Over the course of the pandemic, major credit card issuers have added a host of perks to supplement some of the drastic changes in lifestyle, particularly when it comes to travel rewards cards. Some issuers added points bonuses for grocery stores and gas stations, while others added credits for streaming services and food delivery apps. American Express, above all others, may just come in at the top of the pack with its comprehensive benefit additions.
Its long list of new offers also includes a $200 travel credit. Any personal Platinum cardholder will receive the credit when booking through the Amex Travel portal as long as their card was renewed between April 2020 and March 2021. Keep in mind, this $200 is on top of the already well-loved $200 airline fee reimbursement that’s already available annually to Platinum cardholders.
American Express Platinum travel credit can be used on any booking on Amex Travel, including prepaid or postpaid reservations. It applies to hotels, flights, cruises, and rental cars.
While it’s always a plus to get $200 deducted from any vacation purchase, one of the best ways to leverage this bonus is to apply it to a reservation with the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts program to compound the benefits. If this is your first time hearing about Amex Fine Hotels, you’re going to love this. The Fine Hotels and Resorts program is available to Platinum cardholders when booking through the Amex Travel website. A number of luxury hotels around the world participate in the program, providing special add-ons such as:
- Early check-in (12:00 PM when available)
- Guaranteed 4:00 PM check-out
- Complimentary breakfast for two
- $100 to spend in the form of food and beverage, spa or property credit
- Room upgrade (upon check-in when available)
This program is totally free of charge to access with a Platinum card and can be found when searching for hotels through the Amex Travel portal. All the participating hotels appear in a grey box with the unique benefits listed.
For example, let’s say you are looking to book a vacation in San Francisco. Using Amex Travel, you can see the Taj Campton Place is available for an average of $245 per night.
Right away, the $200 discount would make this booking just $45 for the night. On top of this, because you’d be booking with Fine Hotels and Resorts, you’d also get the benefits mentioned above, such as free breakfast, $100 to spend on property, and late checkout.
With these perks, you’d end up with a more-than-free hotel room for a wonderful staycation.
If there are no hotels available in the Fine Hotels and Resorts program, you may note another option available when booking through the same Amex Travel portal, called The Hotel Collection. The Hotel Collection is available to Platinum and Gold Amex cardholders and includes $100 to spend at the hotel. While it does not have the same extensive list of inclusions, like free breakfast or late check out, it does offer another way to get a little extra out of your hotel reservation. The $200 travel credit can also be leveraged when booking hotels through The Hotel Collection.
Booking a weekend at the Loews Miami Beach, for example, will run you around $349 per night. However, booking through Amex Travel plus The Hotel Collection, denoted in blue, will include a $100 property credit, adding the extra $100 to your $200 credit, almost making your first night free.
If you’re looking to finally take that international flight this summer, keep in mind there is a lesser-known offering that American Express Platinum cardholders also have access to International Airline Program. This gives travelers points savings on premium airline seats, including Premium Economy or Business/First Class.
These fares can save you a few hundred dollars, or several thousand, depending on the class, destination, and airline. The $200 credit also applies to these flights, adding an additional incentive to book using the Amex Travel portal. You’ll also earn valuable points (5x per dollar) that you can utilize later or transfer to any of Amex’s partners.
Here’s a flight example, searching via the International Airline Program.
Whether you’re looking to stay local and enjoy a few nights at a nice hotel without breaking the bank or take that long-awaited international flight, the American Express Platinum travel credit is an easy win to combat the rising annual fee.