AMEX Platinum Charge adds additional redemption options for air credits

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AMEX Platinum Charge members will be able to redeem their S$400 air credit on spa packages, Mandarin Oriental gift cards and the iPhone 13.

I recently published my latest AMEX Platinum Charge: Year in Review piece, where I looked at the value I’d derived from the S$1,712 annual fee over the past 12 months. 

AMEX Platinum Charge: 2020/21 Analysis
For a breakdown of the (subjective) figures below, refer to this article
PerkValue
Hotel & Airline Travel CreditS$600
Love Dining & ChillaxS$550
More Value From Platinum- DiningS$350
More Value From Platinum S$300
Dining VouchersS$280
2-nights Frasers Hospitality voucherS$250
1-night Hotel StayS$200
3x wine vouchersS$88
TotalS$2,618

One of my main pain points was the difficulty in using the annual $400 air travel credit. I’ve currently got three of these on hand, and with borders closed and flight schedules uncertain, I found myself forced into making a whole bunch of speculative bookings for mid-2022.

Well there’s some good news here. American Express has shared with me that they’re rolling out additional redemption options for air travel credits. Official comms and eDMs will follow in the next couple of weeks, but I’m able to give you a sneak peek ahead of time. 

Update: The landing page showcasing the various options is now live here.

These are valid for redemption till 31 December 2021, and for the avoidance of doubt, only apply to air travel credits; hotel credits cannot be used in this manner. 

New redemption options for air travel credits

The following options are already available for redemption. Cardholders can call the number on the back of their card and request them via AMEX Platinum customer support. 

Adeva Spa

OptionsNett Price
(After S$400 air credits)

Option 1 – Anti-Aging Expert Treatment
(Duration 90 mins | Retail at S$756)

  • MP² Skin Rejuvenate
  • MP² Eye rejuvenation

Option 2 – Collagen Treatment
(Duration 90 mins | Retail at S$654)

  • Collagen² Repair Face Spa
  • Collagen Infusion (Neck Rejuvenation)

Option 3 – Couple Spa Retreat
(Duration: 120mins | Retail at S$792)

  • 60 mins Body Massage
  • 60 mins Facial
S$0

Spa Rael

OptionsNett Price
(After S$400 air credits)

Option 1 – Spa Rael Couple Spa Retreat
(Duration: 90mins | Retail at S$622)

  • 60 mins Body Massage
  • 30 mins Body Polish
  • Complimentary Add-on: Couple Room

 Option 2 – Anti-Aging Expert Treatment*
*Only available at Goodwood Park Hotel
(Duration: 90mins | Retail at S$737)

  • Cellec Lucent and Eye Renewal

 Option 3 – Escape to Paradise
(Duration: 135 mins | Retail at S$639)

  • 60 mins Body Massage
  • 75 mins Facial treatment with Collagen eye mask
S$0

Mandarin Oriental

OptionsNett Price
(After S$400 air credits)
  • Option 1 – US$1,000
  • Option 2 – US$1,200
  • Option 3 – US$1,500
  • Option 4 – US$1,800
  • Option 5 –US$2,000
  • Option 1 – US$700
  • Option 2 – US$870
  • Option 3 – US$1,125
  • Option 4 – US$1,380
  • Option 5 – US$1,550

Challenger

The following option will be added in early October, so sit tight and wait for official comms to go out. 

OptionsNett Price
(After S$400 air credits)
Credit for iPhone 13 (any sub-model) and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3

S$400 offset from price of purchased item

Individual T&Cs apply to each of these redemptions, and processing time is 2-3 weeks. 

Which one is the best option?

Here’s where I’ll trot out the usual “value is subjective” disclaimer, because what I find valuable may be different from you. In my opinion, however, I’d skip the spa packages and look at the Mandarin Oriental gift cards/Challenger discount. 

iPhone 13

If you were already planning to buy the new iPhone 13, then the air travel credit is now as good as cash. It remains to be seen which Samsung phone is covered, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t something fairly recent. 

Mandarin Oriental Munich

The Mandarin Oriental gift cards are also intriguing, particularly because the value of your air travel credit depends on which denomination you purchase. 

DenominationBilled to CardValue of Air Travel Credit
US$1,000US$700US$300
(~S$408)
US$1,200US$870US$330
(~S$449)
US$1,500US$1,125US$375
(~S$510)
US$1,800US$1,380US$420
(~S$571)
US$2,000US$1,550US$450
(~S$612)

Gift card value expires after three years (unlike regular MO gift cards, which don’t expire), and can be redeemed over one or more transactions for stays, spa services, dining, boutique purchases and leisure activities. All Mandarin Oriental properties worldwide accept gift cards, with the exception of the following:

  • Mandarin Oriental Taipei
  • Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
  • Morton’s, the Steakhouse and Teppan-Ya at Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
  • Sushi Shikon and Kappon Rin at The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental
  • Wasabi Bistro at Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur

Two important things to note if you’re considering this option:

  • AMEX charges a 2.95% FCY fee, which will be billed to your account when you purchase the gift cards
  • Mandarin Oriental applies a 4% cross currency exchange fee, if gift cards are redeemed in a currency other than USD

This means you effectively get 6.95% less value, which you’ll want to factor into your calculations. 

Should you stick with air tickets?

But where can you go?

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using your air travel credits as they were originally intended- for plane tickets.

The problem is that it’s so hard to predict whether your travel plans will come to fruition. While there are indeed numerous countries which accept vaccinated Singaporeans without quarantine, returning to Singapore remains the problem. The only two-way quarantine free arrangement is currently with Germany, although I’m hopeful we’ll see more added by the end of 2021. 

And if your goal (like mine) is to limit out-of-pocket expenditure on air tickets, you’ll probably be confined to regional destinations rather than long-haul ones. That’s why so many of my speculative bookings are for Bangkok- it’s one of the few places where you can book two return Economy Class tickets for just over S$400. 

Another option to consider is Bali, where KLM is offering sub-S$600 round-trip Business Class fares throughout most of 2022.

This represents a rare opportunity to try their long-haul Business Class product on a short-haul flight (review), and if you can save S$400, why not?

KLM long-haul Business Class, available on its Boeing 777 flights to Bali

Should you go down this route, you need a Plan B if borders remain closed (or if quarantine restrictions make travel impractical). Most airlines are offering flexibility policies that waive change fees provided tickets are issued by a certain date. 

Conclusion

AMEX Platinum Charge members will soon have additional redemption options for their annual S$400 air travel credit. These are certainly much improved from the dire Harvey Norman option that cardholders were offered last year, and could be as good as cash for someone looking to get the latest iPhone. 

AMEX Platinum Charge members: Will you be taking any of these?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Shashank

Hi Aaron,

I imagine you’ve answered this somewhere but I couldn’t find the answer. Apologies. As an Amex platinum charge card member does it make sense to book flight tickets using points to pay on the amex travel site or does it make sense to convert the points to krisflyer miles and use the miles to book the tickets. Thanks.

Shashank

Thank you for the quick response !

Boonteck

I saw there are options for “Alternative S$400 Lodging Credits Options” on the site now. Anyone have explored those options?

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