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A Robust Guide to Using Amex Travel in 2022

A Robust Guide to Using Amex Travel in 2022

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.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Amex Travel is the online travel portal for American Express cardholders to book flights, hotels, rental cars and other types of travel. Similar to other travel booking sites like Expedia, Priceline or Orbitz, with the Amex travel portal you can enter in your travel information and see a selection of options to choose from.

One thing that the Amex travel portal offers that you might not see on other travel booking sites are perks and benefits that are only available to American Express cardholders.

Cardholders can access additional benefits through Amex Travel like complimentary upgrades and extra amenities as well as pay for travel by redeeming American Express Membership Rewards.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Can sometimes be much more expensive than other travel sites
  • No advantages if you don't have an Amex card
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Is Amex travel worth it?

The Amex travel portal can be worth it if you want to use your Membership Rewards points to book travel. You can get a value of 1 cent per point when redeeming points for flights, and $0.007 cents per point for all other travel.

Even if the overall price is higher, you may be able to reduce the total amount of cash that you have to pay for your trip by using points to cover part or all of the cost.

For travel paid with cash, the value of the Amex travel portal depends on the booking.

Sometimes, the price in the Amex travel portal will be lower than other travel booking sites, and other times it will be higher. It's a good idea to always shop around and compare prices between the different travel booking sites as well as directly with the hotel or airline.

The Amex travel portal is also worth checking out if you have an American Express® Gold Card or The Platinum Card® from American Express. These cards give you access to additional benefits through the Fine Hotels and Resorts and Hotel Collection programs. These programs are available at thousands of hotels worldwide. You can get benefits like:

  • Early check in
  • Late checkout
  • Complimentary breakfast and experiences
  • Room upgrades

The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders also have access to up to $200 in statement credits when booking Fine Hotels and Resorts hotels through the Amex Travel portal.

Amex cards with Amex Travel benefits

To book through Amex Travel, you need to have a card account with American Express. However, certain Amex cards offer benefits with Amex Travel.

All the cards below earn American Express Membership Rewards points, which you can use to pay for your travel through Amex Travel. Also, as mentioned, some of these cards, like the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer additional benefits, like the Fine Hotels and Resorts program.

Card
Amex Travel benefits
Welcome offer
Annual fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply.
  • Additional benefits at The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts
Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.$695
American Express® Gold Card
See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and 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. Terms apply.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 Express
  • 5X 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 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.$695
Show All Rows

American Express flights: Are they a good deal?

In our sampling of flights, we found that Amex Travel can be much more expensive than Expedia or Priceline. While a flight from Miami to Los Angeles was equal between the sites, a flight from Chicago to London was more than $100 over the price of Expedia and Priceline.

Since the value varies a lot with each booking, you should check the cost of your flight through various booking sites, including directly with the airline, before you book with Amex Travel.

Amex Travel
Expedia
Priceline
Cincinnati to New York, economy$209$160$160
Miami to Los Angeles, premium economy$600$601$601
Chicago to London, economy$939$775$789

Amex International Airline program: Can it save you money?

The Amex International Airline program can save you money if it returns a discounted fare for the flight that you're searching for. That makes it a valuable tool to check if you have an eligible American Express card.

The Amex International Airline program offers discounts on first class, business class or premium economy tickets on 25 different airlines.

The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders have access to the American Express International Airline program. You can access these fares through the regular Amex Travel site as long as you are logged in with your card account.

You can use the Amex International Airline program to book a flight for yourself and up to seven additional passengers. Keep in mind that your flight must originate and return to a U.S. or select a Canadian destination, though one-way travel is also allowed on some airlines.

Here is how to book an American Express flight with cash

  1. From the Amex Travel portal website, choose Flights and enter the details of your trip. In addition to the origin and arrival locations and dates, you can also choose your preferred cabin of service, preferred airlines and whether you want to only show nonstop flights.

  2. Log in to your American Express account, if you are not already logged in. After a bit of waiting, your results will be displayed.

  3. Review the flight results. You can filter and sort by departure or arrival time, airline, price and several other factors.

Booking American Express flights with cash
  1. When you have found the flight you want to book, hit "Select." If you are booking a roundtrip flight, you will also next choose your return flight.

  2. You will then be taken to the review page, where you will be given a chance to review the flight and pricing information.

  3. If everything looks good, you can click the "Continue Booking" button at the bottom of the screen.

  4. The next screen will have you enter in the information for the people that will be traveling. If you have previously saved traveler information to your American Express account, you can select that stored information; otherwise you will add in the information for each traveler.

  5. Next you can select seats (if your fare allows it) and decide if you want to purchase travel insurance

  6. Finally, you can choose how you want to pay for the flight. If you want to pay for your Amex Travel flight with cash, choose "Use Only Your Card." You will then be prompted to enter your credit card information and after clicking "Book Flight," your flight will be purchased.

