Three Cards That Offer Rebates On Award Redemptions

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Several cards not only give you points when you meet their sign up bonuses and spend on them, but also rebate points back to you when you redeem your rewards.

This post covers the Business Platinum Amex, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, which are all offering temporarily elevated, lucrative sign up bonuses at the moment and offer rebates on redemptions.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.

  • Enhanced Business Platinum by American Express
  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Enhanced Business Platinum from American Express

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Business Platinum Card Members can redeem their Membership Rewards for 2 cents per point toward paid flights in economy on one airline…

When you choose an airline for your $200 annual airline fee statement credit, you’ll also be able to redeem Membership Rewards for 2 cents per point toward paid flights on that same airline.

…and 2 cents per point toward any paid First or Business Class flight.

The catch is that you must have enough points to cover a booking at 1 cent per point. You also must book through American Express Travel inside your Amex account (Pay with Points). Not long after, you’ll be rebated half the points back. The card’s terms and conditions claim your rebated points will post six to eight weeks after redemptions, but this Flyertalkers say points are rebated within 36 hours.

Scott explained how to turn this benefit into getting anywhere from 2% to 9% back on all purchases this post. It’s easy to see how you could get a 2% return on purchases. But how do you get up to a 9% return? There are other Amex cards with better category bonuses on spending, like the Amex Everyday Preferred Card which earns 4.5 Membership Rewards per dollar on all supermarket purchases as long as you have at least 30 transactions on the card per month. If you also have a Business Platinum card, you can transfer the Membership Rewards earned with your Everyday Preferred Card to your Business Platinum account, meaning you can them redeem them for paid airfare on your selected airline in economy or any paid airfare in Business or First Class and get the 50% rebate. At 2 cents per point and 4.5 points per dollar of spending, that’s a 9% return on spending.

Sign Up Bonus

Through January 25, 2017, the Business Platinum card from American Express is offering 100,000 total bonus points:

  • 50,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 50,000 more bonus points after spending another $10,000 in the first three months

The card has a $450 annual fee, but comes with many benefits that help outweigh it. Read more about how to get the most out of the benefits (most of which are not automatic) from your Amex Platinum card.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard

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Citi AAdvantage Platinum–not Gold or Executive–cardholders receive a 10% rebate on the miles used to book American Airlines awards. You are capped at 10,000 miles rebated per calendar year.

That means a 45,000 mile off peak roundtrip to Europe is only 40,500 miles net. An 80,000 mile award in Japan Airline First Class to Japan one way would be 72,000 miles net.

A cardholder who redeems 100,000 American Airlines miles each year (very doable for most people) gets back 10,000 American Airlines miles. You don’t have to do anything to receive the refund of miles. The process is automatic and the rebate posts within a few weeks. Here’s a post Scott wrote about the benefit in 2012.

Sign Up Bonus

The Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard’s sign up bonus was just elevated, for a limited time only, to 50,000 American Airlines for spending $3,000 within three months of opening the card.

Citi also has a business credit card co-branded with American Airlines, the CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World MasterCard, and it also has a 50k sign up bonus for spending $3,000 in three months (also for a limited time). But note that the refund on redeemed American Airlines miles is not a perk of the CitiBusiness card–the 10% rebate is only available to those with the personal card.

Both cards have a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

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The rewards earned by the Arrival Plus card are called Arrival miles. You earn two miles per dollar on all purchases. Each mile is worth 1 cent when redeemed for travel. You’ll also get 5% of the redeemed miles back instantly as a rebate when redeeming Arrival miles on travel expenses.

The way to redeem these miles is to purchase any travel expense with the card, then request a statement credit with your miles. See how to redeem Arrival miles.

Travel expenses are defined broadly and include:

  • any flight on any airline (no need to search for award space!)
  • taxes and fees on an airline award ticket
  • any hotel expense (including bed & breakfasts, hostels, and non-chain hotels)
  • cruises
  • car rentals
  • taxis
  • ferries
  • passenger trains
  • campgrounds
  • much more

Example: You have 20,000 miles in your account. You use the credit card to purchase a $150 roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on any airline you want.

You redeem 15,000 of your miles, and the $150 charge disappears. You got a free $150 flight for your 15,000 miles. In addition, of course, you will earn miles from flying a paid flight since the airline you are flying to Vegas was paid cash for your ticket! Because of this redemption method, there are no blackout dates or capacity controls. You can redeem the miles for any seat, any time, on any airline, to anywhere.

What I’ve described so far is only 2% back, but let’s go back to the same example we just looked at to consider the rebate:

  1. We redeemed 15,000 miles for a $150 flight. Since the redemption was for travel, we get 5% of the miles back. 750 miles will be redeposited into our account.
  2. You earn 2 miles per dollar even on purchases that you redeem miles to redeem from your statement.
  3. When we purchased the $150 flight, we earned 300 Arrival miles.

That means the net result is we spend 13,950 Arrival miles [750 + 300 – 15,000] and get a $150 ticket, or 1.075 cents of value per mile.

Sign Up Bonus

For a limited time, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus comes with 50,000 bonus Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. The old bonus was 40,000 points.

The annual fee of $89 is waived the first year.

Bottom Line

I think one of the best aspects of cards that refund a portion of your redeemed miles or points is that as long as you can book two legs of a trip (or award) separately without the price being affected, you can book trips (or awards) that you may not have enough rewards for outright if you booked the whole roundtrip at once.

For example, let’s say you need 45k American Airlines miles to book a roundtrip flight off peak to Europe and only have 43k. You could book the outbound leg for 22.5k, wait for your rebated points to post (2.25k) and then book the return leg.

There are many reasons why the Business Platinum, the Citi/ AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus are appealing cards. They all have excellent sign up bonuses at the moment and come with great benefit packages. The rebate on redeemed miles and points that each offers is just icing on the cake.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. The Arrival card is only 5% now? Used to be 10% 🙁 I dropped the card after the first year, so I can’t double check if older cards are grandfathered, but my older Priceline card (also by Barclay) is still 10% rebate on travel purchases (and 50% rebate on redemptions on Priceline name-your-price purchases)

  2. Haven’t completely nailed this scenario yet but I have a companion pass through southwest. The platinum business Amex with southwest as my chosen airline for rebating half my points (I hope) and the Amex business blue with an introductory 10x points on restaurants.

    This I’m hoping is 10x points at 2cents value on booking with southwest through Amex platinum and then adding my southwest companion later on to double the value equaling 40% discount at restaurants.

    New to points, the platinum booking, and adding the companion so I hope it works out.

    • Companion works exactly how you’d want it to, pretty much. The only weird part is that you have to add the companion by phone after you’ve made your reservation. I’ve done it like five times and never had a problem.

      However, southwest points are only 1.6c iirc.. definitely not 2c.

  3. Not finding any way for a SW credit card holder to make a referral so I could get 50,000 points. She even called Chase. Anyone finding more than 40,000 points for signing up for either personal card from SW?

  4. BarclayCard’s partnership with American offers the new Aviator Red, with 40K miles after paying the annual $95 fee and making a purchase within 90 days. You also get 10% of redeemed miles back on American

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