Brex Launches Travel Portal, Offers 4x Points on All Bookings
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Beginning July 30, 2019, Brex Rewards now includes the ability to transfer points to six airline partners, making Brex points significantly more valuable. This comes on top of Brex issuing World Elite Mastercards for all its customers starting in February. Read our story for more information on the new transfer partners along with a special sign-up bonus, and find more info on the card's World Elite Mastercard benefits here.
In case you missed it, there's a new business rewards program on the block, designed specifically for startups and early-stage companies. The newly launched Brex Exclusive rewards program offers Brex card holders up to 7 points per dollar spent along with discounts and credits at participating vendors. Today, the issuer is introducing two new features to make its rewards program even more competitive.
The first enhancement is the launch of the issuer's own travel portal, Brex Travel, developed in partnership with TravelBank. With the travel portal, card holders can book flights or accommodations using their Brex card or points (more on that later). What sets Brex Travel apart from, let's say, Chase or American Express' travel portals is the inventory it has access to. Brex card holders can book flights on all major airlines, including ones like Southwest which ordinarily aren't bookable through OTAs, as well as stays at any Airbnb property worldwide. Card holders also get up to 60% off hotel stays thanks to negotiated rates which usually only large companies can get and 24/7 access to a team of corporate travel agents who can help with any travel emergency.
The second (and possibly more exciting) piece of news is that Brex is upgrading its travel earning category from 3x points to 4x points. Card holders must now book through Brex's portal in order to get bonus points for travel, but considering that there are no fees to book through the portal and there are many useful travel management features, I can't think of any drawbacks for doing so. The card's other bonus earning categories will remain unchanged, including 7x on ride shares and taxis, 3x on restaurants and 2x on recurring software/SAAS.
As previously mentioned, Brex card holders are able to redeem their points toward travel booked through the new portal. However, points maintain the same fixed value of 1 cent apiece that you get when redeeming them for cash back. For that reason, you'd be much better off paying for travel booked through the portal outright, earning 4x points and then redeeming the points toward erasing a general purchase that earned just 1x points. I wish Brex would add incentive for redeeming points through the portal. For example, holders of the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card can redeem their points at a fixed value of 1.25 cents apiece when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Center.
Brex tells us that although it's considering transfer partners, we shouldn't expect them in the near future; it believes that businesses are unlikely to go through the hurdle of transferring points to book travel.
While not industry-changing by any means, additional card benefits and earning opportunities are always welcome. The change from 3x points on all travel to 4x points on travel booked through Brex's portal should be overall positive for Brex card holders considering how extensive the inventory of the portal is and that most startups and small businesses book their travel on their own anyway (as opposed to through a travel manager).