Do premium economy flights qualify for the Amex Business Platinum’s 35% Pay With Points rebate?

Oct 10, 2019

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Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.

While you can generally get a better value transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points to partner airline, cardholders of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express can also enjoy a 35% rebate when they pay with their points for eligible flights through Amex Travel. TPG reader Ehsan wants to know how premium economy flights are classified for the purpose of this rebate …

I want to use my Business Platinum to pay with points for a flight and get the 35% rebate. If I’m booking a premium economy ticket, can that be on any airline or only my selected airline?

TPG READER EHSAN

Just like the annual airline incidental fee credits it offers, Amex’s policies here are slightly more confusing and restrictive than its competitors (namely the Chase Sapphire Reserve). Business Platinum cardholders can enjoy a 35% rebate when they use their points to pay for economy flights on their selected airline (the same airline you select for your up to $200 airline fee credit) or first- and business-class flights on any airline. You need to have the full amount of points in your account at the time of booking and the rebate (capped at 500,000 points per calendar year) should post in 6-10 weeks. Enrollment required for select benefits. 

Related: The ultimate guide to Amex Pay With Points

This Pay With Points feature is a great option to consider as it locks in a minimum redemption value of 1.54 cents per point and gives you the ability to book any flight with open seats, even if there isn’t award space available. The terms and conditions on the Business Platinum website clearly address how economy flights are limited to your selected airline while first- and business-class flights on any airline are eligible for the rebate, but they make no mention of premium economy, which is a relatively newer introduction in the world of commercial aviation.

I spoke to an Amex representative over the phone who quickly confirmed that premium economy and any flights except for business and first class face the same restriction as regular economy flights, meaning that you’ll only receive the rebate if you book them on your selected airline. This is rather unfortunate as Amex only allows you to select from nine airlines, all of which are based in the U.S. Many international airlines are now rolling out premium economy, often with better service than their American counterparts, but your Business Platinum Pay With Points rebate won’t help you here.

Bottom line

Given how many rules Amex has surrounding the use of some of its most valuable benefits, it’s important to do your homework thoroughly to avoid making an expensive mistake. When it comes to paying with points for premium economy flights, you’ll only receive the 35% rebate if your eligible flight is on your selected airline, effectively excluding international carriers.

Thanks for the question, Ehsan, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy.

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