American Express Significantly Devalues Pay with Points 50% Rebate

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One of the best perks of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Terms Apply) was the 50% rebate on pay with points bookings. Sadly, this great benefit, which wasn't even one year old, has being devalued effective June 1, 2017. Fortunately, this is the only devaluation, and many of the other great perks and benefits such as complimentary Marriott Gold Elite status, and complimentary lounge access are still in place.

Cathay Pacific Business Class

The Devaluation of Pay With Points Rebate

As of June 1, 2017, there are three changes to the pay with points rebate system:

  • The rebate is reduced from 50% to 35%
  • There is now a cap on the total points that can be rebated per year, a maximum of 500,000 points can be rebated per year
  • Rebate processing will increase from a typical 2-day to 6-10 weeks

Apart from the devaluation, there are no other changes to the system. The rebate will still apply to all First and Business class flights, but still only applies to your chosen domestic airline for economy fares. There is no change to the fact that it is a genuine rebate since you still need to have enough points to cover the total price of the booking before any rebate is taken into account.

The 50% rebate effectively gave each point a value of 2 cents/point. The reduction to 35% drops the value to 1.538 cents/point when booking through Pay with Points.

Is There Any Good News

After announcing the devaluation, American Express announced a reprieve for some cardmembers. Amex confirmed if you opened your account between October 2016, and May 31, 2017, they will honor the 50% rebate with unlimited points for a whole year from your card issue date.

Our Take

The devaluation is disappointing news, especially so quickly after the introduction of the perk. Although clearly it must have been very successful and was costing American Express a lot and they had to reduce it. Even with this devaluation, the points are still marginally better than using points with other premium cards on the market. With the devaluation in mind, if you have any planned pay with points booking coming up, it is well worth your while to move your booking forward to before June 1, 2017.

Source: Frequent Miler

American Express Significantly Devalues Pay with Points 50% Rebate
4.9 (98.95%) 19 votes
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Comments

  • I was interested in the card just for this benefit, guess I will hold off.

  • I always held back on joining the amex plat “ecosystem” – although I love SPG – and apparently it was an ok move. I guess SPG has totally different leadership and corporate structure.

  • Way to stick to them, Amex.

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    Thanks for posting. I was contemplating this card recently but never got round to applying. With this latest news time to push the button.

  • JonKarol says:

    I’m guessing a lot of the big perks that have become available in the past year will soon be devalued or go away. The card companies have offered record sign-up bonuses and benefits that they used to lure new cardholders, but I can easily see a lot of them being slowly phased out in the near future.

  • It’s still a somewhat competitive deal/offer/situation, but certainly the devaluation is significant, no question.

  • amzsinger@gmail.com says:

    This is a pretty big devaluation. Hoping the competitors don’t follow suit……….

  • Binita Patel says:

    This sucks – not sure what Amex is doing since Chase is already kicking their butt!

  • This is too bad 🙁

  • Don Camillo says:

    This is a helpful reminder for everyone thinking that something printed on paper could be a permanent store of value.

  • Another credit card devaluation. Not as bad as losing my AA lounge access on my Citi Prestige in July 2017.

  • I did want this card. May be time to sign up before the rebate decreases. AMEX needs to do everything it can to keep the premium business. Add features not take away

  • Not a very good move from Amex. Rather disappointing!

  • Sadly it was too good to be true…

  • At 1x points per dollar on most purchases, and the devalue to 1.53 cents per point, its a run of the mill card now.

  • Adam Parsons says:

    Afraid to say but looks like any way of earning points will get devalued at some time in the near future. It’s happening far too often and seems like a trend.

    • A big contributing factor is the decline in the travel agency since the current president took over. Hotel and airline companies will be looking for ways to save money and they will pinch their rewards programs.

  • As much as I don’t like negative changes, I do have to give Amex credit for the notice period.

  • they obviously didn’t realize the cost to them in offering this. it is not that great of a deal with the new terms and I will probably get rid of the card once my time is over a year.

  • talk about bait and switch

  • Rob Arias says:

    Very sad to see this benefit go, I’m sure that was a factor that helped many keep the card

  • This differentiated the product but Amex wants to cutback? Grrr

  • I dont think they realized people would be able to game the system. People with hoards of points prob have both the personal and biz. When combining these two cards members were getting too good of a rebate probably. Not surprised this didnt last for long.

  • This did seem a little too good to last.

  • The_Bouncer says:

    Kind of a relief that this is the only deval at the moment.

  • Isn’t Amex supposed to be upping its game in response to Chase et.al?

  • Without this, this card doesn’t stand out above a couple of other cards.

  • Without the 50% bonus, there are a couple of better options available.

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