The Secret Way to Get the Most Southwest Flights From Your Points!

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, Citibank and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Update:   The step-by-step guide below to using Pay With Points for Southwest flights still works for AMEX Business Platinum cardholders.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Recently, I wrote why I selected Southwest as the airline on my AMEX Business Platinum card.

I think the 50% points back perk opens up a terrific new way to use AMEX Membership Rewards points for Southwest flights.

Plus the points I earned from the Business Platinum’s 100,000-point sign-up bonus and minimum spending requirement can get me $2,300 worth of paid Southwest airfare!  That’s a great deal!

But unlike other airlines in the AMEX Pay With Points program, you can NOT book Southwest flights online through the AMEX travel portal.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Booking a Southwest Flight to Cancun? I’ll Show You How Business Platinum Cardholders Can Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for a Southwest Flight Purchase and Get 50% of the Points Back!

I’ll provide a step-by-step guide for using AMEX Membership Rewards points to book Southwest flights!

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Link:   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN 

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

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

To use AMEX Membership Rewards points for Southwest flights, you must have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.  And Southwest has to be your selected airline!

Keep in mind, you can combine points from other AMEX Membership Rewards cards, like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, to use towards Southwest flights.  But you’ll need the Business Platinum card to use Pay With Points for Southwest flights.

Instead of booking Southwest flights through the AMEX travel portal, you’ll book through the Southwest website and pay for your flight with the Business Platinum card.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Southwest Now Flies to Cuba! Book Your Flight on the Southwest Website With Your AMEX Business Platinum Card, Then Call AMEX to Use Your Points for a Statement Credit

Then, you’ll call AMEX Membership Rewards to credit your points, which will offset the purchase.

Remember, because of the 50% points back perk, you’ll get 2 cents per point when you use AMEX Membership Rewards points to book coach airfare on Southwest if it’s your selected airline.

For example, you’ll initially use 10,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points for a $100 flight.  But you’ll get 5,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points back.  In the end, you’ll use 5,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points for a $100 flight, which gets you 2 cents per point (100 / 5,000).

Here’s how to book Southwest flights with AMEX Membership Rewards points!

Step 1.   Book Southwest Flight and Pay With Business Platinum Card

First, book your flight through the Southwest website.  In this example, I’m booking a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Denver, which costs ~$158.

On the payment page, pay with your AMEX Business Platinum card.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

First, Book Your Southwest Flight Directly Through the Airline’s Website and Pay With Your Business Platinum Card

Because you’re paying for the flight, you’ll earn Southwest loyalty points and credit towards A-List status.

Step 2.   Wait for Flight Purchase to Post to AMEX Statement

Next, wait for the airfare purchase to post to your credit card statement.  In my experience, this usually takes 2 days.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Wait for the Airfare Purchase to Post to Your Credit Card Statement

Step 3.   Call AMEX Membership Rewards

Once the flight purchase has posted to your account, you can call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to use your AMEX Membership Rewards points to credit the charge.

You’ll use 100 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 you spend on the flight.

So the ~$158 example flight I showed requires ~15,800 AMEX Membership Rewards points to offset the charge.

Remember, even though you’ll get 50% of your points back in the next step, you’ll still need the full amount of points at the time you call to credit the purchase.

Step 4.   Wait to Get 50% of Your Points Back

Getting 50% of your AMEX Membership Rewards points back is automatic.  But you’ll have to wait 8 to 10 weeks to see them in your account.  It’s possible the AMEX Membership Rewards representative can apply the rebate instantly when you call in to apply points to the airfare purchase.

Check Your AMEX Membership Rewards Account for a Points Rebate

This is a long time to wait.  But I think it’s worth it because this method requires the fewest number of points to book a Southwest flight.

Adding Your Southwest Companion Is an AMAZING Deal

Link:   1 Couple + 2 Cards = 2 Years of Free Flying + 7 Free Hotel Nights!

Folks with the Southwest Companion Pass will get amazing value by using AMEX Membership Rewards points linked to their Business Platinum card for Southwest flights.

