The Amex International Airline Program offers discounts on flights booked through American Express Travel. It is a benefit available to American Express Platinum, Business Platinum and Centurion cardholders.
The discounts were added when American Express upgraded the International Arline Program in June 2017. It used to offer a two-for-one deal on refundable business- or first-class international tickets. But the deal only applied when you booked a full-fare ticket. And those fares were often double the cost of two discounted ones.
You can now buy up to eight tickets in a single booking through more than 20 participating airlines. Savings are not guaranteed, but travelers have reported airfare discounts from 25% to 40%.
Here is what you should know about the Amex International Airline Program:
· Any First Class, Business, or Premium Economy international flight on American Express Travel is eligible for the discount.
· You won’t be able to see fares online. You have to call the toll-free number on the back of your card for a quote for your trip. You can then book the flight if you like the price.
· There is a $39 service fee per ticket purchased through the Amex International Airline Program. Centurion cardholders don’t pay the fee.
· Discounted flights must start in and return to the U.S. and select Canadian gateways. A Platinum or Centurion cardholder must be traveling in order to get the discounted fares.
· The Platinum Card earns 5 points per $1 spent on flights booked through American Express Travel. And you can still earn points on flights that you pay for with Amex’s “Pay with Points” option. You can redeem your points at 1.54 cents each toward flights.
· The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card is not eligible to receive discounts unless the cardholder also carries the American Express Platinum Card. In that case, you can get discounted rates using both cards.
The upgraded Amex International Airline Program may not be a big enough reason to pay the Platinum card’s $550 annual fee. But if you travel abroad a lot, it’s worth considering. Keep in mind that American Express is still limited in its acceptance internationally, at least compared to Visa and Mastercard.