I got an email today from American Express asking me to take part in a survey where they are researching new benefits for the Platinum Card.
Essentially, all of these benefits they were researching by this survey have to do with their Pay with Points service, whereby you pay for your travel using the points you have, equivalent to a cash value. So, if you want to buy a $1,000 ticket, you would use 100,000 Membership Rewards Points.
Here’s what was proposed, and what I had to rate:
20% Discount on Business and First Class Flights
Now you can get 20% off when redeeming for First and Business class airline tickets through American Express Travel. For example, a $2,000 ticket would now require 160,000 points instead of 200,000 points – a savings of 40,000 points. You will still be able to use your Membership Rewards points for part or all of your travel purchase.
20% More Value on all Flights
Your points are now worth 20% more when redeeming for flights through American Express Travel. For example, a $600 ticket would now require 50,000 points instead of 60,000 points – a savings of 10,000 points. You will still be able to use your Membership Rewards points for part or all of your travel purchase.
Unlock a 30% Bonus
Now when you spend $100,000 or more per year on your American Express Platinum Card, you can unlock a 30% travel bonus. Receive 30% of the points you used credited back to your account after each flight booking through American Express Travel.
20% More Value on International Flights
Your points are now worth 20% more when redeeming for International flights through American Express Travel.
20% More Value on Tickets Over $1,000
Your points are now worth 20% more when redeeming for any airline ticket over $1,000 (not including taxes and fees) through American Express Travel
Here’s why this is bad: American Express is trying to promote their Pay with Points option, because it is in their benefit. It costs them less to pay for this benefit, than to pay for the miles one uses their Membership Rewards Points to transfer to. Why would you spend 100,000 points on a $1,000 ticket, when you could transfer those points into miles and get close to $10,000 benefit by way of using it on a First or Business class award ticket?
If American Express really is looking into these changes, it makes the overall value of the Platinum Card less, as this is a benefit I would not recommend using under normal circumstances. Earlier this year, they introduced free Boingo WiFI, which, although nice when traveling internationally, is not a benefit which I get a ton of value out of, since a lot of the places I already go have free WiFi already.
Interestingly, the survey also asked whether I value Centurion Lounge access – something I hope that isn’t removed, since I probably value this as one of the top benefits of the card, especially after the removal of the American Airlines AAdmiral’s Club lounge access back in March.
It looks like Amex is adding in some type of benefit that has to do with their Pay with Points program. Do you value this benefit?
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