Because you’ll get DOUBLE the value per point.  Instead of 2 cents per point, you’ll get 4 cents per point!

And you can even use AMEX Membership Rewards points to cover the cost of your companion’s taxes and fees.  This means they’ll fly with you completely free!

Here’s how to do it!

Step 1.   Add Your Companion

In this example, I’m adding a companion to the Southwest flight I booked earlier.  Visit your Southwest account page, and click “Add Companion” to the desired flight.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Click Add Companion to the Desired Flight

Step 2.   Pay Taxes and Fees With Business Platinum Card

Next, you’ll pay the taxes and fees with your Business Platinum card.  For this flight, the cost is ~$11.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Pay Taxes & Fees for Your Companion Using the Business Platinum Card

Step 3.   Credit Taxes & Fees Charge Using AMEX Membership Rewards Points

The next few steps are optional for folks who’d like to use points to offset the taxes and fees you pay when adding a companion.

First, wait for the charge to post your AMEX statement.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Wait for the Companion Pass Taxes & Fees Charge to Post to Your AMEX Statement

Then, you can call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to use your AMEX Membership Rewards points to credit the charge.

You’ll use 1,120 AMEX Membership Rewards points to offset the $11.20 charge.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

You’ll See the AMEX Membership Rewards Points Deducted From Your Account

You should see the taxes and fees credit on your statement within 2 days.

Step 4.   Wait to Get 50% of Your Points Back

Finally, wait 8 to 10 weeks to see the 50% of your AMEX Membership Rewards points returned back to your account.

It’s a personal choice if you want to use your points to credit the taxes and fees charges.  You’re still getting 2 cents per point, which is a good deal!

Why AMEX Pay With Points Is the Best Option for Southwest Flights

Compared to other redemption options, you get the most value per point by using AMEX Membership Rewards points and the 50% points back perk to book Southwest flights.

American Express Business Platinum Southwest Airlines

Compared to Alternative Booking Methods, You’ll Get the Most Value for Your Points by Using the Business Platinum Pay With Points Perk to Book Southwest Flights!

For example, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest.  But you’ll only get a value of ~1.25 to ~1.43 cents per Southwest point.  And you won’t earn loyalty points or credit.

Or, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can call Chase to book Southwest flights through the Chase travel portal and get 1.5 cents per point.

And points earned on other Ultimate Rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, are only worth 1.25 cents per point through the Chase travel portal.

So using AMEX Membership Rewards points linked to your Business Platinum card is the ONLY way to get a value of 2 cents per point!

Bottom Line

Folks with the AMEX Business Platinum card can use AMEX Membership Rewards points for Southwest flights if Southwest is their selected airline.

This is a great deal because you’ll get a value of 2 cents per point, compared to 1.5 cents per point for folks with the Chase Sapphire Reserve who book through the Chase travel portal.  Or even less if you transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to Southwest.

And folks with the Companion Pass get DOUBLE the value (4 cents per point) by using AMEX Membership Rewards points linked to their Business Platinum card.

To use AMEX Membership Rewards points for Southwest flights, first purchase the flight through the Southwest website.  Then, contact AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to use points to offset the charge.

Within 8 to 10 weeks, you’ll get 50% of your points back.

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

75 responses to “The Secret Way to Get the Most Southwest Flights From Your Points!

  1. Given the free luggage on SWair and the paucity of food purchases, what is the best way to use the $200/ airline credit?

  2. @David. Buy Southwest giftcards

  3. Does this work for airfare purchased for other family members who are not cardholders? I already booked a flight for myself but need to add flights for 3 kids. Can I just purchase their tickets and get the 50% bonus without buying a ticket for mysel?

