I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
Two years ago American Express tested a program where if you found award space on an American or United flight American Express would buy you the ticket for saver award style pricing.
That was way too generous, you might even wind up earning more miles than the ticket cost you on certain premium cabin international awards.
Presumably this helped American Express gauge member behavior and costs and the analytics went into the new benefit for Business Platinum and Centurion cardmembers launched in the fall to receive a 50% rebate on points spent with ‘pay with points’ — where you use points to straight up buy tickets at a penny apiece.
This rebate gave you 2 cents per point in value, the rebate posted quickly, and was hugely popular with members. Apparently it was too popular — and too costly — and American Express has decided it was a mistake.
- First they slowed down how quickly they would rebate points to you from a few days to 6 to 8 weeks. The longer it takes to get your points back the fewer tickets you can purchase with the feature.
- Now Zach Honig reports that American Express is going to reduce the 50% rebate for Platinum members down to 35% effective June 1.
- Along with the reduction in value they’re going to impose a cap of 500,000 rebated points per year.
- These changes do not apply to the Business Centurion card at this time, and Zach reports that American Express will give 30 days’ notice if they intend to apply the changes to those cardholders as well.
American Express added several other benefits to the Business Platinum card March 30th which I found largely unimpressive. However the Business Platinum’s annual fee remains $450 versus the personal Platinum’s new higher $550 fee.
American Express has been spending mightily to fend off Chase. This killer app rebate feature was apparently spend too far, and no doubt tips the scale for many considering spending on a business card back in favor of Chase’s Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.
Competition in this space is, as American Express is clearly learning, expensive.
Update: If you applied October 5 to present, or you sign up by May 31, you will keep the 50% rebate benefit for one full year rather than losing it June 1.
Amex will lower the business Platinum redemption rebate from 50% to 35% in June. However, new cardholders who signed up for the card since the new benefit was announced on October 5th will continue to receive the 50% rebate for one full year. The same goes for new cardholders who apply now for the Platinum card until May 31.