charge and fee from the vendor regardless, and the incentive I guess for Amex to have offered the 50% rebate in the first place would be to start reducing their “debt” obligations in the form of MRs to their consumers, which would still happen this way. Winning all around! Just my speculation.

Mike B
Guest

Well I guess this one-time benefit is now over too. I just called to have them retroactively apply MR points to a reservation that I made through Delta with the expectation of receiving the one-time exception of having the 35% points rebate. My situation was identical to Greg’s (companion ticket, put the charge on my AMEX Biz Platinum). They rep confirmed twice with membership rewards that he could apply my MR points to cover the cost, but I would NOT receive the 35% rebated points back.

trackback

[…] account), meaning that you are not going to be able to use the pay-with-points rebate (unless you get a 1-time exception, but I would doubt that at this point). If you’re looking at flights towards the end of the […]

Mary
Guest

Points had not posted for exception received on 8/29. Called today and asked about it. She posted the 50% points manually, but said it was one time exception for the life of the card. Hopefully, others have had different results.

Jason
Guest

Just tried to do this and was denied, they said I could redeem at 1cent/MR but that I wouldnt get the 35% back and also coded it differently than the above – using “Consumer Travel Adj” and not “Point for Amex Trvl” Any recent luck?