  4. Great post and explanation. Two points of clarification:

    1. The valuation of 1.25-1.43 cents per point on Southwest points transferred from Chase or earned in some other way is simply wrong. I consistently get upwards of 1.6 cents per point, and almost never less than 1.5. Getting 2 cents per value is still significantly better, and so I intend to give your plan a try, but every time I see you or others indicating the lower value on Southwest points, it’s very frustrating. In line with this is that Southwest points used for flights are more flexible because even on the Wanna Get Away fares, you can cancel as close as 10 minutes before the flight and all your points are redeposited. That means they can be used anytime and for any passenger. By contrast, tickets you cancel after paying with Amex Business Platinum and charging points are given as travel credit, which is only good for one year, and only by the same passenger. On a flight I might take, but am not too sure about, I would pay with Southwest points to lock in a favorable fare that I could release at any time, rather than tying up funds in travel credit that expires.

    2. Combining this with the travel pass is a great use of the perk, but I think it’s misleading to say it becomes worth 4 cents per point. I see where you’re figuring “it’s like buying two tickets, which would cost twice as much.” But the cents per point valuation contemplates what it would otherwise cost you in cash for the ticket. Since the companion flies free whether the primary ticket is bought with cash, or points, a holder of the Companion Pass would not have bought two tickets at cash price; she would have bought one, and had her companion fly for free. I don’t dispute that it’s a great way to leverage value, but I it’s not really 4 cents per point.

    Many thanks for this insight and explanation! – John

  5. What if I have the the Amex Business Platinum, and my wife is qualified for the Southwest Companion perk. Would I be able to book on SW’s website under her login. pay for her flight using my Amex BP card and add myself as a ~free companion ticket? And then use Amex points to pay for that flight as your article suggests?

    • Yes, you could. The key is to just pay for the Southwest airfare with your Business Platinum card. Then, go back and credit points against the purchase.

      • Is this still valid? I was initially told that I would need to call Business Platinum Travel services and they would book my flight and then make sure my purchase would qualify for point use. But the rep told me that the points are not 100 pts per $1 but at a rate of 167 pts per $1 (I believe 167 was the number) which then would qualify for a 50% credit.

        At that point I explained that this was NOT my understanding and if I wanted to change my preferred airline could I? I was told we could and placed me on hold, at which time I hung up because I want to confirm this is the case.

        MMS please confirm that:
        1) 100 pts per $1 is still the valid conversion
        2) Purchasing your ticket on SWA website first using your AmexBP card then calling Amex is still the proper protocol.

        Thanks a Million MMS!!

  6. MMS – Very surprising that this works (rather than booking via phone in the first place) – great find! Thank you!! Taking this further…

    Do you think this “trick” would work for other airlines based on your interaction with the AMEX agent(s), e.g. Alaska? I am tempted to try this in combination with the BoA companion code for a trip to Hawaii, but unfortunately there is no way to apply that when booking on AMEX Travel. I would have to risk booking a flight via Alaska’s website, waiting for the transaction to post, and then calling up AMEX. (assuming my “selected” airline is already Alaska, of course…). Was there a lot of hesitation and/or confusion when you call to have the “Pay with Points” applied?

    Thanks for your feedback!

  7. Will this work with the Amex platinum personal card as well? Thanks

  8. Has anyone had any luck actually doing this? I called AMEX and they keep insisting that “Southwest” is not one of their partner airlines for Pay with Points. They are allowing 167 points per dollar ratio, but not 100 pts per dollar. I’m confused…

    • George, do you have the Business Platinum or the Personal Platinum? With the Personal, Southwest is not a good option at all as AMEX require you to buy the ticket through Southwest and then do a normal statement credit (which can be done with ANY transaction, travel or otherwise). This gives a value of about .007 cents per point. What Dariaus is describing is only for the Business Platinum.

      Having said all of that, I’d also like to know if Dariaus has indeed seen this come to fruition. if so, it’s a phenomenal deal.

    • I am having the same problem. And yes, I have the Business Platinum.

      • @George @Jim’s Universe @fivegirls – You might be calling a different AMEX travel department, which is why you’re not getting the correct information. Instead, you can book the Southwest flight with your Business Platinum card directly on the airline’s website. Then, call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to apply points to the charge and get your points rebate.

  9. This does not work. You can pay with points, but every CSR that I’ve talked to has told me that I will not get the 50% points back because I did not book over the phone with Amex Travel.