Savvy traveler tip: American Express offers a financing plan called Pay it Plan it that can help you finance your vacations if you don't have the money to pay for it all upfront. With Pay it Plan it, you can finance any purchase of $100 or more. You'll be given one to three durations to repay your purchase, each with a fixed monthly payment.
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Booking American Express flights with cash

To book an American Express flight and pay with points, you'll want to follow Steps 1-8 of the previous section and select the flight you want to purchase. When you get to the final screen, choose "Use Only Points."

Booking American Express flights with points

You'll then choose "Book Flight" at the bottom of the screen to purchase your flight.

To book an American Express flight and pay with points plus cash, you'll want to follow Steps 1-8 of the previous section and select the flight you want to purchase. When you get to the final screen, choose "Use Points + Card."

Booking American Express flights with points plus cash

You can choose the number of points to apply, with a minimum of 5,000 points. Your points will be worth 1 cent per point and applied to the cost of your ticket. You'll then enter your credit card information to pay for the remaining cost of the flight, and choose "Book Flight" to purchase your itinerary.

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 insider fares that give a discount if you use Membership Rewards points for the entire fare.

Amex travel insider fares

For the sample flight above, the value per point is around 1.1 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.

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American Express hotels: Are they a good deal?

For hotel bookings, Amex Travel is competitive with other third-party booking sites. All three of our sample bookings match Expedia and Priceline prices.

However, you'll want to check with the hotel directly though, since you could often get a cheaper rate by signing up for their free loyalty program and choosing a members-only rate. For our sample bookings, a direct booking only shaves off a few dollars, so it may still be worth your while to book with Amex in these cases.

Savvy traveler tip: Another thing to keep in mind is that you may miss out on hotel elite benefits as well as collecting points for status if you book with any third-party booking agency, including Amex Travel.

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Amex Travel
Expedia
Priceline
Directly with the hotel
Hyatt Regency Cincinnati$209 / night$209 / night$209 / night$198 / night (member rate)
Marriott Residence Inn Charlotte City Center$161 / night$161 / night$161 / night$158 / night (member rate)
Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle Airport$224 / night$225 / night$224 / night$220 / night (member rate)

American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts

The American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program (FHR) is a collection of over 1,200 hand-picked hotels worldwide. While any American Express member can book a stay at an FHR hotel, The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders get extra benefits when staying at a hotel that belongs to the Fine Hotels and Resorts collection.

Some benefits available to The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders include:

  • 12 p.m. check-in, where available
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout
  • Room upgrade upon arrival
  • Complimentary breakfast for two each day of the stay
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • $100 experience credit, which varies by hotel

The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders can also get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on a prepaid Fine Hotels and Resorts booking. Often, when a hotel is in the Fine Hotels and Resorts collection, it will be noted on the search results when you look for a hotel through the Amex Travel portal.

American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts

American Express Hotel collection

The American Express Hotel collection is another group of hand-picked, with more than 600 mostly luxury hotels around the world. If you book a Hotel Collection hotel and pay with your The Platinum Card® from American Express or American Express® Gold Card, you'll get the following benefits:

  • Room upgrade upon arrival
  • $100 experience credit, which varies by hotel

The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders can also get up to $200 back in statement credits when booking a prepaid stay of two nights or more at a Hotel Collection hotel. You can see if a hotel is in the Hotel Collection in the search results when you look for a hotel.

American Express Hotel collection

Here is how to book a hotel through the American Express travel portal:

  1. First, choose the Hotels tab from the Amex Travel website and enter in the information for your stay.

  2. A list of hotels that match your searching parameters will be displayed. You can filter and sort by a hotel's star rating, price, or the brand / name of hotel.

Booking American Express hotels
  1. Clicking "Select" will take you to the details page for that hotel, where you can view the available rates for the hotel. If applicable, it will also show you how many Membership Rewards points would be needed.

  2. Once you've decided on the rate you want, click "Book." On the next screen, you will enter the traveler's information and choose how you want to pay. You can pay completely with points, points + card or completely with a credit card. You'll get $0.007 per Membership Rewards point that you use to pay for your hotel booking.

Booking American Express hotels

American Express vacation packages: Are they a good deal?

The prices between different travel booking sites vary quite a bit, but in the selection that we chose, Amex Travel was always more expensive than both Expedia and Priceline. In fact, one of our samplings (Los Angeles to New York for seven nights) cost more than $500 more than the cheapest booking from Priceline. Checking the prices before you book a vacation package with Amex Travel could save hundreds of dollars.

Amex Travel
Expedia
Priceline
Cleveland to Houston + 7 nights at the Hyatt Regency Houston Airport, two people$1,398$1,248$1,062.50
Los Angeles to New York + seven nights at the Intercontinental New York Barclay, two people$3,393$3,274$2,875
Seattle to St. Louis + seven nights at the Marriott St. Louis Airport, one traveler$1,792$1,770$1,297

To book an American Express flight + hotel vacation package, first choose "Flight + Hotel" from the main Amex Travel portal home page.

