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Rewards Programs

Guide to the American Express Travel portal

Booking directly with the issuer comes with plenty of perks for Amex cardholders

Summary

You can book your next vacation with American Express, and it’s as easy as using any third-party booking site.

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If you are 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 is 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.

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 cent per point) to either fully or partly 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 American Express 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 (this excludes 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 the Amex travel portal. The Platinum, 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.

Book flights, hotels and more at American Express Travel.

Booking flights

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 searching for flights, Delta Air Lines special deals often appear as the first result.

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.

Booking hotels

As previously mentioned, American Express 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 to have in the back of your mind while you shop around for hotels.

The American Express Travel search page when booking hotels works similarly to booking flights, though results are sorted by recommended properties by default.

Booking hotels on the American Express Travel portal is fairly straightforward as well.
For non-cardholders and most American Express cardholders, booking a hotel is as simple as following the prompts and entering your personal information. However, the 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 or spa services ($200 for Amex Platinum). See our luxury hotel collections guide for more information on these two programs.

Booking cruises

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.

Filter cruise options easily on Amex Travel.

If you are a Platinum or Business Platinum cardholder, you also have access to the Cruises Privileges Program. When you book a cruise of five nights or more, you’ll earn a stateroom credit of up to $300 as well as an exclusive amenity based on the cruise line. You’ll just have to pay in full for an eligible trip with your Platinum 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.

Take, for example, this package for a trip to London, United Kingdom. It includes one round-trip ticket from Los Angeles, and a 10-night stay at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel and Spa. The entire package totals to around $2,780.

Flight and hotel bundles tend to be cheaper that booking flights and hotels separately.

When you book the flight alone, a round-trip ticket comes out to close to $740.

Booking flights alone are often more expensive than bundles.

The same room at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel and Spa (one twin suite) is listed at around $190 per night when booked on its own.

Booking the hotel alone for 10 nights in London costs around $2,150.

Booking the flight and hotel for the same trip separately nets a total cost of $2,885.88. That means booking a travel package saves you a little more $100. This might not seem like a lot, but it’s savings you can apply toward food and other expenses at your destination. Plus, booking takes less time when it’s done together.

Booking rental cars

To help you book your whole trip on one site, American Express 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.

You can also book car rentals in advance on Amex Travel to pick up at the airport you'll land.

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.

 CardRewards rate
American Express Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • Terms apply
Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 5 points per dollar on directly-booked airfare and flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year)
  • 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • Terms apply
Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

  • 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com
  • 1.5 points per dollar on qualifying purchases of $5,000 or more
  • 1 point per dollar general purchases
  • Terms apply
American Express Green Card

American Express® Green Card*

  • 3 points per dollar on travel, transit and dining worldwide
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • Terms apply

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.

Additional fees

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 and Business Platinum 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.

Insider Fares

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 JFK to LAX on American Airlines resulted in the following prices when booked through American Express Travel, directly on the American Airlines website and through Priceline.

Amex TravelAmerican Airlines
Priceline
$459
$514
$451

A six-night stay at The W Hollywood in Los Angeles also turned up positive results for American Express when compared to popular budget booking sites Hotels.com and Expedia.

Amex Travel
Hotels.com
Expedia
Spectacular room (2 Queen beds)
$323
$343
$343
Wonderful room (2 Queen beds)
$324
$325
$325
Fabulous room (2 Queen beds, City View)
$340
$361
$361
Marvelous Suite (1 King bed)
$434
$460
$460

Even budget-conscious travelers can find great deals, as a six-night stay at the moderately priced Best Western Plus Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles includes the same rates on all three sites.

Amex Travel
Hotels.com
Expedia
Suite, 2 Queen beds, nonsmoking
$178
$178
$178
Suite, 1 King bed, nonsmoking
$196
$196
$196
Suite, 1 Queen bed, nonsmoking
$156
$156
$156

Use points to pay for trips

Of course, as mentioned before, you can book through American Express Travel using your Membership Rewards points. Plus, travel purchases through the Amex travel portal eke out 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 is 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.
  • Book travel packages for bigger discounts.

Bottom line

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.

See related: American Express Rewards guide: How to earn and use Membership Rewards points

*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.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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