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If you’re going to apply for a new card, you might as well do so when the welcome offer is exceptional. This is especially true if you’re considering an American Express card, since Amex has a one-bonus-per-lifetime rule for its welcome offers. Luckily, if your business is looking for a premium travel rewards card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is currently offering an increased welcome offer of:
- 85,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card in the first three months
- Earn 5x points on eligible U.S. purchases on shipping, wireless telephone services, advertising in select media, office supplies and gas stations, with the card in the first three months, up to 80,000 bonus points per category.
If you’re considering the Amex Business Platinum for your small business, you may wonder just how much value you can get from the 85,000-point offer. So, today I’ll consider several discrete ways you could use 85,000 American Express Membership Rewards points for personal or business travel.
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$1,309 of flights through Pay With Points
You’ll generally get the most value from your American Express Membership Rewards points when you transfer to travel partners. But, some travelers prefer the ease of booking travel through Amex Travel.
So, I decided to begin this guide with the Business Platinum’s 35% Pay With Points rebate on select flights booked with points through Amex Travel. In particular, Business Platinum cardholders can get a 35% points rebate on:
- Flights booked with a selected airline (the same airline you choose for the annual up to $200 airline fee credit)
- First- and business-class flights with any airline
With the 85,000-point welcome offer, you can get up to $1,309 of flights. You’ll initially redeem your points at a rate of one cent each. But, the 35% rebate bumps your effective redemption rate to 1.54 cents per point. So, if you redeem 85,000 points at a rate of 1.54 cents per point, you’ll get about $1,309 worth of travel.
Up to 13 one-ways within the continental U.S.
There are three Membership Rewards transfer partners to consider if you or your employees need to travel within the continental U.S. These programs are British Airways Avios, Avianca LifeMiles and Delta SkyMiles. And you can transfer points to each of these programs at a 1:1 ratio.
You can use British Airways Avios to book flights operated by American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart. But, British Airways prices awards by segment, so you’ll usually only want to consider nonstop flights. One-way economy flights are priced as follows:
- 1,151 miles or shorter: 9,000 Avios
- 1,152 to 2,000 miles: 11,000 Avios
- 2,001 to 3,000 miles: 13,000 Avios
If you prefer United-operated flights, you can use Avianca LifeMiles. Avianca made some changes to its award chart for United-operated awards in 2019. So, now you can book domestic awards within the continental U.S. for between 6,500 miles and 13,500 miles.
Finally, Delta SkyMiles uses dynamic pricing for its domestic awards. As such, award rates change by route, date and when you search. However, it’s worth checking the award rate on Delta’s website before paying cash for a fare or transferring to Avianca or British Airways.
Up to 3 round-trips between the U.S. and Ireland on Aer Lingus
You could transfer Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios at a 1:1 ratio and book up to three round-trips between the U.S. and Ireland. Specifically, a nonstop Air Lingus operated flight of 3,001 to 4,000 miles would cost as follows:
- Economy: 13,000 Avios off-peak and 20,000 Avios peak
- Premium economy: 26,000 Avios off-peak and 40,000 Avios peak
- Business: 50,000 Avios off-peak and 60,000 Avios peak
Eligible U.S. origins often include Boston, Hartford, New York-JFK, Newark and Philadelphia.
1 off-peak round-trip between the U.S. and Madrid in business class
You could transfer Membership Rewards points to Iberia Avios at a 1:1 ratio and book one round-trip business class flight to Madrid.
Nonstop one-way off-peak award flights originating in Boston, Chicago or New York-JFK would cost 34,000 Avios. In contrast, flights originating in Miami, Los Angeles or San Francisco would cost 42,500 Avios. Either way, the 85,000-point welcome bonus would be enough to get you one off-peak round-trip in business class.
Up to 3 round-trips between the U.S. and Hawaii
I discussed using British Airways Avios for domestic travel earlier in this guide. And, the same award pricing holds for flights between the continental U.S. and Hawaii. Specifically, American Airlines or Alaska Airlines’ one-way nonstop flights between the West Coast and Hawaii cost 13,000 Avios if the flight is between 2,001 and 3,000 miles in length.
You can also use Singapore KrisFlyer miles to get between the continental U.S. and Hawaii. Singapore’s Star Alliance partner award chart allows you to fly United-operated flights between Hawaii and North America for 35,000 miles round-trip in economy and 69,000 miles round-trip in business. You can also use Singapore KrisFlyer miles to fly on Alaska-operated flights between select regions of the U.S. and Hawaii for 23,000 to 25,000 miles each way.
Up to 14 nights in Auckland, New Zealand
Membership Rewards points transfer to Choice Privileges points at a 1:1 ratio. And, if you’re looking for centrally located lodging in Auckland, New Zealand, the Econo Lodge City Center may be a good fit. Although the property is simple and the rooms are small, this Econo Lodge is located right in the middle of Auckland.
If you’re planning on spending most of your time in Auckland visiting clients or seeing the sights, the Econo Lodge might be a good value option. After all, even though cash rates are usually high in Auckland, the Econo Lodge costs 6,000 Choice Privileges points per night during the week and 10,000 points per night on the weekend. So, if you only stay at the Econo Lodge on weeknights, you could stretch the 85,000-point bonus into 14 nights of lodging.
Up to 10 nights in Japan
One of my favorite uses of Choice Privileges points is booking centrally located lodging in Japan. I’ve redeemed for many nights in Osaka and Tokyo using between 8,000 and 12, 000 Choice Privileges points per night. Although the rooms are often small, there’s usually an included breakfast and the lobby often features a comfortable common area where you can work and relax.
There are several Choice Privileges properties in Osaka and Tokyo where you can redeem just 8,000 points per night. If you stay at these 8,000-point properties, you can get up to 10 nights from the 85,000-point bonus.
Up to 4 round-trips between the U.S. and Europe on Delta
Finally, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Virgin Points and then book Delta-operated award flights. Although Virgin Atlantic replaced its award chart for Delta-operated awards with a distance-based version, it recently rolled back some of the negative changes for Delta-operated flights between the U.S. and Europe.
So, if you’re looking to fly Delta to Europe, Virgin Atlantic is still a good choice. One-way nonstop flights from the U.S. East Coast to the United Kingdom are 10,000 Virgin Points + $262 tax in Delta Main Cabin and 47,500 Virgin Points + $643.50 tax in Delta One, both during standard season. Those taxes and fees are relatively high, especially considering the inexpensive trans-Atlantic fares that are often available.
You can also book nonstop Delta flights between the U.S. and European cities outside the United Kingdom for 30,000 Virgin Points in Delta Main Cabin and 50,000 Virgin Points in Delta One. Plus, there aren’t fuel surcharges for Delta-operated flights from the U.S. to Europe (excluding the United Kingdom).
The Amex Business Platinum currently offers a massive 85,000-point welcome offer and 5x earning on select categories for the first three months after opening your account (up to 80,000 bonus points per category). As such, you could potentially earn a lot of Membership Rewards points within your first three months. The card has a $595 annual fee (see rates and fees).
American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the most valuable transferrable currencies based on TPG’s valuations. But, the value you get from your points will vary depending on how you redeem your points. Hopefully, this guide gave you some concrete examples of how you can redeem Membership Rewards points for maximum value.
Official information link: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.