happy couple travelling with a credit card

American Express cards with free flights

Find out how you can enjoy a return flight in Australia or get credit towards your next travel booking with one of these American Express cards.

Choosing an Amex card that offers a complimentary flight or travel credit helps offset the higher annual fees that come with these premium options. For example, the American Express Velocity Platinum Card has a $375 annual fee and offers a return, domestic economy flight with Virgin Australia each year. As long as your return flight is worth more than this, you’d balance out the yearly cost of the card.

Whether you’re interested in getting a new Amex card or already have one that offers a flight or travel credit, use this guide to compare your options and find out how you can get the most out of this premium perk.

What you'll find in this guide

Compare American Express cards with complimentary flights or travel credit

Rates last updated October 24th, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card - Online Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, Status Credits & lounge passes.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$395 p.a.
Get 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.
American Express Platinum Card
$1,450 p.a.
Annual $450 Platinum Travel Credit, 80,000 bonus Membership Rewards points and access to more than 1,200 VIP lounges worldwide.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$195 p.a.
Receive a yearly $200 Travel Credit and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance, plus 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.

Compare up to 4 providers

What is the difference between a complimentary flight and a travel credit?

If you get an Amex card with a complimentary flight, you can only use the benefit for travel with a particular airline – Qantas or Virgin Australia, depending on the card.

Other cards that offer a travel credit allow you to put a fixed amount of money towards travel you book through American Express. This includes flights, as well as hotels, car hire or experiences (ie travel tours), which gives you more flexibility in how you use the benefit. Check out our guide for full details and steps to redeem American Express travel credit.

Where can I travel with an American Express complimentary flight?

With the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card, you’ll get $450 towards either a domestic or international booking with Qantas. Put simply, you can use the credit towards any flight with a QF flight number.

With the American Express Velocity Platinum Card, you can choose from a selection of Virgin Australia domestic flight routes. The Virgin Australia flights available vary based on your location. For example, if you’re flying from Sydney, you’ll have over 15 destinations to choose from, while flying from Perth would give you 5 options. To find out exactly where you can go, check out the table below or visit the Amex complimentary flight map before you book.

How can I redeem a free flight with American Express?

Each Amex card has different requirements you need to meet before you can use your complimentary flight or travel credit benefit. Below, you’ll find the key requirements and redemption options for both the Amex Velocity Platinum and the Qantas American Express Ultimate.

American Express cards with complimentary flight and airline benefits

Credit cardBenefitKey details to redeem a flight
American Express Velocity Platinum CardComplimentary return domestic flight with Virgin Australia, between selected Australian cities.
  • Use your card to make a purchase when you first get the card and then after this anniversary for each subsequent membership year.
  • Book through American Express Membership Travel Services or by calling 1300 366 105.
  • You can use this benefit to book a free flight for someone else, with the exception of unaccompanied minors.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card$450 Qantas Travel Credit
  • Go to American Express Travel, enter your flight details and find an eligible Qantas flight with a QF flight number.
  • Follow the prompts to book and provide your Qantas American Express Ultimate card details for the booking.

What else do I need to know about American Express free flights and travel credit?

Apart from the standard reserved rights to change any of these terms and conditions, American Express and its partner airlines have a few important conditions that you should be aware of before you redeem your complimentary flight:

