Selecting an Airline With the AMEX Business Platinum & Why I Chose Southwest

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Besides the huge 100,000 point sign-up bonus, a major reason I got The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN was the 50% points back perk.

Because I’ll get 2 cents per point when I use my AMEX Membership Rewards points to book coach airfare on my selected airline.  So picking 1 of the 9 eligible airlines is important to make sure I make the most of this benefit!

Plus, the airline selection matters for earning the Business Platinum’s $200 airline incidental credit.

I decided on Southwest.

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

I Selected Southwest as My Business Platinum Airline.  I’ll Get a Great Deal With My AMEX Membership Rewards Points and Use the $200 Airline Incidental Credit!

I’ll show you how to select your airline for the American Express Business Platinum airline credit.

Select an Airline for AMEX Pay With Points & $200 Credit

Link:   The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN 

Link:   American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

Link:   Get 50% of Your Points Back With AMEX Business Platinum

If you have the AMEX Business Platinum card, you’re eligible to receive a $200 statement credit each calendar year for incidentals on an airline of your choice.

And you’ll get 50% of your points back for coach tickets booked with Pay With Points on your selected airline.

You can choose from 1 of these 9 airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines

You’ll be able to select an airline after you activate your card.  Then, you’ll only be able to change your selection in January of each year.

How to Enroll and Pick Your Airline

The $200 annual credit and 50% pay with points perk only work after you select an airline.  Here’s how to do it.

Step 1.   Log-In to Your AMEX Account

Log-in to your AMEX account from the airline choice website.

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

Log-In to Your Account on the AMEX Airline Choice Page

Step 2.   Pick Your Airline

Then, you’ll see a screen with a drop-down menu.  When you click “Select an Airline,” you’ll see your options.

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

Click “Select an Airline” and Pick Your Choice

Note:   Remember, after you select your airline, you can NOT change it until January of each year.

Step 3.   Confirm Your Selection

After you make your choice, you’ll see your airline selection underneath your Business Platinum card.  I chose Southwest.

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

The Airline You Select Will Be Listed Underneath Your Card Information

You’ll also get an email from AMEX verifying your selection.

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

AMEX Sends an Email Confirming Your Airline Selection

Step 4.   Use the $200 Airline Credit & Pay With Points Perk

You’re all set!

You can now use the Business Platinum card to pay for airline incidentals like in-flight beverages and get up to a $200 statement credit each calendar year.

Also, you can book any coach flight on your selected airline using Pay With Points and get 50% of your points back!

Note:  To get 50% of your points back with Spirit Airlines or Southwest, you’ll have to pay with your Business Platinum card.  Then call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to get your points back. 

Why I Chose Southwest

I love Southwest because you can check 2 bags for free and there are no change or cancellation fees.  And some Southwest flight attendants give very funny safety briefings!

Southwest is NOT a direct AMEX airline transfer partner.  Before the new Pay With Points perk, there was no way to use American Express Membership Rewards points to book Southwest flights.

I selected Southwest because I’ll always get 2 cents per point when using Pay With Points.

That’s a better value than if I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest or if I booked through the Chase Travel portal.

For example, I found a round-trip Southwest flight from Orlando to San Diego, which costs ~$344.

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

A Sample Round-Trip Southwest Flight From Orlando to San Diego Costs ~$344 If You Pay Cash

Or you can redeem ~22,000 Southwest points for the same flight.

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

Redeem ~22,000 Southwest Points for the ~$344 Flight From Orlando to San Diego

In this case, your Southwest points are worth ~1.5 cents each (22,000 / $344 – $11 for taxes).

You can also book this flight through the Chase travel portal using Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned on your Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Because points on your Sapphire Reserve are worth 1.5 cents each when you book travel.  So you can book the ~$344 flight for ~23,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points ($344 X 1.5 cents).

American Express Business Platinum Airline Credit

You’ll Use the Fewest Amount of Points by Using AMEX Pay With Points. Pay ~34,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Points for a ~$344 Flight and Get 17,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Points Returned to You!

But you’ll use the lowest number of points when you book with AMEX Pay With Points.  You’ll pay ~34,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points for the ~$344 flight.  But, then you’ll get 50% points back.  So in the end, it only costs ~17,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.

And using Pay With Points you earn points and loyalty credit with Southwest because it’s basically like paying cash for a flight.

Bottom Line

With the AMEX Business Platinum card, you can select 1 airline for your annual $200 incidental credit.

And with the airline you select, you’ll get 50% of your points back on coach flights when you use Pay With Points.

Choose wisely because you’ll only be able to change your selection in January of each year.

