You can book your next vacation with American Express, and it’s as easy as using any third-party booking site.
If you’re an American Express cardholder looking to book your next vacation, you’ll definitely want to consider booking through American Express Travel. On top of the ability to pay with Membership Rewards points, you’ll unlock exclusive deals on flights, hotel stays, cruises and car rentals.
The American Express travel portal is available to everyone, but it’s particularly valuable for American Express Membership Rewards cardholders. This is especially true for The Platinum Card® from American Express users, who are awarded additional perks such as dining credits, room upgrades and discounted vacation packages on hundreds of travel purchases.
American Express Membership Rewards is one of the top rewards programs on the market, and it’s as powerful and vast as its namesake. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Amex Travel, booking through the portal and more.
What is American Express Travel?
American Express Travel is a booking site for flights, hotels, cars, cruises and vacation packages provided by American Express. In addition to offering great deals on travel purchases, the site includes extra rewards for Amex cardholders and special deals on Delta Air Lines flights.
Benefits of booking with American Express Travel
The main benefit of booking through American Express Travel is that you can use your Membership Rewards points (valued at 1.19 cents per point by CreditCards.com) to either fully or partially cover your trip.
You can find all your vacation needs — flights, hotels, flight and hotel bundles, car rentals and cruises — on the American Express Travel portal. You can also go there to find travel guidelines concerning COVID-19, whether you need a packing list, information about flying during the pandemic or assurance on which countries’ borders are open right now for you to visit.
One huge benefit that comes with booking hotels through Amex Travel is the lowest rate guarantee. If you can find the same room for a lower nightly rate before your stay, American Express will refund you the difference (excluding special offers and discounts like AAA). This takes the pressure off hunting for the best deal and makes it easier to book your next hotel stay.
Most of all, certain Amex credit cards, like the Amex Platinum Card or American Express® Gold Card, allow you to earn extra points when you book with Amex Travel. The Platinum Card, for instance, awards 5X points if you purchase directly from the airline or amextravel.com, whereas the Gold Card earns 3X points for doing the same. If anything happens and you need to cancel your vacation, your Membership Rewards points will return to you in the form of a statement credit.
With most purchases on the American Express Travel portal, you have the option to pay entirely with Membership Rewards points, partially with points and with card, or fully with card. That flexible feature alone makes it worthwhile to book through American Express Travel.
How to book with American Express Travel
When you land on the homepage for American Express Travel, it will look like most third-party travel booking sites. You can easily toggle between types of travel purchases and filter results based on travel dates and destinations.
Booking a flight on American Express Travel works like on most other third-party booking sites. You simply select your departure and arrival destination, travel dates and number of travelers to filter available flights. After searching for your trip, the first result is usually a special deal from Delta Air Lines, with other options sorted by price underneath.
When you search for a flight on American Express Travel, the price of the trip will be displayed in dollars. However, you can log into your Membership Rewards account and select “Use only points” or “Use points + card” at checkout to redeem rewards for the cost. Of course, there’s an option to “Use only your card.” You’ll be charged for the trip on your credit card, then get a statement credit offsetting the cost of your rewards redemption within 48 hours.
You can also use the “Plan It” feature to pay for your airfare purchase in installments with a fixed fee. The option is available during the checkout, and you can be offered up to three duration options depending on the purchase amount and other factors, such as your account history, creditworthiness and more. Note that you can’t pay with points when using “Plan It” on amextravel.com. However, you can go with the “Use points + card” option and use “Plan It” on the credit card charge in your Amex app.
As previously mentioned, Amex Travel has a lowest rate guarantee policy. If you can find the same room for a lower rate elsewhere, American Express promises to refund you the difference. Of course, some exceptions apply, but the policy is good insurance while you shop around for hotels.
The American Express Travel search page works similarly to booking flights when booking hotels, though results are sorted by recommended properties by default.
For non-cardholders and most American Express cardholders, booking a hotel is as simple as following the prompts and entering your personal information. However, Gold Card, Platinum Card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders have a few other options.
American Express Travel also offers access to two elite hotel collections — Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection. With Fine Hotels & Resorts, American Express Platinum, Business Platinum and Centurion cardholders who pay for their stay in full with their card enjoy additional benefits, including room upgrades, daily complimentary breakfast for two, free Wi-Fi and more.
The Hotel Collection offers similar perks and is available to a few more cardholders. American Express Gold, American Express® Business Gold Card, Platinum and Centurion cardholders who book a stay of two nights or more on their card unlock benefits such as room upgrades (upon availability) and a $100 credit for dining, spa and resort services ($200 for Amex Platinum).
To book a cruise on American Express Travel, simply filter search results by destination, cruise line, month and length of trip. You can then toggle between special offers and all available trips.
If you are a Platinum, Business Platinum or Centurion cardholder, you also have access to the Cruises Privileges Program. When you book a cruise of five nights or more and at least double occupancy (versus single), you’ll earn a stateroom credit of up to $300 as well as an exclusive amenity based on the cruise line. You just have to pay in full for an eligible trip with your qualified Amex card.