    • Darius can you confirm this?

      • Just confirmed with Amex Agent. 50% points back is only when you book southwest flights over phone with Amex Travel.

        • It also seems when you book over the phone they charge a non-refundable $39 booking fee per ticket. That’s not good.

          • Daraius, did you ever get your 50% refund? I noticed there is no screenshot of that step. Although AmEx claims it takes 8-10 weeks for reimbursement, my points were deposited back to my account the day after I made the redemption. If you didn’t get a refund yet from a purchase made on Dec 6th, I’m calling shenanigans.
            This seems like very irresponsible reporting on your behalf that you would not confirm this all worked before posting a how to article on it.

            • I can confirm it worked for me on 2-2-17, but it took some persuasive talking in a CSR online chat. I have screenshot confirmations from two separate CSRs that I will get the bonus points. They both said it’s not supposed to work that way but allowed me the bonus when i pointed out that their website language said that’s exactly how to do it for pay with points — make SW reservation first then call Amex after posting. Both also said it would be 6-8 weeks plus before bonus would be returned.

              • Cbrown – thanks for your post. I am running into the same problem where they won’t credit the 50% back with southwest. Would you be willing to share which specific areas you pointed out to them to prove your point? We called ahead of time and were told we could go either direction (book through their phone system or pay for the tickets and call back for reimbursement but now they say there is no 50% reimbursement.
                Anyhow would love any help or suggestions.

                • I essentially used the info quoted in Donald’s post. Just sent a screenshot to chat rep that clearly showed I was following their own procedures and then arguing that that should allow me to qualify for the bonus.

                  • @ThatGirl @Jack @Mike @Cbrown @Cpitcher – If Southwest is your selected airline, you can pay for a flight with your Business Platinum card through the airline’s website. You do NOT have to book a Southwest flight over the phone with AMEX Travel.

                    After you book your flight, call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to use points to credit the charge. Then, wait 8 to 10 weeks to get 50% of your points back.

                    It took ~8 weeks for me to get 50% of my points back.

                    • MMS, Can you confirm that you got 100 pts//$ redemption value as well? I can’t seem to talk a rep into it!

                    • Okay, I finally got a rep to change my redemption rate to 100 points/dollar, but he insists there is no way to get a 50% bonus since I didn’t book through Amex travel. Did you have to ask for it, or did you bonus post automatically? I’m wondering if perhaps it will just happen in 8-10 weeks?

                    • The mr rep applied the 50% points in real time for me. I received them immediately. Maybe i got extremely lucky. I would try huca.

                    • HUCA finally worked! I got my bonus after four calls. But in the future I will call Amex Travel to book Southwest. Please amend your post to make it clear that this is the policy (in spite of the FAQ on their own site to the contrary).

                    • Maybe calling amex travel is your issue. As mms says – call membership rewards.

                      Darius I did exactly as you outline and the membership rewards reps didn’t miss a beat. Purchased airfare on May 15, on May 17 used points at 100 to $1 and had 50% credited back that day.

                      As another commentator asked. Really want to know if this works for other airlines if they are your designated airline.

  10. I Googled, “How to book Southwest flights with AMEX Membership Rewards points.” This is the answer I found on American Express Customer Support. It is as Daraius has outlined:

    Customer Support: Answer
    Was this answer helpful?
    Yes No
    Support Options | Search Results | Answer

    Are all airlines available on the American Express Travel Online site?
    American Express Travel Online offers the majority of domestic and international airlines. There are some airlines, however, that are not offered on the site. While we cannot book these airlines for you, we have solutions for how you can redeem points for these airlines if you choose.

    To redeem your Membership Reward points for Southwest Airline tickets, simply book your ticket directly with Southwest Airlines and then redeem your points after the charge posts via Your Charges online at: or through the American Express App on your mobile device (iPhone and Android platforms only). You have the ability to schedule a point redemption for eligible pending charges through the American Express Mobile App. You must have enough Membership Rewards® points to cover the entire cost of the charge with Your Charges.
    If you are looking for any other airline and it is not shown in your search results on the website, please call American Express Travel Online at 1-800-297-2977 .

