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
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- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- 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® program at over 1,000 properties. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 in statement credits 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®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
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