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Over the past week, the miles/points buzz has centered around speculation that American Express would be making an “exciting announcement” today. People hoped for a new credit card offer to compete with the wildly lucrative Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Today, Amex made the official announcement. So, what was the big news…?
5x MR Points on Travel
American Express Platinum card holders will now earn 5x points on travel booked directly with airlines or through the American Express travel portal. While this news is definitely not exciting, it does position the Platinum card as good value for business travelers who can use personal cards to book travel. The 5x points offer exceeds the 3x offer for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, the CSR offer covers all travel expenses, not just directly-booked flights.
50% MR Rebate for Business Platinum
Additional updates include a 50% points rebate for Business Platinum card holders, when redeeming MR points through the Amex portal on the selected airline. This marginally improves on the current 30% rebate and is actually good news for this specific group of cardholders. MR points are now effectively worth 2 cents-per-point when redeemed in this way. I don’t love the airline restriction for this one, because it limits the redemption benefit. I selected United to take advantage of the MPX loophole (item 2) for free Amazon Gift Cards.
1.5x MR Points on Purchases over $5,000 for Business Platinum
The final piece of the announcement is that Business Platinum card holders earn 1.5x points on purchases over $5,000. This doesn’t particularly matter to me, because there are better options for large purchases. You could use a 2% cash back card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited for 1.5 UR’s per dollar.
See the official press release for details and terms.
Overall, this “exciting announcement” from American Express fails to impress. If they are trying to compete with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, they simply are not creating enough value with these new changes. No new product, no new bonus, nothing to get excited about here. The primary beneficiaries here are Business Platinum card holders, who can book business travel with their own credit card. What do you think of these changes?