Free flights removed from existing AMEX Platinum Edge cards

Sally McMullen 20 December 2016

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The free domestic flight will be replaced by a $200 travel voucher for current cardholders.

Earlier this year, American Express announced that it would be replacing its annual gift of a free Virgin Australia flight with a $200 travel credit. While the travel credit was previously only available for new cardholders, AMEX has announced that existing cardholders can take advantage of the credit as of 30 March 2017.

If you haven’t used your free flight by 30 March, it will automatically be replaced by the travel credit. If you use your free flight before 30 March, you won’t receive your travel credit until your next account anniversary.

Whether the travel credit is better value for you will depend on the cost of the flight you’d usually redeem with your free flight gift. Let’s say you used it for a free flight from Sydney to Melbourne worth $259; you would no longer be able to redeem this flight with your $200 travel credit.

However, you do have more flexibility with an American Express travel credit. As well as flights, you can use your travel credit for hotel bookings, car hire, experiences and cruise costs. Plus, while the free flights could only be used with Virgin Australia, the $200 credit can be used for flights with over 40 airlines including Qantas, Emirates and British Airways. The American Express Platinum Edge card currently has an annual fee of $195, so the value of the travel voucher also offsets the yearly cost of the card.

There are some American Express credit cards that still offer complimentary flights. This includes the American Express Qantas Ultimate credit card and its yearly domestic Economy return flight with Qantas and the American Express Velocity Platinum card that offers a domestic return flight with Virgin Australia. The ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures Card also comes with a complimentary domestic flight with Virgin Australia, but you need to spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months to enjoy the flight. The Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card also offers a complimentary $129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher each year, which you can use for flights and holiday bookings. Each of these cards has an annual fee of between $64 and $450, so you’ll need to make sure that the value of the of the voucher (and other features of the card) outweigh the costs to get maximum value. You can compare the cards that offer complimentary flights and travel vouchers with our guide.

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