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New Travel Collection Membership Allows Amex Cardholders to Save on Travel

July 20, 2018
5 min read
New Travel Collection Membership Allows Amex Cardholders to Save on Travel
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Although Citi and Chase are in the process of scaling back or eliminating some credit card benefits such as price protection insurance and Priority Pass guesting privileges, Amex continues to differentiate itself by improving the perks of its cards. In June, the issuer revamped extended warranty and purchase protection benefits for all its cards and introduced $100 Back at Saks Fifth Avenue for personal Platinum cardholders. And now, as TPG reader David recently reported to us, eligible American Express cardholders are receiving complimentary access to The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a membership which normally costs $295 per year.

In short, the program can help you score special discounts and amenities when you book eligible flights, hotels, cruises, tours, vacation packages and car rentals. Platinum cardholders already get flight discounts through Amex’s International Airline Program and elite-like benefits at hotels through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program, but The Travel Collection is slightly different in that, unlike the International Airline Program, the Travel Colletion's flight discounts are offered for both economy and premium cabin tickets.

Additionally, the roster of partner airlines is different. The program will get you discounts on the following:

  • Aereolineas Argentinas flights to Latin America
  • Air Europa flights to Europe
  • Air New Zealand flights worldwide
  • Avianca flights to Latin America
  • Cathay Pacific flights worldwide
  • Copa Airlines flights to Latin America
  • Fiji Airways flights to the South Pacific
  • Qantas Airways flights worldwide
  • Qatar Airways flights worldwide
  • United flights worldwide

The amount you’ll save appears to vary based on a number of factors, so we made a trio of requests to The Travel Collection to check out the potential savings. Specifically, we asked a Travel Collection agent to give us its prices for a domestic United flight, an international United flight and an international Qantas flight, then compared them to the lowest available prices on Google Flights. Here are the results:

Newark (EWR) to Miami (MIA) in August with United:

  • Economy: No discount
  • First: No discount

San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG) in October with United:

  • Economy: No discount
  • Business: $854.19 (14%) discount with The Travel Collection

Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) in December with Qantas:

  • Economy: $698 (36%) discount with The Travel Collection
  • Premium Economy: $682 (23%) discount with The Travel Collection
  • Business: $135 (2%) discount with The Travel Collection
  • First: $534 (4%) discount with The Travel Collection

While the domestic flight didn't offer any discount at all, the price reduction for United Polaris (international business) was significant, as were the markdowns for both coach and premium economy on Qantas, with discounts as high as 36%.

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Economy class aboard Qantas' 787-9.

While the program won't get you any direct discounts on hotel bookings, stays of two nights or longer will get special perks at certain hotels. Those perks include:

  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Room upgrade upon check-in (based on availability)
  • Guaranteed 1:00 pm early check-in
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi
  • A $50 USD hotel credit

At first glance, this may sound like The Hotel Collection or a watered down version of Amex's Fine Hotels & Resorts program. But as with the airline partners, the roster of participating hotels is completely different from the issuer's other hotel programs. The partners in this program are primarily smaller boutique hotels, and The Travel Collection offers a "best rate available" guarantee so you shouldn't be paying more for the additional amenities.

Members get special perks at hotels like the Dream South Beach Miami. Photo courtesy of the hotel.
Photo courtesy of the Dream South Beach Miami.

You can also use Pay with Points for all or part of your bookings, and you’ll still earn miles for flights, including 5x if you use your personal Amex Platinum card according to a Travel Collection agent.

The one major drawback to the program is that you won’t be able to find the discounted rates online. First, you have to call 1-877-485-8053 to enroll in the program, which will get you access to the members-only pages of the site, where you'll be able to view details about available offers and participating travel brands. Then you'll need to call the same phone number again to receive price quotes and book. There is normally a $39 per ticket fee, but it's currently being refunded as the program is new.

Free access to The Travel Collection is available to people with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, and the American Express® Business Gold Card. It joins a multitude of other benefits available to Amex Platinum cardholders, such as airline fee credits and Centurion Lounge access, as well as lesser known benefits such as a free ShopRunner membership, VIP event access and premium roadside assistance.

Featured image by United's new Polaris business class. Photo by Zach Honig.

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