Amex Platinum Cards to Offer Unlimited 5x on Airfare, and the Business Platinum Gets an Update

Oct 5, 2016

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Earlier today we reported that Amex would be adding a 5x bonus airfare category for “select cardmembers,” and it turns out we didn’t even have to wait until October 6 to find out exactly which cards are eligible. As many of us had guessed (and hoped), this 5x category for airfare purchased directly with the airline will be for The Platinum Card® from American Express along with all other versions of the consumer Amex Platinum card. Starting Jan. 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.

Amex has also clarified that in addition to earning 5x points on airfare purchased directly with the airline, Platinum cardholders will be able to earn 5x when they book airfare through Amex Travel. Just note that while this update is now confirmed, it won’t go into effect until October 6.

american airlines 757 business class
The Amex Platinum is now an obvious pick for airfare purchases.

This is great news, as it makes the Amex Platinum significantly more competitive with other premium travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. It could be a lot easier to justify the Platinum’s $550 annual fee (see rates & fees) now that you’ll earn more than just 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar on airfare — in fact, the card’s 5x earning rate equals a return of 10% based on TPG’s valuations, which is even better than the Reserve’s 6% return.

With this change, the Amex Platinum card’s effectively going from a card that’s possibly worth the high fee if you can maximize Centurion Lounge access and other benefits to one that’s a no-brainer if you frequently purchase airfare and can get where you need to go with the Membership Rewards program’s selection of airline transfer partners.

Updates to the Amex Business Platinum

That’s not all the news, though. Amex has also updated The Business Platinum Card® from American Express with an increased earning opportunity. Now, you can get 1.5x points (equal to a 3% return based on TPG’s valuations) on purchases over $5,000. If you often make significant purchases for your business, it’s nice to know that you’ll enjoy 50% more points as a reward.

Plus, as of March 2017, the Business Platinum offers 5x points on airfare — however, unlike with the personal Amex Platinum, this is only for airfare purchased through Amex Travel.

Amex will also offer 35% points back (as of July 2017) when card holders redeem for a flight through Amex Travel. Note that you’ll only be able to earn a 35% points rebate when you make a purchase with your selected airline, and when you purchase a business- or first-class ticket with any airline.

Bottom Line

By adding a 5x airfare category to its premium Platinum cards and updating the Business Platinum card to feature a 1.5x category, Amex is adding some real value. We’ve long bemoaned the lack of bonus categories on the Amex Platinum, and 5 points per dollar isn’t merely a step in the right direction; it makes this card an obvious choice for airfare purchases. And while the new ability to earn 1.5x points on purchases over $5,000 with the Business Platinum isn’t as revolutionary, it still shows that the issuer knows how important category bonuses can be to cardholders.

Will you be using the Amex Platinum to earn 5x points on airfare?

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, click here.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
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Annual Fee
$550
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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