Cardholders can redeem American Express points for flights on 18 airlines through the American Express Travel portal. Anyone can book flights through American Express Travel, not just cardholders. But some flights have a tab that says, “Insider Fares Available.” These fares are for Amex cardholders only, and only apply if you’re using points to book the whole flight (not subsidizing points with a credit card purchase). The insider fares are supposed to be slightly cheaper, as an incentive to become a cardholder and use your points to book flights. However, as other cardholders have found, any price difference is usually minimal.
In addition to not getting significantly better prices when booking flights through American Express, you’ll also have to pay extra Amex fees, whether you’re a cardholder or not. American Express charges a $6.99 fee for domestic flights and a $10.99 fee for international flights when you book through the portal. Platinum and Centurion cardholders are exempt from the extra fees.
If you’re booking American Express flights so you can use your points for the fare, then they’re worth it. But if you’re looking to book flights at a discounted rate, there’s not much difference between Amex flights and what you’ll find on other sites.
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