Don’t forget to enter my contests for a free roundtrip ticket on American Airlines and/or 25,000 United MileagePlus miles or Hyatt Gold Passport points! You don’t have to comment on that post specifically, just any post over the next 13 days. Comment as much as you like, each comment earns one entry.
For those patronizing American Airlines, it’s always a smart idea to get a BusinessExtrAA account. This is a business program AA has had around for quite some time that allows you to earn additional points for flights on AA, albeit in a slightly different currency. You enter your BusinessExtrAA number into any reservation you make for yourself or others and you’ll earn BusinessExtrAA points. The passenger still earns all the normal AAdvantage miles they would normally earn for these purchases, so it really is a little something extra.
After I redeemed the award for the free ticket I’m giving away using my BusinessExtrAA points I was having a discussion with Gary and we noticed there’s a BusinessExtrAA American Express card (well, actually 2 of them, but I’m detailing one right now).
The American Express/BusinessExtrAA Platinum Card is actually kind of interesting. A quick overview:
The card appears to have an annual fee of $395, so just a shade less than the AMEX Platinum ($450).
The card comes with Admirals’ Club access, though not a full membership. According to the T&C the benefit is pretty much the same as the AMEX Platinum benefit where you can access the clubs when you are traveling on an AA flight that day. It also entitles you to bring two traveling companions or your spouse and children.
A 1% rebate on all spend. You earn a $50 American Airlines gift card for every $5,000 you spend on the card.
A 4% rebate on all AA flights. This is an especially rewarding benefit for most regular travelers. According to the T&C, you’ll earn this rebate on the first $1,000,000 in base fare you charge to the card (taxes and fees are not eligible). As long as you’re booking directly with AA and not through one of their own travel desks, the 4% seems to be legit. It’s paid quarterly in electronic funds or a check.
Through my searches it wasn’t clear whether you received 4% back on AA fares PLUS the 1% rebate for all spend listed above (for a total of 5% on all AA tickets).
The card also gives you access to the Savings At Work program, a mish-mash of discounts some of which are useful. For example, 15% off a National Car Rental or 8% off specific Hilton properties (Best Available Rate). There’s a 5% Fedex discount, though you can already get that through Open. Not a ton of value to this benefit, but the discounts are all included.
There’s also baggage insurance of $2,000 per checked bag if your ticket is charged to this card, along with $500,000 in “Business Travel Accident Insurance”. This appears to be some combination of basic accident insurance and life insurance. I couldn’t find many more details about it.
This comparison chart also lists a domestic companion ticket as a benefit, but I had to dig around a bit to find the T&C for this. If you want to see how the sausage is made, the entire thing is here, but these are the salient details:
On your 1-year anniversary, AMEX will send you a companion ticket in the mail. It’s valid on a domestic flight where another fare of at least $299 is purchased for travel in the 48 contiguous states. It’s just for the card-holder. These T&C list blackout dates for 2010 and 2011. One can assume there are blackout dates for 2013, though I was not able to turn them up.
If this sounds like a card that works for you, there are some roadblocks. Turns out you can’t apply for this card online. I called the corporate card division and had to leave a message for someone to return my call. 5 hours later I received a call back. Instead of answering my questions they had a bunch of questions to see if I qualified to have a specialist call me back. Also turns out you need a minimum of $4,000,000 in revenue to apply. That being said, the agent I spoke with had no idea what “revenue” actually was, and was very uninformed, so this might yield better answers when I hear back from a specialist. Unfortunately, the corporate card business at AMEX must be pretty busy since they couldn’t schedule a return call for a week.
So, more to follow…