American Express Platinum Charge and Centurion cardholders can earn an additional Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on hotels, car hire and experiences when booking through American Express Travel throughout this year.
If you are in the market for a hotel booking, it is probably at least worth checking the price through Amex Travel. The hotels included in the offer are fairly broad in terms of region and budget.
This post goes over the why and how of when using American Express Travel can be a useful way to get discounts and earn more Membership Rewards points.
Guide to American Express Travel as a way to earn more Membership Rewards points
Every time you make a booking for hotels, car hire or experiences, Platinum Charge and Centurion cardholders will earn an additional bonus point per $ spent. Here is the offer page from 2017—we’ve confirmed directly with Amex that it is valid in this year too.
This promo has consistently been renewed year-on-year but has been limited to the above cardholders in 2018.
Using American Express Travel for hotel bookings
I mostly find this useful for hotel bookings, where I’m not particularly wedded to a specific hotel chain (in terms of retaining or earning hotel status—I just don’t stay in hotels enough). By booking through American Express Travel, you can bump up your Membership Rewards points balance instead.
I’ve also found Amex Travel to sometimes offer extra-competitive rates on certain hotels—for example, when I booked a stay at the Andaz Tokyo, pictured above, just before New Year’s Eve I was looking at a rate of around $700 on the Hyatt website.
Most hotels in Tokyo at this time were expensive, and I couldn’t justify that kind of money, but Amex Travel came up trumps.
They had a rate of $480 for essentially the same room as from Hyatt directly, which was just within my price threshold. I also found lower rates at the Park Hyatt Tokyo than were available directly through Hyatt for that time too (but still too expensive for me).
You’ll find that most hotels won’t then offer you points in their own program with your stay but given I’ve earned with Amex instead—and I value Amex points more highly as they are flexible—that’s OK.
You may also find that Amex’s pricing is above that of other booking channels, in which case it may not be the best option.
Using American Express travel for flight bookings
If you are sitting on a wealth of Membership Rewards points, you can also use American Express Travel to redeem them for paid flights and hotels at a rate of 1 cent per point, which is better than you’ll get from cashing them out for gift cards or statement credit but worst value than transferring to a frequent flyer partner program.
You’ll also earn points and status on airline tickets booked using Membership Rewards points, given that it’s a paid fare you are purchasing. This is worth bearing in mind if you are points-rich and want to redeem points while still earning Qantas or Virgin status credits.
You can’t, unfortunately, earn bonus Membership Rewards points on flight bookings through Amex Travel either, which would be a great points-earn opportunity.
If you hold an eligible American Express card and are in the midst of a hotel, car hire or experiences search, don’t forget about the Amex Travel site as well as your usual booking channels, as you could pick up some extra points with this promo (and a potentially lower price).