I have mentioned before that one of the best perks of the Platinum Card from American Express is the Intl Airline Program. Last year the program saved me $500 per ticket on a last minute business class booking to India. Well there is some great news that came about within the last couple of days. American Express has now made the program and its pricing available on its online travel portal. So there is no need to call that number on the back of your AMEX Platinum Card and wait until they check every possible itinerary for you. Don’t get me wrong here, AMEX agents are the epitome of patience, helpfulness, and politeness, but it is still a pain having them look up every possible permutation and combination of flight segments.
I was just randomly looking up pricing on flights to New Zealand and stumbled upon this on the AMEX website. In case you are wondering why this guy randomly looks up flights to New Zealand, its because I was feeling a pang of nostalgia from watching my own New Zealand Travel Vlogs.
Anyway if you look at the pricing for a nonstop flight on the Houston – Auckland route on Google Flights with Air New Zealand, you will be shocked to note that the price for that flight is an obscene, $12,874. If you are interested go for it, here is the link.
If you do have an AMEX Platinum Card and decide to do some research into it, you will note that the same flight is available for a more reasonable $10k on the AMEX Travel Portal. This represents a savings of $3000 or around 25%.
I know most of us won’t even think about paying $10k for a flight to New Zealand so here is another example, which is a bit more sensible for most people: A flight from Atlanta to Bombay, India costs $2994 on 99% of sites for the Christmas holiday season (economy fares are also in the $2000s during the time):
That same flight costs $2515 on AMEX’s travel portal with the International Airline Program, which is a savings of around 16% during a time of year which is notorious for monstrous rates to India in all classes of service.
When prompted to select cards upon reaching AMEX Travel make sure to click on the Membership Rewards account featuring your Platinum Card. Note that this feature is only available to those holding the AMEX Platinum Cards. So those of you who don’t hold one of those cards will not see this feature activated on the website with your searches.
So if you were ever to come upon a reasonable business class fare on Google Flights departing the United States, do yourself a favor by checking the AMEX travel portal before you book because you could potentially save $100s if not $1000s. I don’t know what sort of agreement AMEX has with these airlines, but if you make one booking using the International Airline Program, the AMEX Platinum Card virtually pays for itself. My theory is that airlines don’t expect to fill those seats at those high prices anyway and so are willing to offer AMEX a concession for filling them at 75-80% of the market rate. Let’s not forget that this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the cards’ benefits. Oh yeah, don’t forget that you also earn 5x Membership Rewards points on travel bookings made through the AMEX Travel Portal using your Business/Personal Platinum Card.