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I have a new favorite way of using points for free domestic travel, thanks to the new 50% point rebate benefit from the Business Platinum® card from American Express.
Back in October, in response to the frenzy and competition bought by Chase Sapphire Reserve card, American Express announced some new benefits on its Platinum cards, including 5x earning on airfare booked directly with airlines when using the personal platinum cards, as well as two new benefits on the business platinum card. What caught my attention was the new rebate benefit: receiving 50% points back when you use the business platinum to book any class ticket with your airline of choice, or first or business class ticket with any airline through American Express Travel and pay with membership reward points. This new benefit essentially makes membership reward points worth 2 cents per point.
I have a good amount of Membership Reward points that I have accumulated over the past few years. During the summer I signed up for the Business Gold card with the 75,000-point offer which did not include the “once-in-a-lifetime” language (I previously had this card). Shortly after the new benefit announced for the platinum cards, I received an offer to upgrade my Business Gold card to the Business Platinum card for 50,000 points. After holding off for a month, I took the offer knowing that someday I would be able to take advantage of the new benefit. I just didn’t know that day came very fast.
I have been tracking one particular transcontinental flight from San Francisco to New York on Delta for next summer. My daughter will be in New York with her cousins on the day she turns 18. I have not missed any of her birthday the past 17 years and I don’t plan to miss this one either either. I decided that the rest of the family would just show up the morning of her birthday and surprise her! (PWaC: I hope she isn’t reading this post then! :-D) Delta has plenty award seats available at the saver level of 12,500 miles per person. But booking an award ticket means I would not earn any elite qualifying miles. Unable to make up my mind, I decided to wait it out as cash fare had been relatively stable around $169-$200.
Then one Saturday night I got a notification from Google Flights (a wonderful tool for tracking fares) that the price has dropped to $148 for that particular flight! So I quickly got onto my computer and chose Delta as my airline of choice for my new business platinum card.
I purchased four tickets and paid with Membership Reward points in full. Up till this point, I have no idea how pay-with-points and the 50% rebate work as I have never purchased any airfare through American Express. But as it turns out, everything went smoothly and painlessly.
My business platinum card was charged for four tickets and then a credit was posted back to the account for the total costs.
The full amount of points for the four tickets where deducted from my membership reward account immediately. But 50% of the points used were credited back to the balance the next day!
The reservation automatically showed up in my Skymile account when I logged onto Delta website. Somehow it wouldn’t let me pick preferred seats that were available only to Delta Elites. One quick phone call to Delta fixed that problem. Instead of spending 12,500 Delta Skymiles per ticket, I spent a mere 7,405 membership reward points per ticket and saved a total of 20,380 miles for the four of us. On top of that, I get to earn elite qualifying miles for the flight!
The booking process is simple and the saving is definitely real! I am loving the new rebate benefit of the new business platinum card! For peak travel dates such as holidays where award seats are often unavailable, this benefit could become very valuable! But you do have to choose your airline wisely as you can only change it annually during the month of January.
Are you able to use this new benefits of the Business Platinum® card to your advantage?