      • I got your back! 🙂 Thanks for the ongoing education!

        • @Donald @Million Mile Secrets: As others have mentioned, AmEx will apply the points post purchase at 166 points/dollar instead of 100 points/dollar. So yes, you can book on SW’s site and call AmEx to get the points credit, but you’ll only get the terrible redemption of 166 points per dollar. This is what was told to me by a rep just now on the phone. Looks like others have had sporadic luck getting a CSR that did otherwise, but I’ve been given the 166 rate twice by two different CSRs now. Both of them did say I could book the flights and call back to get the 50% refund, but that is a terrible redemption at 166 points per dollar.

          • I have now gotten the same message from 3 different reps: SW is no longer a partner with AmEx so they will not honor the 100 points per dollar rate. It will be 166 per dollar.

            • @Ravi – Folks with the Business Platinum card can still apply 100 points per $1 toward Southwest airfare charges if it’s their selected airline. The post has been updated with a recent screenshot.

  11. I booked SWA flight directly on SWA using my AmEx Bus Plat card (for which SWA is my preferred airline). I then had an online Chat with a AmEx rep to confirm that I could get 50% of my points back using AMEX Membership Rewards points to credit the charge. The AmEx rep told me that in order to get the 50% points back, I had to book my flight by calling the Business Platinum travel team FIRST (800-553-9497) and book my SWA flight through them. I sent the link from the AmEx FAQs that Donald posted below to see if that changed the rep’s answer. He said that while I could use points to pay those charges using the method Donald posted, that wouldn’t qualify me to get 50% of my points back since I didn’t book with the Business Platinum travel team initially. I then called the Business Platinum Travel team line and they contacted Membership Rewards and confirmed the same thing — to get the 50% bonus, you have to call and book the SWA flight through the Business Platinum Travel team. I know others apparently have gotten the 50% bonus points back, but it sure doesn’t sound like a sure thing.

    • Also, at least redeeming the points online via Your Charges online at:, the redemption wasn’t a penny a point. For a charge of $277.88, the points necessary to pay that charge were 46,313 (not 27,788)

  12. Just successfully followed the steps above and it worked (after 2 calls). First phone call I called the number on the back of my card and was denied because I booked directly with SW. Second phone call I called the membership rewards # above. Rep briefly mentioned that he could apply the 50% for SW airfare purchased through the Amex Travel Team. I avoided responding to that specifically and he proceeded with the redemption. Process was very quick. I received my 50% in real-time. From this I learned that it is not hard-coded and if you find a rep that doesn’t dig too much, they can process the redemption without a hitch. However, it sounds like this isn’t policy and next time I will call in to book the travel first.

    • Did you get 100 pts/$ or 166 pts/$ redemption (before the 50% rebate)? I purchased over $1000 of tickets, counting on using only 100k points (and getting 50k back), but now I’m finding that it will cost me 166k (or 83k, if I’m successful getting the rebate, which I haven’t been yet, but I’m determined to HUCA until it works). A terrible redemption.

      • I also had the same terrible experience.
        Yesterday the rep at business platinum travel service INSISTED that I book my Southwest ticket on the AMEX travel website. I had to make her go and try it on her end and then she finally came back to me and said “oh ok I see that you have to book it with me over the phone and that there would be a $40 fee to do that. I said no thanks and hung up because she clearly did not kn ow what she was talking about.
        Does anybody know how to go about getting the 100 points per $1 redemption AND how to get the 50% back in points? There does not seem to be any clear policy over at AMEX!

      • Hi fivegirls, what did you have to say to AMEX to make this work?
        I am having a terrible time making them understand that an AMEX rep told me to book it on SW website and then call back to redeem the points. Also, AMEX has not published anything anywhere about the redemption rate being less for SW. How did you convince them to let you use only 100 points per dollar?
        Any help would be appreciated!

