American Express Platinum to Eliminate Domestic Companion Airfare Program

High Anxiety notes that American Express is terminating its domestic companion airfare program, about a year and a half after it started. A real bummer.

The outsourced program (to API) was annoying to work with, very much non-transparent as to which flights were eligible and a cumbersome booking process (by phone, not the sharpest agents, and then the need to get transferred to reconfirm everything once the booking was over). But it was also a value that is being taken away from Platinum cardholders, and I will miss it.

Fortunately there are still several companion airfare offers that are worthwhile, such as the Alaska Airlines $50 companion ticket that comes with the Bank of America co-branded credit card and the US Airways $99 companion ticket that comes with both the Bank of America co-branded Visa and the Barclays co-branded Mastercard. And not only do you get those tickets annually with each card, but the cards are churnable as well so you can get as many as you need (though none of the cards are regularly offered at no fee).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Your blog is awesome! Just wanted you know that Hilton has taken down the link you posted for the gold status 🙁

  2. I understand times are tough, but do they realize the consequences of dropping this program? Aside from myself, I have spoken with lots of my customers who are infuriated with the change.

    Just a reference.. I spend $125,000 a year or more on the AMEX card through personal and business. Switch that to Mastercard/Visa @ say 2% card fee… they lost more than just the $400/yr, they lost about $2900 (CC transaction fees from my purchases + my membership).

    Multiply that by 1000 people doing the same as me and you have AMEX losing $2,900,000 per YEAR! Ouch! And that’s assuming they are only making 2% on purchases, which is usually not the case, and assuming only 1000 people dropped the program!

    Funny thing is they are still justifying the $400/yr fee by increasing things like baggage loss to $3000… whoop-ti-doo.. This will effect 1 out of 1000!

    I think the smartest thing they could have done was reduce the number of free domestic flights (or something similar rather than cancelling altogether). Two(2) flights would still be worth it considering most flights are lingering around $200+. If I took 2 flights with my wife and saved her ticket expense it would likely match the yearly fee in savings. Even if it didn’t exactly meet the expense, the typical delays at airports “forcing” me to have a drink in the Private Lounges would make up for it. Either way, I would definitely maintain the card and AMEX would maintain the $2900/yr I referred to above.

    I’ll probably be looking to drop AMEX altogether, ’cause there is no real point to have them anymore @ $400/yr. I’m hoping there will be enough complaints that something will be done. (I sent an email online, called, & chat to complain in a nice way of course)

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