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Amex Travel Credits: How to get the most value

Save money on your next trip using your American Express Travel Credits on flights, hotels, car rentals and more.

Several American Express credit cards offer yearly travel credits, which you can use to pay for flights, accommodation or car rentals. They usually offset the cost of the annual fee – as long as you use them, that is.

Depending on the card, the value of these travel credits ranges from $200 to $450. Here's how they work and how to make the most of them.

American Express Credit Card Offer

American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card

$0 annual fee for the first year

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

American Express Credit Card Offer

Save with a $0 annual fee in the first year. Plus, $200 Travel Credit every year.

  • $0 annual fee in the first year ($195 p.a. after that)
  • $200 American Express Travel Credit each year
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent at major supermarkets and petrol stations, 2/$1 spent overseas and 1/$1 on other eligible purchases
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How do American Express Travel credits work?

Usually, you'll need to book through American Express Travel to use your travel credit. Depending on your Amex card, you could use the credit to book flights, hotel stays, and/or car rentals.

But there's a few terms and conditions to be aware of:

  • You can only use your American Express Travel credit once, in a single booking, so you can’t spread it out over multiple bookings.
  • If you have more than one Amex Travel credit, you can’t pool the value of multiple credits to cover the cost.
  • Your booking must be valued at more than the credit value. eg you can purchase a $432 flight with a $400 flight credit, but not a $372 flight.
  • You can book cruises through American Express Travel, although you can't redeem your travel credits to cover cruise costs.

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

If you get an Amex card with a complimentary flight, you can book an eligible flight for free.

For example, the American Express Velocity Platinum Card offers a complimentary return domestic flight between select cities with Virgin Australia. Meanwhile, the Qantas American Express Ultimate Card offers a $450 travel credit towards either a domestic or international booking with Qantas.

In comparison, the American Express Platinum Edge offers a $200 travel credit you can use for flights, hotels, car hire and more.

Do Amex travel credits expire?

Your travel credits last for 12 months, so keep this in mind when you’re planning to use them. Once your travel credits expire, they can’t be redeemed.

How to use your American Express Travel credit

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If your card offers an American Express Travel credit, you need to pay the annual fee and make the minimum payment by the due date in order you can access those credits. Then, you can redeem the credits with the following steps:

  1. Log in to the American Express Travel website and select the card with the travel credits you’re going to use. You’ll see the travel credits in the right-hand corner of your Amex Travel homepage once you’re logged in.
  2. Select what you want to book (flight, hotel or car hire) and filter your decisions by destination, travel dates, airline carrier and more.
  3. When you’ve picked an option that costs more than the value of your travel credits, you’ll see the total amount in dollars (which you can cover in your travel credits) or Membership Rewards points.
  4. Click on the “Use travel credit” button to redeem your credits. The value of the credits will be deducted from your total price and then you can pay for the remainder using your American Express card or Membership Rewards points.
  5. Finally, review and confirm your booking. You can’t get refunds on redeemed travel credits, so make sure you're 100% certain before you confirm your payment.

Want to redeem a flight with the Velocity American Express Platinum?

The complimentary flight offer on American Express Velocity Platinum Card is available after your first card spend each year. To redeem it go to velocityfrequentflyer.com and log in with your Velocity Frequent Flyer membership details.

Pros and cons of the American Express Travel credits

Pros

  • Cancels out annual fee. Some American Express credit cards offer travel credits that can offset the full cost of the annual fee, which can help justify getting the card.
  • Cut travel costs. It’s an easy way to save between $200 and $400 on a trip (keeping in mind, the annual fee is still payable).
  • Easy to use. The American Express Travel website is simple to use and it’s easy to access your travel credits once you’ve logged in.

Cons

  • Less competitive prices. The cost of hotels, car rentals and flights booked through American Express Travel can be less competitive than if you were to book directly, as they often don't offer the same sales and deals as airlines offer direct.
  • No points earned. In contrast to paying with your Amex card, you can't earn points on travel costs paid for with your travel credits.
  • Expiration. You can use your travel credits within exactly 12 months from the issue date. After that they will expire and can’t be redeemed.

American Express Travel credits can be a great way to get extra value from your credit card. However, considering the restrictions and the terms and conditions, it’s good to understand how they work and whether you’re actually going to use the credits before you apply for the card.

Pictures: Shutterstock

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