        • I just got off the phone with AMEX. Rep said the only way to get 100 points per $1 AND the 50% points back for Southwest is to book with AMEX travel. We had charged over $1000 in SW tix directly through SW website and could only get 167 points per $1 when tried to pay with MR points. She said that is the redemption rate unless booked through AMEX travel. She then offered to allow a redemption rate of 100 points per $1 as a courtesy with no 50% points back. After some pleading she spoke with a supervisor and made it very clear that as a one time only exception they would give both: the 100 points per $1 and and 50% MR back. She processed the 50% back while I was on the phone with her. She also said all future SW bookings must be made thru AMEX travel to get the 100:1 ratio and 50% points back. LESSON: DO NOT BOOK DIRECTLY ON SW WEBSITE.

          • @Parag Shah @tlewis – You do not have to book through AMEX Travel to get the rebate. The post has been updated with a recent screenshot. You can still book directly through Southwest and then call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to apply points to the charge and get your points rebate.

  13. Just want to add a data point: On 2/20, I booked Southwest flights on and paid with my Business Platinum card. I waited for the charges to post, then called Membership Rewards. The rep manually applied both the pay with points and the 50% rebate, and both posted while I was on the phone. A few days later, the initial credit card charge was reversed.

  14. I wouldn’t recommend following these instructions, I spoke with 3 different reps and all refuse to use/credit back points if booked directly with as everyone else has reported.

  15. I am baffled as to how to use AmEx Business Platinum points (for $1 per point with 50% rebate) for Southwest. What I am being told is that I have to book through Platinum Travel….subject to a $39 booking fee. MMS, is this article correct? Please guides to how to avoid the $39 per person booking fee & get $2 benefit per point.

    • To avoid the $39 per person booking fee, book directly on Southwest and pay with your Business Platinum card. Then, call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to apply points to the charge and get your points rebate.

  16. Couple of data points to add 4/9/17. I had two flights booked on using my Biz Plat card per this article. I called the Membership Rewards number as a previous post advertised. The call was after the two items posted on my Biz Plat statement. After the rep asking if the flights were booked at Amex Travel or at, and my answer of, immediately the rep went into what seemed was a rehearsed or read statement that as a one-time, lifetime courtesy, she would apply points at the 100 per dollar rate. And, she stated that she could apply the 50% bonus rebate at this time as well, also as a one-time courtesy. She then advised that all future Southwest flights would need to be booked by calling the Amex Travel number, which she provided.

    I then called the Amex Travel number and attempted to book a single Southwest flight MCI to LAS. The ticket price quoted was $80 more than the price on, and the agent advised booking directly on, then calling Membership Rewards to apply points to the purchase. I wasn’t sure what to say so I ended the call there. I was really calling to find out if they would try to charge the $39 fee, but at $80 over the advertised price on, I wasn’t sure what the issue could be and decided to HUCA later.

    • You do not have to book Southwest flights through AMEX Travel to get the points rebate. You can book directly on the Southwest website and pay with your Business Platinum card. Then, call AMEX Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276 to apply points to the charge and get your points rebate. The post has been updated with a recent screenshot.

  17. I wanted to follow up on my post from 3/31. I made another Southwest reservation, again booking through When I called Amex Membership Rewards to pay with points and apply the 50% rebate, I had the same experience as Jeremy from above. I was told I needed to book the flights over the phone through Amex travel for the points and rebate to be processed correctly.

  18. I have lodged a formal complaint with Amex regarding this issue, and I’m making this post here to ask if you guys (including the Million Miles Secrets team) might be willing to do the same to convince Amex to change their official policy. This is because I discovered that phoning in to book your ticket through Business Platinum travel (as they say you must do in order to get the 50% rebate) is NOT a viable option.

    When I first purchased my ticket, I followed the instructions on this website. I bought it directly through, then phoned Membership Rewards (1-800-297-3276) to ask about the redemption. They told me that while I could certainly apply MR points to cover the costs (as per Donald’s post), I would not be receiving the 50% rebate back because I did not book it directly through Amex.