Booking travel packages
American Express Travel also lets users book package deals on flights and hotels. You search like any other travel purchase but can unlock special deals and savings. Typically flight and hotel packages are cheaper than booking them separately.
Take, for example, this package for a trip to Boston. It includes one round-trip ticket from Los Angeles, and a two-night stay at Encore Boston Harbor. The entire package totals to around $1,400.33.
When you book the flight alone, a round-trip ticket comes out to close to $348. And the same room, a premier room with a king bed, is listed at around $335 per night when booked on its own.
Booking the flight and hotel for the same trip separately nets a total cost of $1,018. That means booking a travel package would cost you an extra $382. Though some people may prefer travel packages so that all their bookings are in one place, some thriftier travelers may find it worth it to do the math beforehand. Sometimes, booking the flight and hotel separately, like in our example, is cheaper.
Booking rental cars
To help you book your whole trip on one site, Amex Travel also includes a rental car booking service. You can search available cars near the airport at your destination or any address. American Express then provides a quick breakdown of available rates along with your search results.
No matter what kind of travel purchase you’re booking, the American Express travel portal is a user-friendly option that makes it easy to find a great deal on your next vacation.
Which Amex card should you book with?
When you make a travel purchase through American Express Travel, American Express cardholders who earn Membership Rewards get at least 1 extra point per dollar. However, some cards earn an even better rate.
|American Express® Gold Card|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express|
|American Express® Green Card*|
Plus, for American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders, additional benefits such as dining credits, late checkout and free Wi-Fi can add significant value to qualifying stays.
Drawbacks to booking with American Express Travel
Despite a simple booking process and extra perks for American Express cardholders, there are a few downsides to booking with American Express Travel.
On top of any airline fees, flights booked through American Express Travel incur a $6.99 fee on domestic flights and a $10.99 fee on international flights.
No hotel elite benefits
If you are part of a hotel loyalty program, you won’t be able to enjoy elite benefits such as complimentary breakfast or late checkout when booking through American Express Travel since it is a third-party booking site. One exception to this is a hotel stay booked through the Fine Hotel & Resorts Collection (these stays still earn benefits), but this option is only available to American Express Platinum, Business Platinum and Centurion cardholders.
Is booking with American Express Travel worth it?
There are several factors to consider when deciding if booking through the American Express travel portal is right for you, including the value of the points you can earn and the price of different purchases compared to other booking sites.
American Express Travel offers special deals on flights called Insider Fares, which are available to American Express cardholders with enough Membership Rewards points to cover the entire cost of the flight. These offers, primarily on Delta flights, tend to be the lowest available price and allow you to cover the flight for fewer points than normal. You must, however, be logged into your Rewards account to view any Insider Fare offers.
Special deals with Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines is a partner of American Express and therefore offers all sorts of special promotions on American Express Travel. In addition to Insider Fares, Delta offers great rates on flights for any user. Plus, Delta SkyMiles members will still earn miles on flights booked through the platform.
Rates compared to other booking sites
Overall, American Express Travel seems to advertise competitive rates to other travel booking sites on both hotel and flight purchases.
For example, a round-trip flight from LAX to BOS on American Airlines resulted in the following prices when booked through American Express Travel, directly on the American Airlines website and through Priceline.
|Amex Travel||American Airlines||Priceline|
A two-night stay at the Lake Nona Wave Hotel in Orlando also turned up positive results for American Express when compared to popular budget booking sites Hotels.com and Expedia. The nightly rates for different room types were the same across the booking sites.
|1 king bed||$299 per night||$299||$299|
|2 queen beds||$309 per night||$309||$309|
Even budget-conscious travelers can find great deals, as a two-night stay at the moderately priced Best Western Plus Kissimmee-Lake Buena Vista South Inn & Suites in Orlando includes the similar rates on all three sites.
|1 king bed with sofa bed||$91 per night||$92||$92|
|2 queen beds||$87 per night||$87||$87|
Use points to pay for trips
As mentioned, you can book through American Express Travel using your Membership Rewards points. Plus, travel purchases through the Amex travel portal will get you the the most value out of each point.
It is clear that booking through American Express Travel comes with great benefits, but you’ll have to consider the cost of additional fees and the value of your hotel elite status benefits before deciding if it’s right for you.
Tips for maximizing American Express Travel
- Pay with your American Express rewards card to earn more points on travel purchases.
- Save up enough Membership Rewards points to cover your whole trip to unlock Insider Fares.
- Compare rates on other travel sites to ensure you are getting the best deal.
- Monitor the rate of your hotel stay up until your trip to take advantage of Amex’s lowest fare guarantee.
- Compare prices among travel packages and booking flight and hotel separately to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Booking through American Express Travel is a great option — not only if you want to pay with Membership Rewards points, but also if you want to score great deals on your next trip.
*All information about the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.