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.
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.
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.
The Platinum Card from American Express Learn More >>
60,000 Points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
- Welcome Offer: You’ll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.
- Uber: Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month (bonus $20 in December).
- Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on American Express Travel.
- Airport Lounge Access: Enjoy access to the exclusive Global Lounge Collection.
- Statement Credits: $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.
- Annual Fee: $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
The Business Platinum Card from American Express Learn More >>
Up to 75,000 Point Introductory Offer
- Welcome Offer: You’ll earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points. You’ll earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 5X points on flights and prepaid hotels on American Express Travel. You’ll earn 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (up to 1,000,000 additional points per year).
- Flight Bonuses: 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards Pay with Points for a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year. You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
- Airport Lounge Access: You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge CollectionSM offering access to the most lounges across the globe.
- Other Travel Benefits: $200 Airline Credit per calendar year. Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit. Hilton & Starwood Gold Status.
- Annual Fee: $450 annual fee
- Terms Apply
American Express Gold Card Learn More >>
35,000 Points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
- Welcome Offer: You’ll earn 35,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.
- Category Spend Bonuses: You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points at US restaurants. 4X points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). You’ll earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel. Also earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card participating dining. Enrollment required.
- Statement Credits: $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
- Annual Fee: $250 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
American Express Business Gold Card Learn More >>
- Choose Your Rewards: You’ll earn 4X Membership Rewards points on 2 categories where your business spent the most each month.
- Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel.
- Exclusive Offers: Get up to one year free on subscriptions to G Suite Basic (up to 3 users) and ZipRecruiter Standard (combined value up to $3,188).
- Pay Over Time Option: Flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.
- Expense Management Tool: Connect to Quickbooks, access SpendManager, receive a Year-End Summary, plus more.
- Employee Cards: Add employee cards with a no annual fee option. Earn rewards on employee purchases and track employee expenses with spending limits, alerts, and summary reports.
- Annual Fee: $295 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply
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 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.
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 World Nomads travel insurance. It is trusted by travelers around the world and companies like Lonely Planet and Nomadic Matt.
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.