Tip: Know When You’ll Get 5x Points for Airfare on Amex Platinum Cards
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The American Express Platinum cards — The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — provide excellent membership benefits as well as strong earnings on some travel purchases. Airfare is one of the spending categories where you can earn 5x Membership Rewards points, which equates to a return of 10% based on TPG’s latest valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each.
However, what’s sometimes overlooked is exactly when you’ll earn those 5x points on airfare with each card. Here’s how the earning on airfare purchases breaks down for each of the two Platinum cards:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 5x points on purchases of scheduled flights made directly with a passenger airline or through American Express Travel (via the phone by calling 1-800-525-3355 or online via amextravel.com)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 5x points on purchases of scheduled flights ONLY when booking through American Express Travel
One important exception I learned the hard way is that you won’t earn 5x points when paying the fare difference if you try and change a ticket booked through Amex Travel. I had booked a Cathay Pacific business class flight from Malé (MLE) to Shanghai (PVG), but due to the coronavirus outbreak I decided to re-route my trip to Taipei (TPE) instead. The change fee was waived, but I was on the hook for the ~$260 fare difference. I paid for it with my Business Platinum card, assuming it would earn 5x points, but when I checked my statement I’d only earned 1x. I called Amex Travel who explained this niche exception, and agreed to make a one-time adjustment on my behalf.
Note that you can’t earn those valuable 5x Membership Rewards points with the Business Platinum Card if you book directly with the airline. However, if you have the personal card, you have more flexibility with your airfare purchases and when you’ll earn the 5x points.
Keep in mind the difference when thinking about which card to apply for and which better fits your (or your company’s) spending patterns. If you have both cards in your wallet, pay attention when booking airfare — be sure to use the personal card if you’re purchasing directly with the airline, as the earning each Platinum card offers isn’t equal.
In addition to these strong bonus categories, the Platinum card family got a serious boost on January 1, 2020, when they added a long overdue set of travel insurance benefits and protections. You can read the sample benefits guides for the full terms, but some of the highlights include:
- Trip cancellation and interruption insurance (up to $10,000 per trip)
- Trip delay insurance (up to $500 per trip, after a six hour delay for a covered reason)
- Extended warranty and purchase protection
- Which Card Is Right for You? Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum
- Credit Card Review: The Platinum Card From American Express
- Credit Card Review: The Business Platinum Card From American Express
- 10 Things to Do When You Get Amex Platinum
- 8 Things To Do When You Get the American Express Business Platinum Card
- Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 4/1/2020.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
- New! Get ready for your next trip - spend $10,000 in purchases on your card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to get you there sooner.
- Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
- Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees