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How American Express Travel can elevate your next trip

Nov. 05, 2021
9 min read
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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.

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Related: Everything you need to know about Amex Travel

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.

(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.

(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.

(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.

(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.

(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.

(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

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023