Tip: Book Airfare Immediately After Getting Approved With Amex Instant Card Number

Jun 6, 2018

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One lesser-known perk of getting an American Express card is that you’re able to start using it as soon as you’re approved. While you might not have the card physically in your hand, Amex allows you to jot down the card number so you can start using it — to meet that minimum spend or head to a Centurion Lounge — right away.

Where this benefit can become even more useful is for those looking to maximize their spend. For example, if you see airfare that’s impossible to pass up (like this $395 round-trip fare from San Francisco [SFO] to Auckland [AKL]), you can use the card immediately to maximize the purchase.

Note that the Amex Instant Card Number benefit is contingent on the issuer being able to validate your identity instantly — it notes that this perk is not guaranteed to take into account instances where Amex might not be able to verify your identity. If it is able to complete automatic validation for your new card, you’ll receive the card number and a temporary CID (card identification number — on Amex cards it’s the four-digit number on the front).

The Platinum Card® from American Express is the best credit card out there for booking airfare. With it, you’ll earn 5x points on airfare purchases made directly with the airline. So, if approved for the card, not only can you use the card number right away to earn 5x points on the purchase, but you can also start spending to meet the minimum requirement needed to earn the welcome bonus.

As a reminder, the Platinum Card comes with a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. In addition to the 5x points earned from airfare booked directly with the carrier, you’ll also earn 5x points on prepaid hotels book on amextravel.com. The card also comes with $200 in annual Uber credits, an annual $200 airline fee credit, a fee credit for Global Entry and much more.

Featured image by Ileana Ravasio/Attimi Photography for The Points Guy.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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