  • Yearly redemption. This travel benefit is available 365 days from the start of your membership year, ie the date you first got your Amex card. Your flight must be booked before the end of that year, and cannot be carried over to the next.
  • Account status. You must have an active American Express account and have paid your annual fee before redeeming the flight or travel benefit. You also need to pay at least the minimum amount listed on each statement by the due date.
  • Subject to availability. There is no guarantee that the flight or travel booking you want to make will be available.
  • Bookings of a lower value. If your booking is worth less than the value of the Qantas Credit or Travel Credit offered on your card, you will forfeit the difference. For example, if you used the $450 Qantas Travel Credit to book flights worth $300, you wouldn’t get any value from the remaining $150 Qantas Travel Credit.
  • Cancellations. If you cancel your booking, you won’t get money back from the portion of your booking that’s made with the flight benefit or Travel Credit.
  • Ticket or booking changes. Any changes made after your initial booking will attract the airline or company’s usual fees, fare differences and applicable GST. Read through the terms and conditions of your booking to find out the potential costs involved.
  • Fare class. With the Qantas American Express Ultimate, you can use the $450 flight credit to book in any fare class you like, from economy through to business or first class. However, with the American Express Velocity Platinum, the free flight is for an economy class “Saver” fare.
  • Ticket restrictions. You may not sell, transfer, endorse, refund or exchange your ticket for cash, or combine this offer with any other promotion, discount, negotiated or corporate rate. You cannot redeem your ticket with a partner airline or codeshare flight, so make sure the booking has either a QF flight number (for Qantas) or a VA flight number (for Virgin Australia).
  • Conditions of carriage. With the free flight benefit, your travel conditions are subject to the “Virgin Australia Terms and Conditions of Carriage” or the “Qantas Conditions of Carriage”, depending on which card you have.

American Express credit cards with complimentary flights or Travel Credit give you a clear way to balance out the annual fee, while also enjoying premium travel benefits and rewards. Just make sure you keep the terms and conditions in mind, so that you always get as much value as possible from this perk. If you’re still choosing a card, you can also compare these Amex options with other credit cards that offer flights or travel credit to help you find the right one for you.

Compare other credit cards that offer free flights or travel credit

Rates last updated October 24th, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
American Express Explorer Credit Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$395 p.a.
Get 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the American Express Lounge.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months
$299 p.a.
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas points and a $300 Qantas Flight Voucher when you spend $4,000 in 90 days. Plus, complimentary lounge passes.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$450 p.a.
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months
$129 p.a.
Enjoy 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months. Plus, the chance to earn 1 million Velocity Points. Ends 31 Oct 2018.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card - Online Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$375 p.a.
Receive 90,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months. Plus, Status Credits & lounge passes.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save with $64 first year annual fee and 0% p.a. balance transfer offer. Plus, the chance to earn 1 million Velocity Points. Ends 31 Oct 2018.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
20.24% p.a.
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Images: Shutterstock

Back to top
Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Credit Card Offers

Important Information*
Qantas Premier Everyday

Interest rate

19.99

Annual fee

0*

*$49 p.a. after first year

Citi Rewards Platinum Credit Card - O...

Interest rate

20.99

Annual fee

49*

*$149 p.a. after first year

ANZ Low Rate

Interest rate

12.49

Annual fee

58

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.

34 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    TFMay 25, 2017

    I am seeking clarification on the complimentary flight on offer. Can the first redemption be within the 1st year of owning the card or does this perk kick in after 366 days? The wording on the AMEX Velocity Plat card offering the 100k bonus points is unclear.

    • finder Customer Care
      LouMay 28, 2017Staff

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your question.

      The complimentary flight offer on American Express Velocity Platinum Card is available after your first card spend in the first year, and then after your first card spend each year after the anniversary of your Membership.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    MargaretAugust 29, 2016

    I have an American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card and wish to use my free flight. Can I fly from Sunshine Coast to Maroochydore and if so, as soon as this weekend, ie Thursday/Friday 1 & 2nd September to Monday or Tuesday 5th & 6th September 2016

    • finder Customer Care
      MayAugust 29, 2016Staff

      Hi Margaret,

      Thank you for your inquiry. Please note that you’ve come through to finder.com.au we are an Australian financial comparison website and general information service, not actually AMEX.

      I suggest that you get in touch with AMEX directly to book your complimentary flights.

      Cheers,
      May

  3. Default Gravatar
    DavidAugust 24, 2016

    Can I fly from Sydney to Maroochydore on my Platinum free flight?
    Thank you

    • finder Customer Care
      LouAugust 25, 2016Staff

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are holding an American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card or American Express Velocity Platinum Card, you may take a free flight from Sydney to Maroochydore on Virgin Australia.

