Amex’s Big Premium Flight Discounts Are Now Bookable Online

May 1, 2019

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One of the lesser-known benefits of Amex’s premium cards is the International Airline Program (IAP). While the offering’s branding could perhaps use a touch more excitement, cardmembers in the know are able to save thousands of dollars on certain paid airline tickets.

Access is fairly limited, though you can take advantage of the program if you have one of the following premium cards:

Previously, IAP tickets could only be booked over the phone or via Amex’s chat tool, which made searching a pain and required a $39 service fee per ticket. That’s no longer the case, though — now, as TPG reader Steven pointed out, eligible cardmembers can book discounted first, business and premium-economy tickets via Amex’s website as well.

Officially, there are 25 participating airlines, though in practice not all will return a discount every time. I’ve found that Delta is the most common US-based carrier to offer a discount, though the savings can be limited, depending on the fare and route.

While the discount is available starting with premium economy, you’ll see the savings jump as the cabin (and fare) goes up.

All searches reference the regular fare as well, which I found to be accurate every time — Amex lists the non-discounted fare as $2,719 above, and that’s indeed what you’ll pay if booking directly with Delta.

You’ll save considerably more with first-class bookings — this Cathay Pacific round-trip is marked down by more than $3,000, which can certainly make a big dent in a sky-high fare.

You will indeed pay more for the same flights when booking directly through Cathay — moving forward, if you’re in the market for any premium-cabin fares, it certainly makes sense to do a quick search through Amex Travel, too.

You can book these tickets via cash, earning 5 points per dollar for the purchase (equivalent to a 10% return, based on our valuations), or you can pay with points if you prefer. Business Platinum customers who book IAP tickets with points through will be eligible for the 35% Airline Bonus, in the form of an account credit, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.

Note that you’ll need to be a US-based cardmember in order to take advantage, and only flights originating in the United States or certain Canadian gateways are eligible. Assuming you meet those requirements, though — and you have an Amex Platinum, Business Platinum or Centurion Card attached to your account — you should be good to go.

Featured photo of Cathay Pacific first class by JT Genter/The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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