    Then they pointed me to this disclaimer:

    Under the Benefit Terms, it states that “If you select Spirit Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or AirTran Airways, to receive your 50% Airline Bonus you must call Business Platinum Travel Service at 1-800-553-9497.”

    So I said fine, the next Southwest ticket I get, I’ll just phone in directly to book. But when I called Business Platinum Travel Service, I discovered that they charge $39 per ticket booking. And that’s not even the most egregious part! For some reason, Amex Travel is unable to access the Wanna Get Away fares, which are the lowest fares on Southwest. So if you want to get the 50% redemption rebate, you MUST purchase an Anytime or Business Select ticket, which (as I’m sure you guys know) is often double or triple the price of the Wanna Get Away fare.

    This is absolutely ridiculous and defeats the entire purpose of the benefit, which was one of the sole reasons I applied for this credit card in the first place. We should not have to jump through hoops and beg CSRs for this benefit when it was presented to us plainly and simply as a 50% redemption rebate from the airline of our choice when we signed up for the card. While the Benefits Terms section talks about the requirement to book through Business Platinum Travel, nowhere does it indicate a $39 fee per ticket, or the inability to book Wanna Get Away fares.

    Like I mentioned before, I’ve submitted a formal complaint to Amex. My hope is that if enough of us lodge complaints, Amex will listen and change their policy to officially allow us to book our tickets using the method presented on this website. Thanks guys!

    • Thanks for writing, Ryan. I updated the post with a recent screenshot and can confirm the step-by-step guide still works. You do not have to book your flight with AMEX Business Platinum Travel. After you book directly on the Southwest website and pay with your Business Platinum card, you can call AMEX Membership Rewards to apply points to the charge and get a points rebate. Hope this helps!

      • Hi Daraius,

        Thanks for confirming, but I was wondering if your method is the current official policy of Amex (as confirmed by them), or if this has just been your own personal experience thus far? The issue is that when I call in to get the rebate, they tell me that I’m ineligible for it as per the terms and conditions, since I did not book it through Platinum Travel.


  19. Can I book Thanksgiving tickets with $ now to lock in a low rate, and then use MR points once I accumulate enough in a few months? Or do you need to call about the MR points soon after the transaction posts?

  20. Hi Darius! I enjoy your blogs and I thank you for your travel guidance. I would like to pitch in a thought I just called the Amex Business Platinum travel to inquiry about the confusions card members are encountering while booking Southwest flights. She says she completely understand. Amex has too many calling departments. The phone number you listed: 1-800-297-3276 is correct when I wanted to book directly with Southwest to avoid $39 per person booking fee and get the 50% rebate. First step was to pay with my Amex Business Platinum card. However, there is an additional step one has to take in order to talk to the right Amex Membership Reward department to get the 50% rebate and NOT the Membership Reward Travel that I believe you forgot to inform your readers. Once you call that phone number (after the credit card ticket purchase transaction post), you will be prompted with a question whether you would like to use points for travel. She instructed me to push NO. I think most readers, like myself, would push YES, but that is where some readers are directed to the wrong department. If you don’t get that prompt, just Make Sure when talking to a live representative to ask if this is the Membership Rewards Department and Not the Membership Rewards TRAVEL Department. The reps at the MR Department will be able to use the 100 points per $1 value redemption rate and apply 50% points “reversal”. The MR TRAVEL Department will or will not work with you and that is why there is confusion between your readers, those Amex reps and your blog instructions.

    I just called that phone number 1-800-297-3276 to find out and surely enough, I was put in the Membership Reward TRAVEL Department (not the right Department). I asked kindly to be transferred to the MR Department and then asked the rep their to confirm that Southwest Airline will have a 100 points to $1 rate and 50% point redemption rebate. He went to find a supervisor to verify because I specifically requested a supervisor to confirm this information. He confirmed that he can do it for Southwest airlines. He also said to call the Platinum MR Department phone number 1-800-297-1090 (I know! Way too many Amex call service departments) and when it prompts you if, “you would like to use points for travel, just say OTHER” and it will go to Membership Rewards.

