Book Flights With up to a 35% Rebate

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  • Transferring points to airlines usually yields the best value, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense.
  • Amex Travel’s Pay with Points feature allows cardholders to use points to cover almost any flight.
  • Some Amex small-business cards offer a points rebate when you redeem for certain flights.
  • Read Insider’s guide to the best travel rewards credit cards.

Generally, if you need to book a flight, you’ll get the best value from your flexible credit card points if you transfer them to a partner airline. But it’s not always possible, and it’s not always the best choice for a given situation.

You may not be able to find award availability on your desired route, for instance, or you may be chasing elite status and looking to book a paid fare that will earn you qualifying miles. Or, in the case of a cheap fare, it might not make sense to redeem airline miles for an award because the flight is so inexpensive.

Luckily for customers who hold cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points — including the American Express® Gold Card
, The Platinum Card® from American Express
, and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
— Amex offers an easy solution to those problems. 

Read more: The best American Express cards in 2021

Amex Travel’s Pay with Points feature allows cardholders to use their points to offset the price of cash fares, and it’s flexible, too: You can use the tool to cover your entire flight or just a portion of it. What’s more, if you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or American Express® Business Gold Card
, you’ll receive a points rebate when you redeem for eligible flights.

Here’s how you can save money on flights using Amex Pay With Points.

How Amex Travel Pay with Points works

Regular APR

14.24 – 22.24 Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within your first 3 months of card membership

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • More travel benefits than you’ll find on any other business credit card
    • Generous airport lounge access options, from American Express Centurion Lounges to Priority Pass (enrollment required)
    • Complimentary hotel elite status (enrollment required)
    • Access to Amex concierge services
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • Limited opportunities to earn bonus points
    • Annual statement credits won’t be useful for everyone
    • Welcome Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
    • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That’s an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
    • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of 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 when you book on amextravel.com.
    • Breeze through security with CLEAR® where available and get up to $179 back per year on your membership when you use your Card.
    • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
    • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.
    • Terms Apply.

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    American Express Travel’s Pay With Points feature allows cardholders to book travel using Membership Rewards points without having to worry about transferring rewards to airline or hotel loyalty programs.

    Probably the biggest benefit of Pay with Points is the fact that you can use it to book any flight, regardless of whether the airline has made award seats available.

    But it’s not necessarily the best way to book in every situation. When you use Pay with Points, you usually sacrifice value for convenience. Booking this way nets you just 1 cent per point, meaning a $600 flight will set you back 60,000 points — a sum in points that could get you a $6,000 business-class ticket between New York-JFK and Frankfurt if transferred to Air Canada Aeroplan, for instance.

    Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Amex Membership Rewards points

    There are exceptions if you have certain cards. With the Amex Business Platinum Card, using the Pay with Points feature for certain flights will automatically trigger a 35% points rebate — meaning after booking, you’ll see 35% of the points you spent return to your account (because this is a rebate, you’ll need to have the full amount of points needed for your flight in your account before you make your booking). The rebate effectively makes your points worth 1.54 cents each when you redeem through Pay with Points.

    With American Express® Business Gold Card, you’ll get a 25% rebate, making your points worth 1.33 cents each.

    The rebate is good for any first- or business-class fare, but if you want it to kick in on an economy flight purchase, it has to be with a preselected airline of your choice (the same airline you’ve selected for your incidental airline fee credits). Each January, you’ll have an opportunity to change up your selection, which extends through the rest of that calendar year.

    The benefit is also capped; you can receive up to 500,000 points back per calendar year with Amex Business Platinum Card, and 250,000 points back with the American Express® Business Gold Card.

    How to use American Express Travel Pay with Points

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership

    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • You can bonus points on the categories where you make the most purchases (from a list of options)
    • 25% points rebate when you use rewards to book an eligible flight through Amex Travel
    Cons

    • Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
    • More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month. 1X is earned for other purchases. **
    • **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
    • Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
    • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option with interest to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
    • *Terms Apply

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    Start by heading to amextravel.com and logging in. If you’ve never used the website before, check out our guide to booking through Amex Travel for an overview.

    You’ll see a field where you can put in your flight search details:

    Screenshot of main Amex Travel search screen showing a sample flight search from Chicago to Portland.



    American Express


    Once you enter them, you’ll have an opportunity to select your desired flight.

    Screenshot of flight search results for a Chicago to Portland itinerary on Amex Travel website.



    American Express


    On the next screen, you’ll see your flight summary, and in the right-hand column, you’ll see your flight price reflected in both cash and points. 

    Scroll to the bottom and select “Continue Booking.”

    Screenshot of payment option screen for a flight booking on Amex Travel showing cost in points or cash.



    American Express


    On the next couple of screens, you’ll enter your traveler information and select options for seats and trip insurance. Hit “Save & Continue” after each one, and on the third screen, you’ll see the option to pay with points.

    Screenshot of final payment screen for a flight booked through Amex Travel, showing pay with points, cash, cash and points, and Plan It options.



    American Express


    Here, you’ll also find a Points + Card option that will allow you to divide the fare between payment options if you don’t have the points required to fully cover the ticket (or if you’re saving the rest of your points for something else). There’s a 5,000-point minimum to use this option.  

    Screenshot of points plus card payment option for a flight booked through Amex Travel.



    American Express


    If you have an Amex personal card, you’ll also see an option to split the cash cost into monthly payments with Amex’s pay-over-time program, Plan It.

    Otherwise, if you want to cover the entire cost of your trip with points (and you have the requisite number in your account), click “Use Only Points” and the entire trip cost will autofill. Click “Apply” and your remaining cost will automatically be set to $0.

    Screenshot of Amex Travel booking screen showing the "use points only" option selected and confirmed.



    American Express


    After that, all that’s left to do is enter your card information (Amex will need it even if you’ve covered the entire trip cost with points), review your details, and press “Book Flight.”

    You’ll see the airfare charge appear on your account, but then you’ll receive a statement credit corresponding to the amount you’ve chosen to pay for with points.

    If you’re considering one of these cards, be sure to read our comparison of the Amex Business Platinum and Business Gold to help you make the best choice.

    Featured credit cards from our partners

    Featured Reward

    100,000 points

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening

    Credit Needed

    Good to Excellent

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