Amex Travel: Understanding Why it’s Not Always the Best Option for Travel

There are so many travel booking portals that I can’t keep up with all of them. Credit cards have them, airlines have them, hotels have them, Cash Back websites have them… They’re all basically the same thing. You book travel through their portal and in return you’ll get something extra. Some cash back, extra perks, or more points earned. AmexTravel is no different. It’s essentially a search engine for booking travel.

I like to use points for travel whenever possible, but occasionally it just doesn’t work out. When I’m forced to spend money on travel expenses I shop around on a few different travel portals. Typically they all have similar prices.

What is AmexTravel?

AmexTravel is a travel booking portal just like Expedia, Kayak, Hotwire, and Trivago. I’m sure you’ve seen TV commercials for about a million different versions. You can book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages. If you book your travel with AmexTravel you’ll likely be paying a fee. Flights and travel packages, for instance, will cost an additional $6.99 domestically and $10.99 internationally (except if you’re a Platinum cardholder).


We’ll take a look at the features of AmexTravel and see if it’s worth using their service to book your next vacation. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it won’t be, but I’ve been wrong once or twice before. There may be times and certain situations when it does make sense.

amex travel

Prices on AmexTravel

For most people, the most important thing when it comes to booking travel is the price. AmexTravel isn’t known for its great prices. Typically, you’ll pay the same amount or more than you would on another travel booking portal when paying with money. If you’re an Amex cardholder you will earn bonus points on purchases made through AmexTravel. So, if the price is the same as elsewhere, you can earn extra Membership Rewards points while paying the same price. In this case, it would make sense to book through AmexTravel because you’d get something extra at no cost.

Periodically, Amex Offers will have a special discount for using AmexTravel. They’ll offer something like 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you book travel of $500. This would make it worthwhile to use AmexTravel. 10,000 Membership Rewards points can be worth more than $200 depending on how you redeem the points.

AmexTravel Customer Service

While they aren’t known for great prices, it seems that AmexTravel has been known, in the past, for their customer service. If you are someone who doesn’t want to have to worry about anything on your trip, booking with AmexTravel might be for you if you can connect with a good rep. They will be able to rebook anything that goes wrong on your vacation. Likewise, you can call them with any issues that may arise and talk to a live human to get your problem solved.

The problem is as of recently I’ve seen a large number of bad reviews online, claiming that the customer service is now terrible. Many people within the past year have mentioned that the customer service reps don’t care and make a lot of mistakes. While AmexTravel apparently used to have great customer service, it doesn’t seem that way anymore according to the comments a few review sites I found.

fine hotels and resorts

Benefits of Booking on AmexTravel

If the pricing is not great, and the customer service is subpar as of late, you may be wondering what the benefits of AmexTravel are. Well, there are two main benefits that make AmexTravel an option to consider.

First, you can earn extra Membership Rewards by booking with them. If you can find a good priced booking and can get over the bad customer service, there are easy points to be had.

Second, some bookings will give you extra benefits or perks at hotels and on cruises. Booking through AmexTravel may offer extra perks like onboard credit, free specialty dinners, or other added bonuses to cruises. At hotels, you might get early check-in, late check-out, free breakfast, wi-fi, room upgrades, or unique amenities. If either of these perks outweighs the difference in price, booking with AmexTravel might be worth it for you.

Combine Membership Rewards Points & Money to Book

Another nice thing about AmexTravel is the ability to use both points and money in the same transaction. Say you have some extra Membership Rewards points and need to use them up. You can use those to bring down the cost of your vacation.

When you use Membership Rewards in the travel portal you will only be redeeming them for one cent per point (which is the lowest redemption rate possible). It only makes sense to do this if you won’t be able to use those points for a more valuable redemption elsewhere.

Credit Cards that Earn Bonus Points on AmexTravel

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons to use AmexTravel for booking is to earn extra Membership Rewards points. You can earn bonus points on your flight and hotel purchases if you use certain American Express credit cards. With the Gold and Platinum cards from American Express, you’ll earn from 3-5X points per dollar spent.

Amex Platinum Card

You’ll earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.
You’ll earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel. You’ll earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on
Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month (bonus $20 in December).
Enjoy access to the exclusive Global Airport Lounge Collection.
$200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 every calendar year with one qualifying airline. Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your card. Enrollment required.
Fine Hotels & Resorts Access.
Hilton & Marriott Gold Status.
Discounts on First/Business/Premium Economy tickets.
$550 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees.
Terms Apply
With a large introductory offer, statement credits, and airport lounge access, this is an excellent premium travel credit card.
[earnist_link ref="the-platinum-card-from-american-express" id="6500"]LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>[/earnist_link]

Amex Business Platinum Card

You’ll earn up to 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months.
You’ll earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel. You’ll earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on
Earn 50% more points on purchases over $5000. (up to 1 million bonus points.)
$200 airline credit.
Global Lounge Collection access.
TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
Get 35% back when booking a flight with Membership Rewards on a select airline.
Two $100 statement credits from Dell annually.
1 year of Platinum Global access to WeWork. (enrollment through 2019)
$595 annual fee.
No foreign transaction fees
Terms Apply
If you have many high ticket purchases yearly, this card will earn you a good percentage back. The WeWork membership could be very valuable, if you need a place to work for a year.
[earnist_link ref="amex-business-platinum-card-apply" id="6252"]LEARN HOW TO APPLY >>[/earnist_link]

Amex Gold Card

You’ll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months.
You’ll earn 4X points at restaurants globally, and US supermarkets. (up to $25k in purchases per year) You'll also earn 3X on
Get $10 in statement credits per month for purchases at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House.
$100 airline fee credit on selected airline.
No foreign transaction fees.
$250 annual fee.
Terms Apply
If you spend a lot of money on food and travel, this card will be worth the annual fee. If not, it probably isn't worth paying $250 per year.
[earnist_link ref="american-express-gold-card" id="9203"]LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>[/earnist_link]

American Express Business Gold Card

You'll earn 70,000 Membership Rewards after spending $10,000 in the first 3 months.
You’ll earn 4X points on 2 select categories that your business spent the most on each month. ($150k limit per calendar year)
Get 25% points back after you redeem points for an eligible flight booked through Amex Travel.
1 year free subscriptions to G Suite Basic for up to 3 users and Zip Recruiter Standard.
Pay over time on purchases of $100 or more.
Access expense management tools like Quickbooks and SpendManagerSM.
Additional employee cards at no cost.
$295 annual fee.
Terms Apply
If your business spends a lot of money and takes advantage of the included tools, this card can pay off big. Especially if you use your points to book flights on Amex Travel. Also, the introductory offer is substantial.
[earnist_link ref="the-business-gold-rewards-card-from-american-express" id="10460"]LEARN HOW TO APPLY NOW >>[/earnist_link]

Fine Hotels and Resorts

Fine Hotels and Resorts is a program exclusively for American Express Platinum cardholders (personal or business). The Fine Hotels and Resorts program is aimed at high-end leisure travelers who are looking for luxury.

When you book a hotel or resort room through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program you will get the following extra benefits:

  • Early noon check-in, when available.
  • Room upgrade, when available.
  • Daily breakfast for two.
  • Guaranteed 4 pm late checkout.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi.
  • A unique amenity at each property.

Prices are typically identical to booking through the hotel directly on a standard reservation. This usually means that by booking through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program you’ll be paying more than a prepaid booking elsewhere. Early purchase and Prepaid bookings are typically much cheaper than standard rates. It only makes sense to book through this program if the extra perks are worth the price difference.

When booking through the Fine Hotels and Resorts program you will still earn hotel stays through the hotels’ loyalty program. You’ll also receive elite benefits that your hotel status earns.

amex travel card

Amex Hotel Collection

The Hotel Collection is a program for certain American Express cardholders that gives extra benefits at certain hotels. All four Amex credit cards listed above grant access to The Hotel Collection. It has separate hotels and resorts than the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, so there is no overlap.

When you book a hotel room through The Hotel Collection you will get certain perks including:

  • $75 Hotel credit for dining, spa, room service, pay-per-view and resort activities.
  • Room upgrades, when available.
  • Extra Membership Rewards when booked with Amex Gold or Platinum.

American Express will guarantee that they have the lowest public rate for these hotels. All bookings are prepaid. Usually, the prices are a few dollars cheaper than booking directly with the hotel or through other travel portals. When booking with The Hotel Collection you, unfortunately, will not earn points or get elite benefits through any hotel status you may have.

If you don’t already have elite status at your desired hotel, it makes sense to book through The Hotel Collection. You’ll earn the hotel credit and have a chance to be upgraded to a better room. If you do have elite status, you’ll want to compare which route gives you the best benefits.

amex travel hotel benefits

AmexTravel Insurance

While all of the credit cards mentioned above provide different levels of travel insurance, American Express also offers their own travel insurance. It offers things like coverage for trip cancellation, travel medical coverage, lost or delayed baggage, and more. You’ll receive 24-hour travel assistance by phone and can get covered as an individual or for a group package. You don’t even have to be an American Express cardholder to purchase travel insurance through them. American Express travel insurance is for residents of the United States but gives coverage for trips worldwide.

Reviews of Amex travel insurance don’t seem to be the greatest. A better option to consider for travel insurance is [earnist_link ref=”world-nomads” id=”10609″]World Nomads travel insurance[/earnist_link]. It is trusted by travelers around the world and companies like Lonely Planet and Nomadic Matt.

amex travel insurance

Our Concluding Takeaway: You Likely Shouldn’t Book on AmexTravel

AmexTravel can be a useful travel booking portal if you’re looking for extra perks or you want to earn more Membership Rewards points. Often, AmexTravel doesn’t have the best prices. If you’re paying with an Amex Gold or Amex Platinum card it may be worth paying slightly more due to the extra points you’ll earn.

The other reason you would use AmexTravel is for the comfort in having someone to contact about your travel plans. If you have any issues along the way, you can call up their customer service and have someone working for you 24/7. If you’re willing to pay a little bit more for extra service, this service might be for you.

About The Author