How American Express Travel can elevate your next trip

Nov 5, 2021

There are a ton of perks that come with having a card from American Express — many of which can make your travel experience more rewarding and luxurious. From airport lounge access to airline fee credits and benefits at top-notch resorts around the world, holding the right Amex card can transform your time on the road.

However, there’s also a way for Amex cardholders to do this when making flight reservations — by booking online with American Express Travel. For select cards, American Express Travel can save you money and provide additional flexibility when it’s time to use your Membership Rewards® points, a valuable combination as travel continues to rebound.

Here are some of the ways Amex Travel can elevate your next trip.

Related: Everything you need to know about Amex Travel

In This Post

Unlock special prices

Thanks to Insider Fares and the International Airline Program through American Express Travel, eligible cardholders can save on domestic and international airfare across cabins. And because airfare purchased through Amex Travel comes in coded as a revenue ticket, you also earn airline miles and credit toward elite status (more on that below).

Searching for airfare on American Express Travel is easy: Simply navigate to this page, then click Log In and enter your account credentials. From there, begin searching for the type of travel you want.

The search box for flights on American Express Travel
(Screen shot courtesy of American Express Travel)

However, this isn’t just a place to search for flights. There are many ways you can use American Express Travel to unlock special pricing for your next trip — and here are two programs exclusively for eligible card members.

Insider Fares

Insider Fares give you access to flight deals on select domestic and international itineraries, and they’re offered on all eligible American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points, including:

When searching for airfare at AmexTravel.com, Insider Fares will appear only if you have enough Membership Rewards points to cover the entire cost of the ticket — but they won’t be available on every flight. In addition, Insider Fares must be booked entirely with points.

A Delta Airlines flight with an Insider Fare through American Express Travel
(Screen shot courtesy of American Express Travel)

In the above example, the Insider Fare would save you over 3,000 Membership Rewards points on this one-way flight from New York-JFK to Los Angeles (LAX).

And you could save even more when booking a Delta One ticket on the same flight.

A Delta Air Lines flight with Insider Fares through American Express Travel
(Screen shot courtesy of American Express Travel)

Travelers could save nearly 18,000 Membership Rewards points to fly in the first-class cabin on this example.

And while Insider Fares are limited to flights booked at AmexTravel.com entirely using points, there’s another way to save when paying with your card at AmexTravel.com.

International Airline Program

Cardholders of the Amex Platinum and the Amex Business Platinum cards can save when booking premium-cabin seats on international flights with the International Airline Program through American Express Travel.

You can find these fares on more than 25 airlines, and the program includes both refundable and nonrefundable tickets. It also extends to a total of eight travelers — you (as the cardholder) and up to seven companions.

Best of all, you can pay for your ticket with your card, points or a combination of both — and don’t forget that you also still earn airline miles as you normally would, which you can then redeem for future travel.

Unlike Insider Fares, the International Airline Program is available to eligible cardholders no matter your current amount of Membership Rewards points. You also have the option to pay with your card or with your Membership Rewards points. And the higher the class of service, the greater the potential for savings.

Screenshot of flight from Miami to London through American Express Travel.
(Screen shot courtesy of American Express Travel)

In the above example, holders of either the Platinum or Business Platinum card would save $155 or 15,500 points on this round-trip, business-class ticket from Miami (MIA) to London-Heathrow (LHR).

There’s even savings to be had when booking many premium-economy tickets through American Express Travel. In this example, you would save about $108 or 10,800 points on a round-trip ticket on the same flight from Miami to London.

Screenshot of flight from Miami to London through American Express Travel.
(Screen shot courtesy of American Express Travel)

These savings appear automatically for participating airlines when searching for flights at AmexTravel.com — giving you another reason to start your flight searches there.

Related: The ultimate guide to American Express Membership Rewards

Don’t worry about award availability

While it’s true that you can transfer Membership Rewards points to travel partners, it may be worthwhile to book through American Express Travel thanks to the additional flexibility you can get. For starters, award availability through airline programs is limited — especially in premium cabins. And transfers to airline partners can’t be reversed, so a canceled flight could leave you with miles that are much less flexible than Membership Rewards points.

The last thing you want is for those points to be stuck somewhere you can’t use them.

Luckily, you can always use points to pay for flights booked through American Express Travel, because there are no blackout dates.

Screenshot of British Airways flight from Miami to London through American Express Travel.
(Screen shot courtesy of British Airways)

The same British Airways flight above doesn’t have any award availability in any class of service at the time of writing. But you wouldn’t have to worry about that when you book with Amex Travel — and you’d still be saving whether you chose to pay with points or with your card.

Earn rewards for your next trip

The Platinum and Business Platinum cards are great for earning Membership Rewards points on flights booked through American Express Travel as well.

Those who have the Platinum card earn 5x Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines and at AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per calendar year), while Business Platinum cardholders can earn 5x on airfare booked at AmexTravel.com. (Both can also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels booked at AmexTravel.com.)

But other cards offer bonuses on airfare purchases too. For example, the Amex Gold card awards 3x points for flights booked directly with the airline and at AmexTravel.com — so you don’t need to have a Platinum card to earn bonus Membership Rewards points.

And remember — you also earn airline miles and credit toward any applicable airline elite status requirements on the flights as you normally would, because airfare booked through American Express Travel comes in coded as a revenue ticket. This is true whether you pay for your flight with your card or with Membership Rewards points, allowing you to earn rewards across two programs — and potentially putting you closer to a given airline’s elite status.

Spend your pre-flight time relaxing in the Centurion Lounge, available for select American Express cardholders in over a dozen U.S. airports. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Enjoy benefits while traveling

In addition to the above benefits from booking through American Express Travel and at AmexTravel.com, it’s also worth noting that Platinum cardholders have access to many additional perks that can enhance their experience on the road. This includes:

*Enrollment required for select benefits. Terms and conditions also apply. Please see each benefit’s page for details.

For more details, check out our complete guide on maximizing benefits with the Amex Platinum card.

Bottom line

American Express Travel can elevate your flight booking experience by allowing you to save on airfare with two programs: Insider Fares and the International Airline Program.

Insider Fares are available to eligible American Express card members that are enrolled in the Membership Rewards program, while the International Airline Program is limited to holders of the Platinum and Business Platinum cards. And using your Membership Rewards points for flights in either program means you don’t have to worry about scant award availability through frequent flyer programs.

Perhaps most importantly, all flights purchased through American Express Travel and at AmexTravel.com — whether with points or using your card — will count as revenue tickets and thus be eligible to earn miles as you normally would and count toward applicable airline elite status requirements.

For these reasons, consider starting your flight searches for your next trip with American Express Travel.

For full Platinum card benefits and their terms and conditions, click here.
For full Gold card benefits and their terms and conditions, click here.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy