Complete Guide to the American Express Travel Portal Complete Guide to the American Express Travel Portal

Complete Guide to the American Express Travel Portal

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One of our favorite things about American Express is the number of ways that you can redeem Membership Rewards points. If you’re looking for the highest-value redemptions, you’ll want to start with our guide on which Membership Rewards options are best. While it takes more effort, transfer partners make it possible to travel at a fraction of the typical cost. However, if you’re looking to save money on flights, hotels, car rentals, or cruises, the Amex Travel portal can offer excellent choices that are simple to find and book.

Here's a guide to all you need to know about Amex Travel.

What Is Amex Travel?

The Amex Travel portal is a booking portal that offers the capability to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises through American Express. You can make reservations with Membership Rewards points, cash, or a combination of points and cash.

a hotel room with large windows looking out over New York City
Use Amex Travel to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises. Credit: Marriott

What Are Membership Rewards Worth When Used on Amex Travel?

When redeemed through Amex Travel, Membership Rewards carry a fixed value. For flights, you'll get a value of 1¢ per point but just 0.7¢ per point on hotel, rental car, and cruise bookings.

This value is comparatively lower than the value AwardWallet users get when transferring Membership Rewards to one of American Express' 21 transfer partners. With transfer partners, our readers typically use Amex points at 2.14¢ apiece — over twice the value of redeeming the points on Amex Travel.

How To Book Flights Through Amex Travel

American Express makes booking flights through the Amex Travel portal extremely simple. After you have logged into the portal using your American Express credentials, the next step is entering the details for the reservation you're trying to make — whether that be a flight, hotel, cruise, or rental car.

Amex Travel Portal - search page for a flight
Credit: American Express

Take a flight, for example, from Boston (BOS) to London (LHR). After the search, you'll likely see several results, including featured and non-featured itineraries. Any option you see will show the cash price and the price denominated in Membership Rewards. To book, select the flight you wish to take and proceed through the process of entering your personal details.

Once arriving at the payment portion of the booking process, you can select a payment option. You will receive the same value at 1 cent per point whether paying entirely with points or using a mix of cash and points. You can use as little as one point here.

Amex Travel Portal payment page for flights
Credit: American Express

Changes made to tickets may incur any difference in the fare. Typical airline rules and restrictions apply, so understand change and cancelation policies with the airline you choose to fly with before hitting the blue “Book Flight” button.

Amex Travel Portal checkout page to pay for a flight
Credit: American Express

During your flight search, you might find “Insider Fares” that offer a discounted price. You must redeem points to cover the total fare to benefit from the discount. These can present a significant discount, though, so it could be worth using points here.

Related: All of the Cards That Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points

International Airline Program (IAP)

Those with Platinum and Centurion cards from American Express have exclusive access to the International Airline Program benefit. The benefit offers discounts on fares to international destinations made in premium cabins on 23 airlines. Select qualifying flights will be highlighted by a banner in your search results. Flights booked via Amex Travel are typically treated as regular paid tickets, meaning you can earn points or miles with participating airline loyalty programs.

If you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, or Centurion® Card from American Express, you can take advantage of these perks.

logos of International Airline Program Airlines.
Credit: American Express

When booking through the International Airline Program, cardmembers earn 5x Membership Rewards on flights when paying with the Amex Platinum* or Business Platinum Card. With the Business Platinum Card, you also can get 35% of redeemed points back on eligible tickets purchased entirely or partially with Membership Rewards points (up to 1 million points back annually). Eligible flights for this rebate include first- and business-class tickets with any airline as well as any fare class with your pre-selected qualifying airline booked through Amex Travel (this is the same airline as your annual airline incidental credits). Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.

There are restrictions to note when booking through the IAP, such as:

  • The cardmember must be traveling.
  • Cardmembers may travel alone or bring up to seven additional travelers.
  • Travel must begin and end in the U.S. or Canadian international airports and must be an international flight.
  • Tickets are non-refundable unless otherwise indicated.
  • Tickets are non-transferable.
  • Name changes are not allowed.
  • Economy-class tickets are not included; you must book premium economy, business, or first class.

*Note that 5x earnings on the Amex Platinum are limited to the first $500,000 spent annually on flights purchased directly with airlines or with Amex Travel. After this limit, you'll earn 1x.

How To Book Hotels Through Amex Travel

Booking hotels through Amex Travel also is a simple process. When you search, you'll enter the destination, the check-in and checkout dates, the number of rooms, and the number of travelers.

hotel search page on Amex Travel
Credit: American Express

Paying with the Amex Platinum and Business Platinum Card will yield 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar on all prepaid hotel reservations.

Once you select a hotel, you'll choose a room and continue to pay, and you can do so with points, cash, or a combination of the two. If you pay with points, you'll only get a value of 0.7 cents per point.

Credit: American Express

Hotel bookings made through Amex Travel are third-party reservations, meaning you are unlikely eligible to earn points, stay credits, or have your hotel status recognized. Take this into consideration if you're chasing hotel elite status.

Fine Hotels + Resorts

Amex Centurion Card, Amex Platinum, and Business Platinum Card holders can access the Fine Hotels + Resorts program. With each booking, you'll receive the following suite of benefits:

  • 12 p.m. check-in.
  • Room upgrades, based on availability at check-in.
  • Daily breakfast for two.
  • $100 on-property credit, which can be used for food and beverage, spa services, private transfers, and more.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi.
  • Guaranteed 4 p.m. check-out.
  • Early check-in at noon, based on availability.

