A Robust Guide to Using Amex Travel in 2020

A Robust Guide to Using Amex Travel in 2020

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Pros

  • Great for those with American Express travel cards
  • User-friendly website interface
  • Integrates with consumers Amex profiles and credit card portfolio

Cons

  • No advantages if you don’t have an Amex credit card

Amex Travel is the online travel portal for American Express cardholders to book flights, rental cars and other travel necessities. You have the option of paying with a credit card, or redeeming American Express Membership Rewards to pay for your trip.

Amex Travel is similar to other travel booking sites like Expedia or Orbitz. However, American Express cardholders can access additional benefits through Amex Travel like complimentary upgrades and extra amenities.

We will cover everything you need to know about Amex Travel, and what to consider before booking.

Amex travel overview

Amex Travel is a great platform for Amex cardholders to book on, as it is a seamless website that integrates well with your cardholder profile.

Amex travel overview

Once you log in, you will see your American Express Membership Rewards account balance in the top right-hand corner. As you navigate through the site, you will find offers and promotions if you hold a qualifying American Express credit card.

Flights

Booking a flight is extremely simple. Fill out the information on the Amex Travel homepage and you will be served options that match it.

Flights

You will notice that because this profile has The Platinum Card® from American Express attached to it, the site automatically highlights additional benefits, such as Delta Sky Club access and Centurion Lounge access at participating airports. It also lists the cash price and number of points required, which is helpful to determine which currency works best for you.

You can also search by number of stops, departure/arrival time and by specific airlines.

Rental cars

While many travel websites do not have a great website experience for rental cars, Amex Travel offers a simple page design to give you the rental car options you need.

It allows you to filter by the type of car, the distance from your desired pick-up location and price per day.

Rental cars

There are a few things to note when booking a rental car through Amex Travel.

  • Prices are clear upfront. Amex lists the final price upfront, which is helpful for consumers to know exactly how much they will pay. Many travel carriers charge excess fees, which can lead to consumers paying much more than they intended.
  • You can’t use Amex points. You can’t use your Amex points to purchase a rental car, and there are no additional benefits to booking a rental car with Amex travel. It may be advantageous to price shop other travel websites since this is the case.

Hotels

Of the different bookings offered through Amex travel, hotel reservations are the most useful. You can locate hotels within the Fine Hotel & Resorts and The Hotel Collection portfolio of properties. These hotels offer a plethora of benefits for qualified card members.

Hotels

You can pay for hotels with cash or Membership Rewards points. However, it makes sense in most cases to pay with cash since the value of Membership Rewards points is generally low when redeemed for hotel stays.

Regardless of property, all prepaid hotels through Amex Travel earn bonus Membership Rewards on select cards. Plus, if you book with either The Hotel Collection or the Fine Hotels & Resorts with a qualifying card, you will earn the following benefits:

  • Fine Hotels & Resorts: Daily breakfast for two, room upgraded at check-in (when available), noon check-in (when available), 4 p.m. checkout guaranteed, complimentary Wi-Fi and a unique amenity valued at $100.
  • The Hotel Collection: $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining/spa/resort activities and room upgrades (when available). To earn these benefits, you must stay two or more consecutive nights.

Cruises

If you are looking to cruise, but unsure of the cruise line or destination, Amex Travel offers a great platform to start your cruise shopping. You are able to search by destination, specific cruise line, month of travel and number of nights.

Cruises Search

Once you input your cruise information, Amex Travel will populate a list of options, including dates, cruise line, prices of various rooms and ports visited.

Cruises Search Result

One great feature of booking through Amex Travel is the Cruise Privileges Program. For cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you can receive benefits on cruise bookings of five nights or more.

These benefits include $100-$300 in shipboard credit redeemable toward dining, spa treatments and more. You can also receive exclusive amenities that are unique to each cruise line, such as premium wine or assorted food items.

Amex credit cards with Amex Travel benefits

If you hold one of these American Express credit cards below, booking through Amex Travel can be beneficial.

CardAmex Travel benefitsWelcome offerAnnual fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.

Additional benefits at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 6 months.$550
American Express® Gold CardEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.$250
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.

Additional benefits at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.$595

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express please click here

The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Should you use Amex Travel for booking travel?

Amex Travel offers a great web experience, but lacks benefits for users who aren't Amex cardholders. There is very little advantage to using this platform, outside of the following benefits:

Paying for flights with points

If you prefer the ease of booking flights with points rather than transferring points to another travel program, the Amex Travel portal is the go-to place to redeem your Membership Rewards. When booking a flight through Amex Travel, you have the option to pay with cash or points.

However, you should be aware that, in most cases, redeeming your points this way is a bad deal.

When you transfer American Express Membership Rewards to other airline programs to redeem them for flights, you can get values of 2 cents per point or more. With many of the flights on the Amex Travel portal, on the other hand, you get a much lower point value:

Paying for flights with points

To calculate the value you are obtaining with a specific booking, use the following formula:

(Cash price of flight) / (Number of Membership Rewards points needed) = Value of points

Using this formula, you will find that the sample bookings above are worth only around 1 cent per point.

Amex travel insider fares

While using Membership Rewards through Amex Travel can be a bad deal, Amex Travel insider fares offer a selection of flights that earn a decent rate for using Membership Rewards.

If you have a card that earns Membership Rewards and search for flights on the Amex Travel website, you may come across listings highlighted in blue:

Amex travel insider fares

For the sample flights above, the value per point is around 1.2 cents — a little better than average for Amex Travel portal redemptions, though still pretty low. While insider fares aren't always a great deal, you will find decent values here and there.

FAQs about Amex Travel

Does Amex include travel insurance?

Amex does not include travel insurance when you book through Amex Travel. However, Amex offers travel insurance on several of its credit card products, or as a one-time policy purchase.

Is Amex travel insurance good?

Amex travel insurance is competitive to other large travel insurance underwriters.

Will Amex Travel price match?

Yes, Amex Travel will price match as it offers a lowest rate guarantee. If you want to file a claim, you can do so here.

Do you need to notify Amex of travel?

No, you do not need to notify Amex when you plan to travel with an Amex credit card. Its website states that it uses “... industry-leading fraud detection capabilities that help us recognize when our Card Members are traveling.”

How do Amex points work for travel?

Amex points, known as Membership Rewards, can be redeemed for travel through the Amex Travel portal, or can be transferred to its list of travel partners.

Brett Holzhauer

Brett Holzhauer is ValuePenguin’s travel rewards expert, focusing on credit card rewards maximization, consumer travel trends, and personal finance news. He has earned and burned over 5 million points and miles throughout his travels, saving him roughly $75,000 in travel expenses.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).