I selected Southwest because I’ll get 2 cents per point on all flights when I use Pay With Points.  That’s better than I’d get using Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Which airline did you select with your Business Platinum card?

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24 responses to “Selecting an Airline With the AMEX Business Platinum & Why I Chose Southwest

  1. Are Southwest $15 early bird flight fees eligible for reimbursement?

  2. Are there other articles on why we should or should not pick an airline. I picked JetBlue for my first year which is now in Nov. I didn’t fly enough to use the incidental credit. Jetblue does not sell gift cards. I asked a few times if I would have purchased Amazon Prime through the On board WiFi Internet purchase. If I would have received a credit but I’ve gotten no response.
    I like the breakdown on why Southwest Airlines is a good choice. Just wondering if there are other perks that may appeal to me on another airline… I have the Personal Platinum Card

    • The AMEX Platinum $200 credit does not cover in-flight Wi-Fi purchases. I recommend selecting an airline where gift card purchases can earn you the $200 credit. Or an airline you’re likely to fly and pay for incidentals like change fees or lounge passes.

  3. So if you choose SW and have companion pass your net “cost” is roughly equal to 25 cents on the dollar? 50% of MR points refunded plus BOGO?

  4. If you choose Southwest but you have to book directly with the airline and then call Amex for the points credit, how does it qualify as an earn with points and loyalty points with Southwest?
    I understand how it would work if you booked through the Amex travel portal with the other airlines. Thanks

  5. An Amex Travel rep told me that I would have to call Business Platinum Travel to book Southwest and then pay some booking fee on top (like $39 or something) and then I can use the pay with points. Is that incorrect? Your way seems so much easier. Have you seen your process go through with a charge, points used then rebate after call? It would be great to know as I am seriously considering getting the Amex Biz Plat card. Thanks

    • I’m working on getting 50% of my points back for a Southwest flight I recently booked. I’ll have a post on this soon. But after speaking with the Business Platinum Travel reps, you can pay for the flight with your Business Platinum card. Then, contact AMEX Membership Rewards to get the points credited from your account.

  6. Greetings,

    I just attempted to book a SWA flight on my Amex Plat webpage. SWA flights were not available. I would love to book a SWA flight with MR points and then get 50% back. However, this was not possible. Please explain what I am overlooking.

    As always, I appreciate your guidance!! Thank you.

    • Greetings, James! If you have Southwest selected as your airline with the Business Platinum card, you can purchase a Southwest flight and pay with your card. After the charge posts to your statement, you can contact AMEX Membership Rewards to credit you the points.

      • Greetings Mr. Dubash,

        Thank you for the quick reply. However, I am still confused. Above, your article states: “But you’ll use the lowest number of points when you book with AMEX Pay With Points. You’ll pay ~34,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points for the ~$344 flight. But, then you’ll get 50% points back. So in the end, it only costs ~17,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.”

        I tried to purchase a SWA flight and pay with MR points so that I would receive 50% back. A SWA flight was not available in the travel section of my AmexPlat portal.

        As always, thank you for your guidance!!

        • You have to purchase the flight directly through the Southwest website and pay with your Business Platinum card. Then, call AMEX to apply AMEX Membership Rewards points toward the purchase. For example, purchase a Southwest flight for $340. Then, contact AMEX who will deduct 34,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points from your account. Afterwards, you’ll get 50% of the points back.

          • Thank you very much.

          • Hi, I just got my AX card, and will not have adequate MR points to apply for SW flights until March. Can I still purchase SW tickets with AX card now, and then contact AMEX in March to deduct MR points to apply to my Jan purchase. Thank you so much for your guidance !

  7. Does this info apply to Amex platinum personal card. Thanks.

  8. Still not quite getting it. We have the companion pass. Booking with points with the companion pass is great. But still don’t understand how you can book with points and still get earning points With Southwest when you have to call Amex to get the credit

    • Gladys, this post is about using your American Express Membership Rewards points to pay for your Southwest flight; it is saying that if you have Amex MR points, you get a much better value per point using those points to book flights on Southwest versus using Southwest points.

  9. Are gift card purchases from SWA eligible for the $200 incidental fees reimbursement? Otherwise, I don’t see how I would ever get that benefit from SWA. I never have more than 2 checked bags, they have no change fees, I never have to buy drinks (drink coupons out my ears) the don’t have lounge…etc. Thanks!

  10. Hi Darius,

    I just applied for Amex Business Platinum using your link. How can I get $200 airline credit for Southwest? Can I buy $200 gc on SWA website and they will reimburse the purchase? Or I have to call them for the reimbursement? Thanks.