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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.
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. Fortunately, the issuer isn’t imposing a cap on 5x earnings, so you’ll be able to get the bonus points on all qualifying airfare purchases! Just note that while this update is now confirmed, it won’t go into effect until October 6.
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.
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.
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The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at Marriott and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,200 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy 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 with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees