How To Use The American Express International Airline Program – Forbes Advisor

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American Express is known for its slate of premium cards offering rich rewards and a bevy of benefits. However, one of the lesser-known perks is the American Express International Airline Program (AMIAP). It can save you hundreds of dollars off international premium, business, and first class flights booked via the AMIAP site.

The main headline with AMIAP is the ability to book premium, business and first class fares with up to 20% savings. This could potentially save hundreds of dollars off the regular booking price.

Before getting into the details, let’s discuss the evolution of this program. Prior to 2017, American Express offered two-for-one companion tickets for members as part of the American Express International Airline Program. While it was a great idea in theory, you still had to purchase a full fare ticket in order to receive this benefit. It got very little use, so Amex revamped the entire program into the current version of the AMIAP.

What Is the American Express International Airline Program?

The American Express’ International Airline Program is available to primary cardholders and authorized users booking flights via the Platinum Travel service. Flights must originate in the US or main Canadian gateways such as Toronto (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR) and Montreal (YUL).

The discounted fares are offered through particular partnerships such as British Airways, Etihad Airways, Iberia Airlines and Singapore Airlines. However, many other airlines offer discounted fares as well. Here is a complete list of airlines seen with discounted fares:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Asia
  • Austrian
  • British Airways
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Airlines
  • Delta
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM
  • LATAM
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Switzerland
  • Virgin Atlantic

AMIAP allows up to eight tickets to be purchased at a discounted rate. The primary or authorized user of the card must be flying on one of the tickets in order to receive the discount. It can be used to book both refundable and non-refundable tickets.

Which Cards Qualify for the American Express International Airline Program?

Eligible consumer and business Platinum and Centurion cards qualify including:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms apply.)
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Terms apply.)
  • Centurion® Card from American Express*

Note that the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Terms apply), the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card (Terms apply) and Corporate Platinum Card® from American Express are missing from this list, so you’ll need to have one of the above cards to access these benefits.

Booking Flights with the American Express International Airline Program

The best way to utilize the AMIAP is to find reasonably priced flights on Google Flights or Kayak first. From there, you want to make sure the fares you are looking at fall within the guidelines discussed above. Once you find a route you’d like to book, proceed to search for the same flight on your corresponding American Express booking portal to find a discounted fare. This doesn’t always work, but it is worth checking out the next time you are booking a ticket above economy class.

For an example, let’s look at booking a round trip premium economy flight from Nashville (BNA) to London (LHR) for seven days using Google Flights.

The earliest and best priced flights are in the third week of September. Upon review, the top three options for the best priced routes can be seen. Only approved airlines with AMIAP can be used to find discounted fares, so British Airways will be the best option:

The selected flight is $1,722 for a round trip flight. With itinerary details found, you would then search for the exact same flight by logging into your American Express Platinum service travel portal. Additionally, you can call into Amex using the number on the back of your card, but you will incur an additional fee for booking over the phone.

When you are logged in and start searching the same flight, this is how an AMIAP flight will appear:

Now that you have found the discounted flight, you can proceed towards booking the flight with your Amex card or by using points.

Additional Benefits of Utilizing AMIAP

There are some distinct advantages of booking through AMIAP beyond the discount. First off, you have the ability to use all or some of your Membership Reward® points towards the purchase of the ticket starting at a minimum of 5,000 points. If any amount remains, then it will then be charged to your card.

Additionally, you will receive a 5 point bonus for every dollar spent for purchasing directly on the Amex Travel portal versus booking on Google Flights or wherever you found your airfare. You’ll even earn frequent flier miles with the airline for your flight booked this way.

Another potential benefit of booking via AMIAP is you can receive an additional 35% back in points for points used towards your premium economy booking flight if the airline is the same as the one you chose to receive your annual airline incidental fee statement credit—a benefit of the Business Platinum (up to 1 million points per calendar year) and Centurion cards. If you used it to book a business or first class flight, then you would receive 35% back anyway, no matter which airline your flight is on.

Find The Best American Express Credit Cards Of 2022

Bottom line

The American Express’ International Airline Program may appear cumbersome, but when utilized to its fullest, it can lead to massive discounts for your next premium cabin flight. For instance, imagine saving up to seven of your friends or family a few hundred dollars by booking a ticket together for your next getaway. With just a few extra steps, you could put significant savings into your pocket—or use it towards your next adventure.

To view rates and fees for The Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.
To view rates and fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express please visit this page.

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