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5x points on AmexTravel.com flights with the Business Platinum is great, except when it’s not

by on Tue March 7, 2017 • No Comment
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Starting March 30, you can earn 5x points on flights and some hotels booked directly on the AmexTravel.com website if you have a Business Platinum Card.

businessplatinum170That’s a nice step up and almost matches the 5x points on the personal Platinum Card, though with the personal card you can book your flights directly with the airline to get the extra points.

And that’s where some of the drawbacks kick in.

AmexTravel.com has a pretty basic flight booking engine like you’d see at Expedia or Travelocity. And it doesn’t have the full coverage you’d find using a site that leverages multiple booking engines like Google flights or Kayak.

Here are some things to watch out for:

You might get stuck with Basic Economy fares

The big global U.S. airlines have all rolled out Basic Economy fares that don’t let you get advance seat assignments or in the case of American and United, bring carryon bags on board.

While airline websites will show you both regular Economy and Basic Economy fares side by side, the Amex Travel website defaults to showing you the lowest fare in its system for every flight.

And there’s no way to override that on the site. So if a Basic Economy fare is the lowest on a given flight, that’s all you can book on the Amex site.

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The lowest price might not show up

On the flip side, some airlines like American have just started selling Basic Economy fares, and those aren’t yet showing up on the Amex site. So if you’re okay with Basic Economy you’re not always going to find the lowest fares on AmexTravel.com.

Here, the lowest price on American Airlines showing on AmexTravel.com for Fort Lauderdale to Dallas is $299 roundtrip.

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But on the AA.com website a Basic Economy fare is available for $259.

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You can’t mix and match classes of service

Some airline websites let you book Economy one way and First Class the other on a round trip. The Amex site will only let you do that if you book separate one way tickets, which might be more expensive.

And you also can’t use advanced features on sites like United.com that let you specify fare codes to book certain fares that are upgrade eligible when the lowest fare available isn’t.

Some low cost airlines just don’t show up

You won’t fine Southwest on the AmexTravel.com site, and you won’t find some of the rapidly growing international low cost airlines like Wow Air, Easyjet, or Ryanair either.

That means you could miss out on the very lowest fares available in the market.

That said, 5x points on bookings can rack up fast.

If you’re making pretty straightforward flight reservations, it’s not a big deal to do a quick check on Google Flights before making a booking on AmexTravel.com to make sure you’re not paying extra or giving up too much for the extra points.

And unlike the personal Platinum Card, which is increasing its fee to $550, the annual fee on The Business Platinum Card is staying at $450.

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