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Is American Express Good for Travelers?


When traveling abroad, fees can quickly add up. So, you will want to make sure that you are making the most of your money by choosing the right bank card. 

Choosing the wrong card for traveling can mean expensive fees and added, and unnecessary, bills. 

Here we will explore American Express as an option for travelers. 

Overview: Pros

  • Great rewards system
  • Insider fares
  • Price match

Overview: Cons

  • You will need to be eligible for an Amex card, which can sometimes feel exclusive.

Travel Benefits

If you already have an Amex card, or you are eligible to receive one, then you should take advantage of the many benefits.

The card is recognized and widely used worldwide, so you should have little to no problems using it on your travels.

If you have not already signed up for American Express, then might be able to take advantage of their introductory benefits. You will need to consider if these advantages are worth the fee for you.

  1. Platinum card – $550 annual fee, 5x points on airfare and hotels. If you spend at least $5,000 in the first six months you will receive 75,000 rewards points. These can then be used against plane tickets, hotel stays, and other parts of your holiday.
  2. Gold card – $250 annual fee, 4x points on restaurants, 3x points on flights. If you spend at least $4,000 on certain purchases in the first six months you will receive 60,000 membership rewards points.
  3. Business Platinum card – $595 annual fee, 5x points on flights and hotels (prepaid only), 50% more rewards points than other customers (purchases over $5,000). Spend $15,000 within the first three months to earn an introductory bonus of 100,000 membership rewards points. 

American Express Travel Portal

Not only is Amex great for travel with their rewards system but their booking system is also convenient and easy.

The American Express travel portal is an online site that allows you to curate, plan and book your ideal holiday. If you are traveling to many places, then you certainly make the most of this system and the points.

International Airline Program

If you are an American Express Platinum or American Express Business Platinum cardholder then you take advantage of discounts on plane tickets (26 airlines are included). 

Not only will you save money on the fare but you will also earn 5 points per dollar that you spend. Alternatively, you can pay for the ticket using your points—saving you even more money. Business members can also claim the 35% rebate available to you.

American Express Hotel Program

Just like you can save money on hotels by booking through the American Express portal, so too can you book hotels. Again, if you are a Platinum or Business Platinum cardholder you will receive 5x the points for prepaid hotel rooms.

However, hotel rewards club members cannot use third-party reservation sites like or you will not receive any benefits from your hotel rewards card.

Amex also offers a Fine Hotels and Resorts program. This gives you extra perks such as room upgrades upon arrival, free breakfast, late checkout, and much more. 

There is also the Hotel Collection. This offers similar rewards to customers, but the client base is expanded to include gold cards, business gold card members as well. You can make use of the room upgrades, a $100 hotel credit (to be spent in bars, restaurants, and spas within the hotel), and possibly lower rates.

Car Hire

When booking car hire through the Amex travel portal, you will not be able to make a reservation using membership rewards points. 

The process is very easy. You simply choose your company and car of choice and your pick-up and drop-off location(s). 

So, unless you are choosing to book everything through American Express for your travels, you may be better off hiring a car through another company.


You can receive rewards on cruises lasting five or more days. Booking using the Amex travel portal gives a customer 2x the points. Nice.

Platinum or Business Platinum members can get additional benefits through the Cruise Privileges Program, such as onboard credit (in the range of $100-$300).


If you are planning to travel anytime soon, consider using American Express. The company’s rewards program allows you to earn points whenever you spend money and you can then use these points to pay for other parts of your trip. 

They have access to exclusive discounts and benefits such as hotel credit and reduce plane fares. This, when paired with their rewards points, can save you a lot of money.

Additionally, their travel portal is incredibly easy to use, meaning that you can book and plan your trip with ease. 

Image by Erik Odiin

Post Author: Lillia Hall

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Welcome to Foreigner’s Finances, your guide for new money decisions at home and traveling abroad!

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April 2024