Background: Last fall, American Express beefed up their Business Platinum card with a unique benefit – a 50% rebate on points used for airline travel booked through Amex Travel in coach (on the selected airline choice for that year) and in business class. The points post normally a couple/few days after the ticket purchase has gone through and is a great way to get a solid 2 cents per point value on Membership Reward points.
Why the 50% Points Rebate Benefit Is Not Working Great For Me
Problem 1 – Stuck with Selected Airline for Coach
I can understand the desire to restrict coach purchases for the 50% rebate to only the selected airline choice but I am not excited that this is contained to American carriers. Many of the international flights I look at have US airline connections but mostly ticket as a different carrier, at least at the cheapest prices in many of my searches. I wish Amex allowed you to select one specific airline for this and make it any airline because I definitely would have gone with an international carrier on this!
Problem 2 – Business Class Options Limited
Emirates Business? Nope!
There are a few go-to business class routes/carriers I look for when actually purchasing such a ticket. Thanks to some pretty cheap prices out of Greece to the US, it is possible to get business class for only a little more than coach, depending on the time and season of the booking. Because I wanted to try out the new Emirates non-stop flight between Newark and Athens that is beginning this next Sunday (March 12), I planned on booking a business class ticket to Newark from Athens and then booking a separate ticket in coach to try both cabins on this new route.
The problem was that, while the economy tickets on Emirates showed up, business class tickets on Emirates do not show on the Amex Travel portal! Because of that, I am unable to book them and get the 50% rebate on points used. When chatting with an Amex rep, I was actually told that it is because business class is not offered on that route. Ummm, excuse me? 🙂 When I told her it was available on every other OTA, she told me that Amex does not offer all flights. Ok…
Turkish Business? Nope!
I again have this problem with Turkish Airlines. I was trying to book a business class ticket on Turkish Airlines and, again, it did not show up. Economy tickets show up fine but no business class tickets would show for me.
This is very frustrating! One of the strengths of this 50% rebate is the ability to get a 2 cents per point value when redeeming Membership Reward points this way while actually being able to earn more miles for the purchased ticket. In the case of the Turkish Airlines flight, I could have booked a roundtrip business class ticket to New York for a net total of 70,000 points. That is way cheaper than any award calendar and no cash would have been involved! But, while I could have booked that ticket on any other online travel agent site, including with Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex refuses to show those flights.
The 50% rebate on points used with the Amex Business Platinum card is still a fantastic benefit but I am frustrated that, out of 8 flight options I wanted on various trip searches, I could not get an itinerary. Sure, there are still plenty of other ways to realize huge value for my Membership Reward points but it kills a bit of this great benefit for me when Amex does not sell a ticket that I actually want to buy.
Has anyone else had this problem with the 50% rebate on points?