How The Amex Platinum Card Can Save You Money On Airfare

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A few days ago I wrote a post about how I justify the annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers all kinds of awesome perks. We all value different benefits of credit cards, and in that post I outlined the perks of the card that get me the most value.

Personally what I value most is the $200 annual Uber credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, 5x points on airfare, access to Amex Centurion Lounges, and access to Delta SkyClubs. There are lots of other great perks to the card (many will appreciate Hilton Gold status, Starwood Gold status, a Priority Pass membership, the TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry fee credit), though personally those are the ones I value most.

However, on that post reader Jon left a comment about how I didn’t mention the Amex Platinum Card International Airline Program, since this is a really great perk. This is one I had forgotten about for a while, so I figure if I forgot about it, presumably many others did as well.

In June American Express introduced a new International Airline Program, which is available to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.

Back in the day Amex offered a 2-for-1 international airfare deal, which personally I never used or found value in. That’s because you had to buy a full fare ticket in order to take advantage of that, and more often than not it was possible to buy two discounted business class tickets for less than the cost of one full fare business class ticket.

So Amex discontinued that program, and instead introduced this new program. What’s so great about the new program is that it’s valid on all first class, business class, and premium economy fares on the following 18 airlines:

Nowadays airlines seem to be offering more premium cabin fare sales than ever before, in many cases making premium cabin travel quite affordable. With this perk you can save even more on the cost of premium cabin tickets, even if they’re already discounted.

As a reminder, the basic terms of using this benefit are as follows:

  • Valid for first class, business class, and premium economy tickets booked through Amex Travel, including both refundable and non-refundable tickets
  • Valid for the purchase of 1-8 tickets
  • A $39 service fee applies, which is waived for Centurion Card members
  • Only valid for travel originating in the US and “select Canadian gateways”
  • You can use the “Amex Pay With Points” benefit to book tickets through this program
  • To get quotes using this deal, you need to call 1-800-525-3355 if you have the Amex Personal Platinum Card, or 1-800-553-9497 if you have the Amex Business Platinum Card


Save on Etihad business class tickets using the Amex International Airline Program

Shortly after this benefit was introduced, I made several calls to inquire about pricing, and it was pretty consistently $100-400 cheaper than what I could otherwise find. It has been a while since I’ve booked a discounted business class ticket for travel originating in the US, though when I do, you can bet I’ll be using this program.

If you have the Amex Personal Platinum Card or Amex Business Platinum Card, be sure you remember this benefit the next time you’re booking a premium cabin international ticket, even if it’s already a discounted fare.

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Comments

  1. I’m assuming these have to be international tickets — though in your post you say that they are valid for any first, business or premium economy fare. Does that include, for example, Delta LAX -> MSP in domestic first?

  2. I used this service the other day. The price they gave me was $20 higher because of the ticketing fee. They said they would waive the ticketing fee, which made it around $60 cheaper. The only issue was that it took 45 minutes for the whole ticketing process. I booked a PE flight on BA.

    @BCO must be an international itinerary.

  3. is this considered an OTA booking since its thru AmexTravel? Any problems with getting Elite status benefits or crediting mileage to frequent flyer programs?

  4. This is a stretch to justify the Platinum Card. Reality is, the value proposition for this card is greatly reduced, for a variety of reasons, number one the disappearance of partner award ticket inventory. As far as the clubs, if you’re a solo traveler, it’s alright but for anybody with a family, the card is even less useful.

  5. The Amex Platinum IAP program does not get nearly enough press on this blog. It saves a ton of money if you actually book F, J or PE tickets.

    For example, I just booked two business class tickets LAX-LHR on Virgin Atlantic for roughly $3900 per ticket vs. $4450 per ticket on the Virgin Atlantic website. I also saved about $200 per ticket on an LAX-HKG flight in PE on Cathay.

    Obviously, if you don’t book those types of fares, the program is useless to you, but these are real savings that more than justify the $550 annual fee.

  6. This program is awesome. Saved $550 on a round trip fare on AF by using the program. That, by itself, made up for the annual fee on the card.

  7. I used this program earlier this year when Air France had their first class sale, I bought a first class ticket from JFK-CDG-BCN. Everyone quoted me a RT price of $3400 and through the program I saved $400. I received a confirmation email later that day. However, three days later Amex informed me that there was a glitch and they never bought my ticket. Their solution was to fly Delta for $2800 to which I said no. Then they said they could charge me $3400, buy the ticket and I could dispute the $400 difference and then perhaps I will get a refund in 10-12 weeks. I declined. Amex really botched up my purchase.

  8. @lukas,were you able to book the Delta flight on Amex travel site. It says flights not available when you request Delta.
    I called Amex Travel a few times they say we have same access they do searching on amex travel site, so why call ?

  9. You only get the 35% points back if you Pay with Points using the Amex Platinum BUSINESS Card. The regular (Personal) Platinum Card does not offer a points rebate. I found out the hard way!

  10. This is a very poorly written post.

    You never even clearly state what the program provides. I can infer based on your phone call paragraph, but how about a statement about what it specifically is/does for me.

  11. To be honest, I think many of the perks that you mentioned I value, except the travel service through American Express Platinum and the 5x points on airfare. While with other cards you get fewer points, it equally costs fewer points to redeem. AmEx is expensive when redeeming points compared to other credit cards and their travel service does not have many flights and cooperations as other cards. Also, even for something like a car rental, I found much cheaper rates through other providers, such as the JPMorgan Chase competitor card. I think it is not a monetary value of the card, but you have to consider the redemption value. If AmEx is expensive to redeem what good are the points. The benefits may outweigh the annual fee, and worth having the card even if you have few charges there, that doesn’t mean you may not want to hold the card.

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