    I then proceeded to calling the Platinum MR department and was connected to MR Department and got verification on Darius’s Southwest airline 50% point redemption rebate and avoiding $39. I just purchased Southwest tickets on 5/27 and will update you about my results as soon as my transaction post to my credit card. If this is the missing process, then some of you will still have a chance to use the 50% Rebate past the June 1st deadline due to being “grandfathered in” so I hope this will help ease the confusion. Others will still get to enjoy 35% rebate (not the end of the world) and not pay $39 booking fee. Let’s see how this information turns out. Good luck to me!

    • Update 5/31: It works! Got CSR at MR Department (not Travel) to instantly redeemed 118,852 points and saw 59,426 points posted back into account at same time. This is awesome. Got until November when annual fee post to enjoy the 50%. Hope this helps. Did not cost $39 booking fee when using Southwest. I always enjoy MMS.

      • Update 5/31: I was told by the MR Department Rep that on June 1st, they might be restricted from rebating the 50% (or 35%) instantaneously and making use wait 6-8 weeks AND/OR Amex might have us go through the business platinum travel department to book ($39 per ticket fee for Southwest Airlines) as stated on the Amex terms and conditions. She is not sure because they have not crossed the deadline so they do not know what the computers will or will not allow the MR Department CSR do when June 1st hits. These are all stipulations and we need to wait until June 1st arrives. I do not like to mislead anyone, but it is very confusing. Luckily I was able to duplicate Darius method for the time being. Good Luck!

  21. I just got this to work but it took some time on the phone. I made the mistake of talking with Travel first, but when I got to the Membership Rewards operator they went ahead and allowed me to pay with rewards for SW flights charged on the card. I haven’t seen the credit to the account yet however. They didn’t give me any warning about changes to the policy coming.

  22. I booked a flight on 5/31 but called minutes after the MR Department had closed for the day. Tried a chat but didn’t expect anything based on above posts and he did say he could only do 166/$1, so I got off. Tried to call this morning and was told I needed to wait 48 hours for the charge to show up on their end and by then I could only get a 35% bonus. So I guess the rule was we had to have the points applied by 5/31? Any hope of me calling again and getting them to give me the 5% bonus?

    • Cathleen, wait for the transaction to go from pending to post. It should still be dated 5/31 if you purchased on that date. My transaction recorded at 5/27 even though it finally got posted on 5/31. Then call MR and hash it out. Do not take no for an answer. Hang up and call again or ask for Supervisor to reconsider. They will probably say, “This is a one time exemption….blah blah blah!” Good Luck! Keep us updated.

      • Thanks, David. I did get through to the correct department and she said I “should” be able to get 50% of the points back because I booked before June 1. However, it’s now taking 10-12 weeks for points to be refunded so I suppose I might have to fight it in a few months if that does not happen.

  23. Hello,

    I am trying to confirm that someone has done this recently before I make Southwest my preferred airline. Just called Amex about this and they said I would need to book through Amex travel for a $39 fee and that I could not book then get a refund of points. The rep did seem to be a bit clueless. Has anyone done this recently?

  24. Yeah I’m also wondering if anyone has been able to get it to work after getting the “one time exception.”

  25. In February I was able to do this successfully with a Southwest flight, but tonight, following the June 1 change, I have been rejected by multiple CSR reps. I followed the exact procedures I did in February, booking on SW, then calling the correct number (Membership Rewards 3276). I have been grandfathered in until Feb. 2018 at the 50% rate, but CSR reps (at multiple supervisor levels) tell me they have received an email that EXPLICITLY forbids them giving the points refund after the fact. I think this change was made at the same time as the reduction to 35% refund. It’s now required to book through Amex Platinum travel, and yes you have to pay $39 for SW bookings. I’m still getting the 50% points bonus, but it will be 6-8 weeks on refund of points. I don’t think there is any way around it now. The rep did actually forgo the $39 fee because it was such a hassle for me to cancel my original flight, and then rebook through Amex. And it still cost me 2000 more points than I originally had it booked for on SW, but was still a 8000 points saving vs. booking with SW points.