Amex International Airline Program
Update 5/3/19: It is now possible to book these flights online to avoid the $39 fee. This also makes it easier to search for flights.
American Express’s International Airline Program offers flight discounts on premium economy, business and first class fares with participating airlines on up to 8 tickets booked through Amex Travel when an eligible cardholder is flying on the itinerary.
The list of airlines seems to fluctuate slightly but over 20 airlines participate including Delta, Air France, Lufthansa, Qatar, British Airways, Virgin and Emirates. This program is one of the many benefits available to Platinum Card members. For a full explanation of benefits American Express Platinum Card Benefits: Ultimate Guide Including Details of Each Perk and How to Maximize.
I’ve had luck with this program, unlike The Travel Collection which I covered recently here, New Amex Platinum Benefit Promises Flight Discounts on United, Lufthansa & More. But is it a Perk or Bait and Switch?
Amex Platinum’s IAP Details and Eligibility
Tickets eligible for the program are restricted to premium economy, business and first class. They must fly internationally and must originate from and return to the US or in limited circumstances, Canada.
Airlines reserve the right to modify fare rules and program participation prior to booking. As with any purchased ticket, tickets are non-transferable or endorsable. To receive discount, the purchase of the qualifying First, Business, or Premium Economy Class ticket/s on a participating airline must be made through American Express Travel (Platinum Travel Service, Business Platinum Travel, or Centurion Travel Service) and paid in full with an American Express Card in the Member’s name. Available for U.S. Platinum Charge Card Members and U.S. Centurion Members only.
One-way travel permitted on some airlines where routing originates in U.S. or select Canadian Gateways. Available service classes in First, Business or Premium Economy are subject to airline availability. Card Member and up to seven additional First, Business or Premium Economy Class passengers must travel on same air itinerary.
IAP Requirements Recap
- First, Business, or Premium Economy Class ticket
- Participating airline
- Purchased through Amex travel
- Paid for with platinum or Centurion Card
- Travel must originate in and return to U.S. gateway and select Canadian gateways
- International itinerary
American Express International Airline Program Discount
There is no set discount, nor is there a consistent discount percentage on any particular airline. It all depends on the inventory each airline makes available to Amex. The discount applies to the base airfare of the ticket.
I’ve done multiple airfare searches to various locations and on different airlines. Below you will find real life examples of the discount or lack thereof.
Business Class: NYC to Paris Dates: 12/20/18-12/26/18
- IAP Price $2921
- Google Flights $3517
- IAP Price $2958
- Google Flights $3554
- Air France (Non-Stop)
- IAP Price $3212
- Google Flights$3756
- British Airways
- No Discount on Biz or First for this itinerary
Boston-Lisbon 8/30-9/2 on any Iberia or British Airways Marketed flight
Iberia is pricing out at 2975.41USD + 39.00USD Amex Ticket Fee
That itinerary not on the program was 3181.41USD ticket fee. So you would be saving $167 with the International Airline Program.
JAL From NYC to Hong Kong 9/3-9/6 Premium Economy
Airline price: $2300 (approx)
IAP Price Including Fee: $1969
How Much Does it Cost to Book through the International Airline Program
UPDATE: It is now possible to book these discounted flights online.
Non-refundable American Express service fee of $39 (per ticket) applies to each ticket purchased through the program and itinerary change. To be clear, there is a $39 fee for each change as well as rebooking. This ticketing fee is waived for Centurion Members.
How to Book Tickets Through the International Airline Program
Remember you can now use chat: My New Favorite Travel and Airfare Perk From Amex Membership Rewards! Book Through Chat.
You must book through Amex Travel, either over the phone or through the travel chat feature. A few weeks ago I discovered a really cool new way to book travel with Amex chat and have been using it a lot. The process is pretty similar for both methods. First, they verify your information to make sure you’re eligible and then they ask you for your travel preferences so that they can search your flights.
Platinum Travel Service 1-800-525-3355
Business Platinum Travel 1-800-553-9497
Tickets are purchased through Amex Travel so you’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards Points on your airfare purchase in addition to any miles and points you’d earn when booking direct. These flights also count for elite status requirements. In terms of payment, you can also use points to pay for all or part of your fare. Even better? if you have the Business Platinum card this discount can be used in conjunction with the 35% rebate. For more info on how this works, check out our Guide: American Express Business Platinum 35% Point Rebate Airline Bonus: Get 50% More Value From Your Amex Membership Rewards with this Awesome Travel Benefit.
I love this benefit and almost never book a flight without checking prices at Amex Travel for potential discounts. The inclusion of Premium Economy fares is especially advantageous for travelers since they can be close in price to economy. I wish that Amex would find a way for the fares to show in the portal, but the chat function is a step in the right direction.
As you can see, the American Express Platinum Card has a ton of benefits and depending on your needs it may very well be worth the $550 annual fee. Before applying make sure you check to see if you’re eligible for 100k Welcome offer. Platinum also happens to be my favorite premium card because of the elite status at Hilton, SPG and Marriott and the Membership Rewards program. Here’s our American Express Membership Rewards Points Guide: Including Best Ways to Earn and Redeem Rewards Points.