One of the best enhancements for the Amex Business Platinum cards has been the 50% rebate on Membership Rewards when booking business class flights or economy on your selected airline. This great benefit made MR points automatically worth 2 cents each.
Changes To MR Points Rebate
Apparently American Express didn’t think this through and they’ve announced that they will lower the rebate rate to 35% beginning June 1, 2017. This change effectively drops the value of Membership Rewards points from 2 cents each to just 1.54 cents when redeemed for paid flights, which is a big drop.
There will also be a cap of 500,000 rebated points per calendar year.
American Express hasn’t made any change for for now to the Business Centurion card. Those cardholders will continue to earn the 50% rebate, and Amex will provide a 30-days notice if it opts to make a change to that benefit in the future.
New Cardmembers Will Earn 50% Rebate Longer
According to an Amex Travel rep (and several reader reports), if you signed up for your card between October 2016 and May 31, 2017, you’ll still receive the 50% rebate with no cap for one year from the date your card was issued.
For any other customers, you’ll need to purchase (but not fly) your flight before June 1, 2017 in order to receive the 50% rebate.
The rebate extension referenced below only applies to new accounts, so if you upgraded your card within that window you’ll only receive the 50% rebate through May 31, 2017.
Another piece of bad news is that Amex has slowed down the rebate. The 50% back in points used to post usually within 24 hours of making a redemption. Now we will need to wait 6-10 weeks.
This is a devaluation on its own since it makes it significantly harder to use those rebated points for the same trip. For a few people flying together, you would need to have enough MR points for all of them, without relying on the rebate.
This is definitely a big blow for many who have applied for the Business Platinum card only for this benefit. The somewhat good news is that new members will be able to use the benefit for a bit longer.