Why the Amex International Airline Program discount is worth it

Feb 10, 2020

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit cards information and benefits. It was originally published on June 29, 2017.

The American Express International Airline Program is one of the lesser-known benefits for those who hold The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (or the Centurion Card from American Express). What was once an inaccessible and essentially useless tool for many of its cardholders was updated in 2017 to offer discounts on first, business and premium economy tickets.

Related reading: The Platinum Card from American Express review

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

With the program, you can buy up to eight tickets at discounted fares from participating airlines. Note that a Platinum or Centurion cardholder must be traveling on the same reservation. For example, if a parent with the card books the trip for a child, but the child doesn’t have a Amex Platinum card, the child can’t fly without the cardholder.

Related reading: A review of the Business Platinum Card from American Express

You can use Pay With Points for all or part of your fare, and you’ll still get miles from the airline. In addition, there’s a $39 service fee per ticket, but that’s waived for Centurion cardholders. In the past, cardholders booked these tickets by calling 1-800-525-3355 (personal Amex Platinum) or 1-800-492-8468 (Business Platinum) to receive a price quote and then book. However, in 2019, Amex improved its program by making these tickets available online.

Here are the airlines that are eligible under the International Airline Program (IAP):

 

The amount you can save varies, but we ran a few examples through Amex to see the potential savings. You’ll see which flights are eligible by the wording on your search results:

New York-JFK to Paris (CDG) in business:

Trip total on American Express' website

Booking through Amex IAP would have saved $170, representing almost a 9% discount.

Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (NRT) in business:

Booking through Amex IAP would have saved $380.93, representing a 10% discount.

These discounts aren’t huge, but they’re available online and can save cardholders hundreds of dollars without expending a lot of effort.

Additional reporting by Carissa Rawson

Featured photo by The Points Guy

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