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Amex launches new flexible payment option for flights as travel bookings surge by 50%

May 13, 2021
3 min read
Amex launches new flexible payment option for flights as travel bookings surge by 50%
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As we approach summer, travel is on the mend.

With a large portion of the U.S. fully vaccinated, the historically busy travel season will be roaring back to life. Airlines have responded by pouring additional capacity to leisure-focused destinations, all the way from the sun-soaked beaches of Florida to iceberg-fringed shores of Alaska.

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On the credit card front, spending is also seeing a major resurgence.

In its fourth-quarter earnings call, American Express said its goods and services spending --- the vast majority of spend on the Amex network -- was up 11% versus the first quarter of 2019. That's particularly notable since the increase is compared to a pre-pandemic period, showing a signal of pent-up consumer demand as cardholders swipe in earnest.

And travel is a huge part of the equation. In fact, Amex says that Amex Travel bookings jumped by 50% in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the fourth quarter of 2020.

To provide cardholders with further flexibility when paying for travel, Amex consumer cardholders in the U.S. will now be able to use the "Plan It" feature at checkout for flight purchases on Amex Travel.

(Screenshot courtesy of Amex Travel)

Related: Amex adds new payment options to Green, Gold and Platinum cards

"Plan It" will be directly integrated into the checkout experience for the first time, offering up to three distinct plans to pay for any flight purchase of $100 or more.

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While you won’t pay any interest, there is a fixed monthly fee, so you’ll know exactly how much you owe each month. You can combine up to 10 eligible purchases into a plan, and you can have up to 10 plans running at a given time.

At checkout, my account is showing a no-fee "Plan It" option through May 31, 2021 for all flight bookings.

Flight booking payment options through Amex Travel (Screenshot courtesy of Amex)

Related: Vaccinated Americans are raring to travel, survey shows, and are booking up summer vacations

Amex says that "Plan It" for hotel bookings will be launched later this year.

For those that pay everything in full -- which is the first rule in TPG's 10 commandments of credit card rewards -- you won't be impacted by this move. However, the additional flexibility will be a nice-to-have perk for some cardholders as they prepare for some of their first travels since the onset of the pandemic.

According to Amex Trendex data, 44% of U.S. consumers said that a buy now, pay later offering on a credit card would be of interest to them. That number jumped to 62% for all millennial-aged cardholders.

The results are not surprising: In recent years, Amex has been actively extending its flexible payment features, including "Pay It" and "Plan It." This integration with Amex Travel will give cardholders more options as they hit the road, take to the skies and go everywhere in between once again.

TPG has the guides and tips you need to reenter the world of travel, so be sure to stay tuned here.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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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 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the 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 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the 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