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.

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.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Aside from the up to 100,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

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More Things to Know
  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$595
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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