      You can book a flight by directly calling AMEX.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  4. Default Gravatar
    JohnJanuary 4, 2016

    Qantas American Express Card…does my free annual flight be booked only with Qantas Airlines??

    • Default Gravatar
      PeteMarch 5, 2016

      Can I book my free flight? I want to travel from Canberra to Adelaide and return.

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyMarch 7, 2016Staff

      Hi Pete,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you have a Platinum Edge and Velocity Platinum American Express card, you can take advantage of a free domestic flight with Virgin Australia.

      You can book return flights between Canberra and Adelaide.

      You’ll just need to book the Saver Fare flight with your American Express card.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

    • Default Gravatar
      May 5, 2016

      I have ultimate amex card ..can i book my free flight from Canberra to Adelaide return. .thanks

    • finder Customer Care
      LouMay 5, 2016Staff

      Hi Pete,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, if you are flying from Canberra, Adelaide is not on the list of possible destinations for your card’s free flight offer.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    • finder Customer Care
      AllyJanuary 5, 2016Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Kindly note that finder.com.au is an online comparison service and does not represent any credit card issuer such as AMEX.

      Nonetheless, their bank page states that it is possible to use earned points for a one way, return or multi-destination Classic Flight Reward on over 50 partner airlines and their affiliates to over 1,000 destinations worldwide, depending on which AMEX Qantas card you use.

      For more information, I have emailed you a link to their Qantas series page where you can find the available AMEX Qantas cards and their detailed features. I have forwarded their customer service team’s contact number to you as well, in case you wish to seek direct assistance.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Ally

  5. Default Gravatar
    MichaelDecember 30, 2015

    Would like to know if I have a complimentary flight outstanding?

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyJanuary 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your question. As you’ve come through to finder.com.au, not American Express, we’re unable to confirm whether you’re eligible for the complimentary flight.

      You might like to contact American Express on 1300 132 639 to confirm this information.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  6. Default Gravatar
    RobertSeptember 9, 2015

    Can I fly from Melbourne to Coffs Harbour using my Amex complimentary flight?

    • finder Customer Care
      JonathanSeptember 9, 2015Staff

      Hi Robert, thanks for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately Coffs Harbour is not a listed destination for the AMEX complimentary flight. You may like to consider other frequent flyer cards and offers.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  7. Default Gravatar
    NoeleenAugust 17, 2015

    can I fly out of Cairns?

    • finder Customer Care
      JonathanAugust 17, 2015Staff

      Hi Noeleen, thanks for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately Cairns is not on the list of eligible destinations.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  8. Default Gravatar
    jamieAugust 13, 2015

    Why is Townsville not on the list?

    • finder Customer Care
      JonathanAugust 13, 2015Staff

      Hi Jamie, thanks for your question!

      Unfortunately Townsville is not on the list of available destinations that American Express have provided. The list of eligible destinations for your complimentary flight is available on this page.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  9. Default Gravatar
    bobJuly 27, 2015

    How do I transfer my rewards points to my Frequent Flyer account?

    • finder Customer Care
      JonathanJuly 28, 2015Staff

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for your question.

      Unfortunately transferring Membership Rewards points to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program is no longer supported by American Express. However rewards points can be used for purchasing flights from AMEX travel agency partners. For a list of other credit cards with frequent flyer program please refer to this page.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  10. Default Gravatar
    chrissyJuly 6, 2015

    Hi
    Have some of the features changed on the platinum reserve credit card? For example the free night hotel instead of complimentary free flight and also international destination selection? I can not find it on the American express website anymore.
    Thanks

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 7, 2015Staff

      Hello Chrissy,

      Thanks for your question.

      The American Express Platinum Reserve credit card is no longer available for new applications as of 1 October 2014.

      You may need to contact American Express directly to confirm what the updated features are.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Sally

Ask a question
Go to site