Everything to know about the Amex International Airline Program

Virgin Atlantic A350 16

The International Airline Program affords reductions in premium cabins on airways together with Virgin Atlantic.
David Slotnick/Business Insider

If you carry the American Express Platinum or Business Platinum card, you could not know about the Amex International Airline Program profit obtainable by your account. The program affords each particular factors redemption charges and discounted fares once you e-book premium-cabin seats on particular airways. The satan, after all, is in the particulars, so let’s dive in.

Keep in thoughts that we’re specializing in the rewards and perks that make these bank cards nice choices, not issues like rates of interest and late charges, which can far outweigh the worth of any factors or miles. It’s necessary to observe monetary self-discipline when utilizing bank cards by paying your balances in full every month, making funds on time, and solely spending what you possibly can afford to pay again. 

What is the Amex International Airline Program?

The Amex International Airline Program will get you entry to decrease airfare with greater than 20 taking part airways once you e-book in first, enterprise, or premium financial system class. 

You want to e-book straight by the Amex International Airline Program touchdown web page — which is separate from Amex Travel — to get these reductions.

Fares that qualify for reductions

Amex International Airline Program particular charges solely apply to premium-cabin fares, together with premium financial system, first, and enterprise class. Be positive to choose the right class of service so as to see qualifying fares for this program — for example, you will not see these reductions if you choose financial system class.

You should buy Amex International Airline Program fares for your self and up to 7 individuals touring with you on the identical itinerary. However, you can’t buy these fares for different individuals once you aren’t touring with them. The reductions apply to each refundable and nonrefundable tickets.

As talked about above, you want to be an Amex Platinum or Business Platinum cardholder to entry the Amex International Airline Program and its advantages.

Bonus Amex factors 

Beyond reductions on eligible flights, you will additionally get 5 Amex factors per greenback once you e-book by the program once you pay together with your Amex Platinum or Business Platinum card.

Paying with factors

You can spend your Membership Rewards factors at a fee of 1 cent per level towards journey purchases with Amex Travel, and this contains particular fares bought by the Amex International Airline Program.

Business Platinum card members will even get a 35% factors rebate when utilizing factors on first and enterprise class fares, in addition to premium financial system fares on the airline they chose for the annual airline incidental charge credit score.

This rebate makes utilizing factors for flights an affordable choice to contemplate; for private Platinum cardmembers, nonetheless, you will typically get significantly better worth by transferring your factors to an airline loyalty program and reserving premium-cabin award seats.


Note that Amex International Airline Program fares could carry restrictions and provide totally different advantages than common fares bought straight by the airline. So make certain to learn the tremendous print!

For instance, not all particular fares are refundable, even in a business-class cabin. Special fares can also be ineligible for floor companies corresponding to limousine service or lounge entry (as is the case with sure fares on Emirates).

Finally, word that Amex costs a $39 charge to make bookings over the cellphone, so it is best to e-book on-line each time attainable.

Airline choices

Although flights from most airways can be found by Amex Travel, particular Amex International Airline Program charges are solely obtainable from these taking part airways:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air China
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • Alitalia
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Brussels Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Airlines
  • Delta
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa
  • Qatar Airways
  • Qantas
  • South African Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss
  • Virgin Atlantic

If you are touring to a vacation spot that is not served by one in all the above airways, you will not have the option to discover a particular fee with the Amex International Airline Program. However, as a result of Amex Travel is a full-service journey company, different fare choices can be proven.

How to e-book by the International Airline Program

By default, once you seek for flights by Amex, you will simply get regular charges. To use the Amex International Airline Program,you want to go to the particular program hyperlink. Make positive to log in to your American Express account earlier than you search.

If you seek for premium-cabin flights, itineraries which can be eligible for the International Airline Program low cost can be highlighted in the search outcomes. You’ll see the unique value crossed out and the discounted value proven as a replacement.

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Amex International Airline Program

The “original price” for this itinerary proven on the Amex Travel web site matches what Virgin Atlantic is charging by itself web site – on this case, the International Airline Program fare is greater than a $300 low cost in contrast to what Virgin Atlantic is charging for direct bookings.

However, simply because it is discounted does not imply it is the greatest fare – for these dates, British Airways flights with out the International Airline Program low cost are nonetheless $150 cheaper than the discounted Virgin Atlantic flights.

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Amex International Airline Program

When to use the Amex International Airline Program

If you want to e-book a money ticket in premium financial system, enterprise, or top notch and you’ve got an Amex Platinum or Business Platinum, checking IAP for reductions is a no brainer.

But the International Airline Program can be an effective way to use factors to e-book discounted premium fares for lower than you’d pay for an award ticket. Let’s take a look at a business-class flight from Los Angeles to Beijing for an instance.

One approach to e-book this ticket is to switch your Membership Rewards factors to Avianca Lifemiles and e-book an award ticket, which might price 150,000 Membership Rewards factors plus about $36 in taxes and charges.

Screenshot 2019 10 30 15.35.32

Avianca LifeMiles

A money ticket on the identical dates prices $1,705 — already a fairly good value for enterprise class from Los Angeles to China — and with the International Airline Program, you will save one other $180, making it simply $1,525 round-trip.

Screenshot 2019 10 30 15.14.04

Amex International Airline Program

If you could have a Business Platinum card, you possibly can pay 152,485 Membership Rewards factors, and you will get a 35% rebate of 53,370 factors, making your internet price simply over 99,000 factors.

On prime of that, you possibly can earn miles for the ticket with the frequent flyer program of your alternative. For instance, if you happen to gave Air China your United MileagePlus quantity, you’ll earn 15,592 United Airlines miles and a pair of,500 Premier Qualifying Points — that is midway to United Silver standing with only one round-trip flight.

Bottom line

The Amex International Airline Program typically affords extremely enticing fares for premium-cabin journey in contrast to the charges which can be obtainable to the common public. On prime of that, you will earn 5x Membership Rewards factors in your flight purchases. And if in case you have a Business Platinum card, you should use Membership Rewards factors to pay for the flight and get a 35% factors rebate for enterprise and top notch (or premium financial system in your chosen airline).

Will you need to frequently use this program? That depends upon your journey patterns, however most likely not. That being mentioned, if you happen to’re caught shopping for a ticket, the International Airline Program, is at all times an choice price checking, and you could be pleasantly stunned by the financial savings.

Click right here to be taught extra about the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

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