  1. First you will enter in the information for your vacation and search.

  2. You'll then be presented with a list of hotel options, each with a different price. The bolded price represents the total price per person (flight and hotel), so be aware of that if you are booking for more than one traveler. If you can pay with Membership Rewards points, the points price will also be displayed.

Booking American Express vacation packages
  1. Once you select the hotel you're interested in, you'll be presented with a choice for departing and returning flights to your destination.

  2. Once you select your flights, you will enter in the personal information for each traveler. You can then optionally purchase travel insurance and select seats for your flight. Then you will choose whether to pay with Membership Rewards points or with a credit card. You'll get $0.007 per point in value for each Membership Rewards point that you use.

Booking American Express vacation packages
  1. Clicking "Book your package" will purchase your flight and hotel vacation package.

American Express car rentals: Are they a good deal?

Car rentals on Amex Travel can be a good deal. We found that prices for car rentals on Amex Travel are much more comparable to other travel booking sites than for flights and hotels. However, it still pays to price shop before you book a car rental on Amex Travel.

For example, in our Chicago search, Expedia and Priceline had a different (cheaper) car rental company that Amex Travel did not have. As a result, the cheapest option on Amex Travel cost over $200 more than the cheapest option on Expedia and Priceline.

Amex Travel
Expedia
Priceline
New York City for seven days$618.88$619$619
Chicago for seven days$678$398$398
Miami for two days$96$97$97

To book a car rental through the Amex Travel portal, start by choosing Cars from the selection screen on the main page

  1. Next, enter in the information for your car rental.

  2. You'll then be presented with a list of different car rental options. Each will display the car rental company, the type of car, the pickup and dropoff locations and the total price. You can sort and filter by the total price, car type and company.

  3. Once you've decided on the car you want, choose "Reserve." You'll then be taken to a details screen, where you can choose any optional accessories you want to purchase.

  4. You'll then enter the driver information and your credit card information. Even if you are paying with your Membership Rewards points, you'll need to enter in a credit card (in case of any additional damage to the car). To pay with your Membership Rewards points, you will need to pay upfront, which doesn't give you as much flexibility if you need to cancel or change your booking later. If you choose to pay at pickup, you won't be able to pay with points.

Booking American Express car rentals

American Express cruises: Are they a good deal?

In all our samplings, cruises on Amex travel were much costlier than cruises through Expedia and Priceline. For example, a four-night cruise to the Bahamas was over $400 more expensive than Priceline.

With cruises, perhaps more than with any other type of travel, the prices will drastically vary, and there are plenty of opportunities for deals and promotions. Depending on where you book, you may receive extras like an onboard credit, complimentary room upgrades or credits for future cruises. So you'll definitely want to shop around to various travel booking sites as well as cruise lines directly to make sure you find the best deal for you.

Amex Travel
Expedia
Priceline
Seven-night Alaska Cruise on Royal Caribbean, two people, Interior Cabin$518 / person$418 / person$383 / person
Four-night Bahamas Cruise on Royal Caribbean, two people, Suite$1,256 / person$881 / person$811 / person
10-night Hawaiian Cruise on Norwegian, two people, Interior Cabin$3,379 / person$3,191 / person$3,191 / person

To book a cruise with American Express travel, first choose Cruises from the main travel portal site:

  1. Then, enter in where you want to go, a cruise line (or All Cruise Lines) and the month you want to sail.

  2. You'll then be presented with a list of possible cruise options, including dates, cruise line, prices of various rooms and ports visited.

  3. Choose the cruise that you're interested in, and click "Explore." This will take you to a page where you can see the different stateroom options.

  4. Once you choose your stateroom, you'll be taken to a review screen that shows your cruise details along with the final pricing information.

  5. Some cruises through Amex Travel can be booked online, while in other cases you will need to call in to book your stay.

FAQs about Amex Travel

Does Amex include travel insurance?

Amex does not automatically 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. You'll want to carefully note the terms and conditions to make sure you understand what will and will not be covered with your Amex travel insurance policy.

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.

How much are Amex points worth on Amex travel?

You'll get 1 cent per point in value when using Amex points for flights on Amex Travel. You'll get 0.7 cents per point in value when using Amex points on Amex Travel for hotels, car rentals and other forms of travel.

Is Amex Travel cheaper?

No, Amex Travel is generally not cheaper than other travel sites. In the small sampling that we looked at for this article, we usually found that the Amex travel portal was more expensive than other travel booking sites. Keep in mind that prices listed through the Amex travel portal vary and fluctuate depending on where, when and what type of travel that you're trying to book. You should always compare prices before you book through Amex Travel.

Why is Amex travel more expensive?

The Amex Travel portal isn't necessarily always cheaper or more expensive, though our small sampling did show that Amex Travel is more expensive than other travel portals more often than not. Keep in mind that if you do find a lower rate at another site for the exact same booking, you can submit a Lowest Rate Guarantee claim and be refunded the difference.

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

The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, Blue from American Express®, American Express® Business Gold Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit 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.

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).