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In an unfortunate turn of events, today American Express announced that the fan-tas-tic ability to get 50% of your redeemed points back via The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN and its Pay with Points feature was apparently too fantastic as they are going to change the percentage to 35% effective June 1st. This 50% points return perk was introduced in October 2016, and with your selected airline for the year you would essentially get 2 cents in value when booking paid economy flights using Membership Reward points through Amex Travel, and you could do the same with any airline for premium cabin flights.
This freed you up from having to mess with award availability and the flights booked even would earn miles with the airlines in most cases. In real numbers, a $300 flight with your selected airline booked with the 50% Points With Points benefit would cost you 30,000 Membership Reward points with 15,000 coming back to you…eventually (that time frame has slowed down in recent weeks from a few days to a few weeks). After this change kicks in it would cost you 30,000 points with 10,500 points eventually coming back to you at 35%. That is still okay, but it drops the value of redeeming Membership Rewards points in this way from 2 cents each to about 1.54 cents each.
The good news is that according to multiple Amex replies on Twitter, those who opened their cards from October 2016 – May 31, 2017 will get the 50% feature for one full year from the date they opened their account. This means it still isn’t too late to get an Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN and have a full year of this perk!
One year isn’t as good as getting the 50% points return perk indefinitely, but getting it for a year is certainly better than not getting it at all. If you are interested in applying for the card now to get this perk before it is too late, note that the current sign-up bonus is 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 in the first 3 months and and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 also in the first 3 months. That spending hurdle obviously won’t be attainable for everyone, but even if you just did the first 50,000 point portion of the bonus and then made great use of the 50% points return perk for all your Membership Reward points for a year, that could still be worth it.
You can head here to get a little more info on some other recent updates to the Amex Business Platinum card. Note that it does carry a $450 annual fee, but that is actually $100 per year lower than the similar Personal Platinum products. Are you considering getting this card before May 31, 2017, so you can get a full year of the 50% points return feature? How does this change your overall rewards card strategy?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.