If you have ever delved into the world of travel hacking, you likely have heard about American Express travel. Travelholics rely on Amex to rack up credit card points and redeem them for trips. The Amex travel platform has been active for years, but it became even more popular after Amex added new perks in 2019.
Table of contents
- What Are the Features of American Express Travel?
- Who Would Use Amex Travel?
- When Should You Use Amex Travel?
- Examples of Using Amex Travel
- Steps for Using the American Express Travel Portal
- Quick Questions
What Are the Features of American Express Travel?
The American Express Travel portal operates similarly to any other booking site. Its competitors include the likes of Orbitz and Expedia. The website follows a similar design to these sites, which makes it easy to use. While Delta is a preferred airline, it shows flights from more than two dozen companies.
When you pay for a trip Amex travel, you can choose between redeeming your Amex credit card points or paying in cash for most purchases. If you don’t have enough points to cover your entire trip, then you can use both. Points are also useful for upgrading existing flights.
People all around the world are eager to travel but feel worried about the pandemic and the aftermath. American Express travel provides a special page to address some of the most pressing concerns of its travelers. It may also warn you if you choose a location under pandemic restrictions.
Who Would Use Amex Travel?
American Express comes highly recommended by many full-time travelers for people who want to travel more and save money while doing it. A common misconception is that you must own an American Express card to use Amex’s travel portal. However, the company makes the platform open to everyone. That said, combining it with an American Express platinum card can bring even more perks to the table.
American Express Centurion Lounge
American Express operates lounges at airports around the world. While passing through these airports, your American Express card may grant you access. Nerdwallet notes that there may be a restriction that makes this only available when flying via Delta.
International Airline Program
Flying premium class, business class or first class does not always need to come with a high price tag. Amex travel allows cardmembers to take advantage of discounted premium tickets. As of 2019, you can also book these tickets online instead of calling in.
Fine Hotels and Resorts
More than 1,000 participating properties around the world provide upgrades for Amex guests. These may include the following:
- Late checkout and early check-in when available
- Room upgrades when possible
- Complimentary WiFi access
- Complimentary breakfast
- Food and beverages
- Spa treatments
The Hotel Collection
Amex travel negotiates special deals with a smaller number of properties that form the Hotel Collection. If you stay at these hotels for two consecutive nights or longer, you may become eligible for some or a combination of the following:
- Ability to pay for rooms with rewards points
- Room upgrades when you check in
- Up to $100 in credit to spend at the hotel
- Potentially lower room rates
- Membership rewards points for some Amex cardholders
When Should You Use Amex Travel?
Unless you have better deals elsewhere, there is no bad time to make use of American Express travel. However, the best time to use Amex’s travel portal is after you rack up enough points on a qualified credit card to make full use of the system. How many points count as enough depends on your destination plans and the market rates at the time.
When it comes to full-time or frequent travel, American Express may suit some travel styles better than others. Rely on the card and portal for trips that involve flights and hotel stays. When RVing or backpacking, it may not prove as useful.
Examples of Using Amex Travel
Sara books a flight to Canada with 100,000 points from her American Express Platinum card. On the way to Canada, she has a four-hour layover at an airport with an American Express lounge and gains access. When she checks in at her hotel in Canada, she provides her Amex card. The manager upgrades her room to a larger one with a better view and provides her with $100 credit to spend at the restaurant or spa.
John wants to island-hop in the Caribbean for a week. He is not an American Express cardholder, but he uses Amex travel as his central trip booking system. Through Amex, he books his flights from Jamaica to Puerto Rico to the Bahamas and then back to Miami. He also reserves his hotel stays and rentals. Because he is not an Amex cardholder, he pays by cash and does not have access to the same perks Sara did.
Steps for Using the American Express Travel Portal
The details of how you use the Amex Travel portal may come down to whether you have an American Express card. However, there are some expected steps either way:
- Determine what your budget is and how you plan to pay for the trip.
- Select what you need to book, such as flights or hotels.
- Enter the destination.
- Choose your travel dates.
- Select the option that suits your needs.
- Create an account when prompted to do so or log in if you already have one.
- Complete the payment process.
Amex travel gives you 24 hours to review, change or cancel your trip. If you want to cancel after 24 hours, reach out to American Express customer support for assistance.
Your savings may depend on your alternatives. Compared to Google Flight prices, you can save several hundred dollars. The Points Guy shares that he saved $350 on a flight using the IAP.
Unfortunately, American Express does not allow you to use your rewards points to reserve rental cars. You can use your points for flights, hotels and cruises.