How to use the free flight benefit that comes with the Amex Platinum Edge

NZ Platinum Edge Free Flight Benefit
GUIDE: Program Guide
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: November 20, 2019
UPDATED: November 24, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Air New Zealand Airpoints

One of the headline benefits of the American Express Platinum Edge card is the free domestic return flight on Air New Zealand that’s offered each cardholder year.

There are a few things to know to be able to use the flight for maximum value, so I thought I’d run through some of the detail on how to redeem the flight and do so most effectively.

Available destinations

The flight benefit is available for all direct routes on the Air New Zealand domestic flight network in select grabaseat booking classes.

Earning Airpoints and status points

Earning points and status seems to be hit and miss.

According to the terms, there are no Airpoints Dollars and status points on offer for the American Express redemption flights, but from my experience, you always get them.

Assume you won’t get any, and if you do, it’s a bonus.

Read the Terms and Conditions here to learn more.

Researching and making your free flight booking

You can book this flight by calling the American Express Travel Services on 0800 332 268.

Availability showing on the Air New Zealand Grabaseat website is not a guaranteed indicator that American Express will be able to book the flight you are after but it is a good starting point.

Other info and terms of the free Air New Zealand flight

These are the key terms of the free flight on the card:

  • You will get a new free-flight available to book every cardholder (not calendar) year, meaning once the next annual fee has hit your statement you can go ahead and book another flight
  • The flight has to be booked as a return with specific dates on both legs (you can’t leave the return open-ended). If the return is not available, you can book one-way, but you forfeit the return leg.
  • Each flight must be a non-stop return flight between two New Zealand cities under grabaseat booking class – which can be booked from 10 months in advance to as little as 2 weeks before the intended flight
  • You can book the flight in someone else’s name, but not for an unaccompanied minor
  • Once booked, changes may be made subject to grabaseat Terms and Conditions

All up—it’s not a particularly flexible ticket, so I’d avoid using it for travel where you need flexibility.

Read the Terms and Conditions here to learn more.

What else is there to consider?

Don’t let the free flight go unused if you haven’t booked it by the time your annual fee comes due.

You should always try and use the flight before the end of your Card Membership year, and there are two ways to get use out of the flight even if you don’t have firm travel plans yet.

Do you have any tentative plans for any time in the next year? If so, you can book your flight a year out from the date of the booking, and if you are close to your annual fee renewal date and haven’t used the flight yet, consider trips you might be taking and tentatively book them in.

Even if you don’t end up taking them, at least the flight wasn’t left completely unused.

Secondly, have a think about whether there’s anyone you know who would be able to use the flight. It’s totally possible to book it in someone else’s name.

You can also book a free trip for two people by timing your flight redemptions carefully. By booking one redemption just before the end of your cardholder year (and using the flight for that year) and then one just after your annual fee is due (using the flight for the following year), you could use two flights for a trip any time up to around 330 days into the future.

Summing up

The free flight benefit that comes each year that you hold the American Express Platinum Edge card is a big win for Card Members.

Be sure to understand the routes that are available from your home airport and to book your trip as a return flight.

Remember, you can book this flight in someone else’s name but note that this benefit is not particularly flexible after locking in a booking.

How about you? Any great tips for getting more out of your flight, or good trips you’ve had when using it?

How to use the free flight benefit that comes with the Amex Platinum Edge was last modified: November 24th, 2019 by Daniel Kinnoch