Amex Platinum cardholders also can receive up to $200 back in statement credits annually on prepaid bookings using the card through the Fine Hotels + Resorts program or The Hotel Collection (which has a two-night minimum on bookings). Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.

Related: How to Use the Amex Platinum Card's $200 Hotel Credit

The Hotel Collection

Amex has a second hotel program called The Hotel Collection. These bookings have a two-night minimum, but the program is accessible to more people. In addition to Platinum and Centurion cardmembers, those with the American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Business Gold Card are eligible for complimentary room upgrades (when available at check-in) and a $100 experience credit. The experience credit varies by hotel, but it's typically applicable to food and beverage, spa services, a round of golf, airport transfers, and more.

Amex Platinum cardholders can use their $200 in annual hotel credits on prepaid bookings with either Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection.

How To Book Rental Cars Through Amex Travel

Booking a rental car on Amex Travel is done by inputting a pick-up location and the date and times for pick-up and drop-off.

Amex Travel Portal rental car search page
Credit: American Express

Similar to both flights and hotels, you will have the option to pay in points or cash. Points are worth just 0.7¢ apiece here.

pricing for a rental car reservation in cash and points
Credit: American Express

The rental car booking process also permits paying now or later. The terms and prices may vary depending on which option you choose. Read them carefully before continuing with the booking process.

option to pay now or pay later for a rental car booking
Credit: American Express

As these are third-party bookings, you may forego your rental car elite status benefits. That means you won't get perks like free upgrades and will need to wait in line to pick up your vehicle, rather than going straight to the lot.

How To Book Cruises Through Amex Travel

Booking a cruise through Amex Travel requires entering an intended destination, a cruise line, and a sailing date. You can narrow down the exact itinerary and departure location after beginning the search.

search page for cruises on Amex Travel
Credit: American Express

The payment process is identical to every other travel method. You can redeem points, pay in cash, or use a mix of both when checking out. If you choose to redeem Membership Rewards, you can do so for 0.7 cents per point.

cruise itinerary options
Credit: American Express

Cruise Privileges Program

Amex Centurion Card, Business Platinum Card, and Amex Platinum cardmembers can take advantage of the Cruise Privileges Program for extra benefits on bookings of five nights or more. The benefits include a $100–$300 per stateroom onboard credit that's redeemable for dining, spa treatments, and more. Other unique amenities, such as premium wines, may be available, depending on the cruise line you select. To qualify for the benefits, the card member must be cruising.

Credit: American Express

American Express Travel Login

To access the Amex Travel portal, you'll first want to visit this page. Click on the blue “Log In” button in the top right corner, then enter your American Express login credentials.

Top menu items from Amex Travel including where to find the log in button
Credit: American Express

After completing both steps, you'll be ready to book travel.

How To Redeem Amex Points for Travel

On the last page of the booking process, you'll find an option to redeem Membership Rewards for travel. This holds true whether you're booking flights, rental cars, hotels, or cruises. If you choose to apply Membership Rewards to your booking, you can do so for the entirety of the amount or a portion of it.

payment page with options for credit card, points, or a mix of the two
Credit: American Express

When It Makes Sense to Book with Amex Travel

There are a few things to consider when booking through Amex Travel. Here's what you should think about:

Is the price competitive?

Before booking with Amex Travel, doing due diligence and comparing price options is worthwhile. You might find a better deal by booking directly with a company, such as an airline or hotel, through another portal, or even through Google Flights. Be sure to compare prices unless you're trying to cash in a specific benefit, such as the $200 in prepaid hotel statement credits afforded on the Amex Platinum. It could save you some money.

Will my travel plans change?

If your travel plans change or you need to cancel a booking made through Amex Travel, you must contact American Express' helpline. If there are changes or cancelation fees, a representative will inform you of them. Amex Travel generally allows a 24-hour cancellation window for most reservations. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen numerous airlines and hotel programs eliminate change and cancelation fees; however, you need to book directly with them to avail this flexibility.

Can my Membership Rewards be redeemed for more value elsewhere?

Membership Rewards are worth 1 cent per point on flights and 0.7 cents per point on hotel, cruise, and rental car reservations when redeemed on Amex Travel. Membership Rewards are typically redeemed at 2.14¢ per point by AwardWallet users when using Amex's transfer partners.

Essentially, the answer is yes, Membership Rewards can be redeemed for more value elsewhere. However, if you're looking to offset the cash cost of a booking, redeeming points via Amex Travel can be beneficial.

Should I book with Amex Travel?

If the price is competitive, you're comfortable with the points and miles earnings (or lack thereof), and you understand the change and cancelation policies, booking through Amex Travel could be a great idea. If you might need to change your plans, prefer to take advantage of hotel status, or seek a more valuable return on your Membership Rewards redemption, booking elsewhere makes more sense.

When doing the math, make sure you understand the final price after any rebates. If you've found a great deal on a business-class flight and can get 35% of your points back with the Business Platinum Card, that changes the math. Take these benefits into account.

Bottom Line

The Amex Travel portal is a convenient way to book travel. Offering a simple process and a way to redeem Membership Rewards, it's worth looking at the next time you plan a trip.

American Express cardholders can take advantage of many benefits affiliated with going through the portal, such as the International Airline Program, hotel experience credits, cruise perks, and more.

While the return on Membership Rewards might be low compared to using transfer partners, the ability to pay in points, cash, or a combination could be a helpful money-saving mechanism when travel costs are still high.

Have you booked a trip through Amex Travel? What did you think the best feature was?

5 / 5 - (2 votes)
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