Looks Like Amex May Be Introducing 5X on Airfare!

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Update: Amex is now walking this back. So file this as “unconfirmed at this point” — we’ll see what news they release soon!

Via @IadisGr8 earlier today, there’s been some discussion on the MyFico Forums that American Express would introduce earning 5 points per dollar on airfare to the Platinum Card by American Express.

Just spoke to an AMEX rep who said changes to Platinum card effective Oct 6th will include:
5x points on airfare booked directly with the airline, with Platinum travel services, or on their travel website.

This sounded a bit like one of those new airline route rumors sourced to a flight attendant, but it looks like it could be reasonably good information (although we don’t yet have all the details). Here’s @AskAmex on Twitter:

They do not actually say here which card(s) the new points-earning will apply to, but recent competition has been strongest in the premium card space.

The Platinum Card by American Express is great for benefits but weak for spending.

  • While Membership Rewards are among the most valuable points, because of their transfers to a variety of different airlines

  • The Platinum card doesn’t currently offer bonus categories, just one point per dollar, when the Premier Rewards Gold Card earns 3 points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points per dollar at US gas stations, US supermarkets, and US restaurants.

Nonetheless, the Platinum Card is great for lounge access — Delta when flying the airline same day, American Express’ Centurion lounges, and 900 Priority Pass-participating lounges, including over 40 in the U.S..

The card also comes with Hilton Gold and Starwood Gold status as well as National Car Rental Executive status.

Although I’d love other competitive advances as well, if they add in 5 points per dollar on airfare spend with US airlines and that’ll make the card a killer app for business travelers who buy their own tickets for sure.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Yea, if that was the big announcement we were waiting on it’s good but not what I had hoped for. Why bother to keep the Biz Gold now. Looks like they are trying to get folks to migrate over to the higher fee card (which is ok with the credits), but not as exciting as increasing bonus categories across the board.

  2. @lopere – I don’t think I’ve ‘jumped the gun’ since I’m reporting this as speculation, but I’ve added the updated Amex twitter response. Thanks!

  3. Yet still no travel delay insurance on US issued Amex Plats. Sorry, Amex, but if this is all that the enhancements will be, I’ll take the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s 3 points per dollar with travel delay insurance included instead.

  4. It would make some sense for AMEX to tweak/boost benefits on an existing card product as part of their response to that Chase thing. If they boosted the airfare credit for second years and after from $200 to $300 it might stop some slippage in renewals. Having said that, I’ve been somewhat surprised by the value I have received from the Platinum card after the signup bonus, so much in excess of the annual fee that I’m nearly a lock to continue.

  5. I hope this is true. I only keep the amex gold because of the 3x on airfare, and I haven’t charged a dime to my Platinum Card since I reached the minimum spend. This would allow me to dump the gold and start using the Platinum.

  6. I have no idea why they would do this. This would still not make anyone take the card out of his wallet for everyday purchases, and 5x MR points has to exceed the value of their share of airfare purchases. I mean, don’t get me wrong, this would make me use my Plat for airfare purchases (while not using it for anything else) and I would be happy about it from that angle, but on the other hand it’s making me think about selling the stock.

  7. If they did, it would discourage me from using the airline branded cards (on the airline for the card), at least after I hit minimum spend. That might be a reason for them to do that.

  8. I love my Plat card(s); I’ll keep one just for the benefits (Hilton Gold, SPG Gold, rental car insurance; Delta Lounge, Centurion Lounge, etc)… BUT I wish they would increase the points. This 5X on airfare is a start. I don’t spend much with it, mostly just on Offers…. but it’s a great card. Like to see it go to 1.5X instead of 1X on most purchases.

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