How to make the most of your American Express travel credit

Posted: 1 July 2019 4:00 pm News

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5 ways to maximise the value of your American Express travel credit.

Along with bonus points and lounge passes, several premium American Express cards reward cardholders with a complimentary travel credit each year. You can use the credit to book flights, accommodation, car hire and experiences for you or a loved one through the American Express Travel website. Not only is this a smart way to cut back on travel costs, it's also a clever tactic to offset your card's annual fee.

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You'll only receive one travel credit annually, so it's important you know how to make the most of it. In this guide, we've listed the cards that come with this complimentary perk and identified the strategies you can use to maximise the value of your travel credit.

Which American Express cards offer a travel credit?

There are four American Express Cards that currently offer annual travel credits, ranging between $200 and $450 in value.

Card Travel credit offer each year
American Express Platinum card A $450 Travel Credit that you can use to pay for eligible travel including flights, hotels, car hire or experiences through the American Express Travel website.
Qantas American Express Ultimate card A $450 Qantas travel credit, which you can use to book eligible international or domestic Qantas flights via the American Express Travel website.
American Express Explorer credit card A $400 travel credit that you can use to pay for eligible travel booked through the American Express Travel website.
American Express Platinum Edge credit card A $200 travel credit to use for eligible travel bookings on the American Express Travel website.

How to make the most of your travel credit

Now that you know which cards come with travel credits, here are some tips to maximise the value of this complimentary benefit.

Avoid spending your credit during peak periods

Try to avoid spending your credit on trips that occur during expensive peak hours or travel periods. For example, a $400 Travel Credit could score you return trips from Melbourne to Brisbane if you choose the times correctly, but not if you try and fly on a Friday afternoon or on the first day of school holidays. If you can be flexible with the time and date, compare your choices to see if you can find a cheaper option.

Check what's included

Make sure you understand exactly what's included under your booking. For instance, the cheapest Virgin fares have a lower luggage allowance and restrict the seats you can choose. You should also note that you can't use your Travel Credit to cover cruises, so you'll need to factor that into your costs if your trip includes exploring the seven seas.

Look out for sales

You can stretch the value of your travel credit further by keeping an eye out for discounts and sales. For example, at the time of writing, you can find a bunch of discounts on partnered hotels in Australia and across the Asia Pacific featured on the Membership Rewards travel page. You'll usually need to book between specific dates, so make sure you understand the eligibility requirements of the deal before you book.

Make sure the booking is valued for more than the travel credit

You can only use your travel credit in a single booking, so you should aim to book something that's equal to or exceeds the value of your travel credit. Otherwise, you'll forfeit the remaining value of the credit. For example, if you book a $200 flight with the $450 travel credit from your American Express Platinum card, you'll miss out on $250 value from your travel credit. You can't save the remaining amount and use it for a separate booking.

If the cost exceeds the value of the travel credit, you can use your American Express to pay the difference. You can also combine different eligible travel products in a single booking, such as flights and accommodation or flights and car hire, to use the full value of your travel credit.

Use your credit before it expires

You'll receive one Travel Credit each membership year and the minimum payment on your most recent statement. You only have one year to use your credit and once it expires, it's gone. Once you're approved for the card (or even before you apply), you can start browsing the American Express Travel website for flights, accommodation and more to decide how you might want to spend your credit. If you're undecided, you can set calendar reminders throughout the year so you don't forget to use your credit before it's too late.

With this in mind, it's also important to remember that you won't be reimbursed or receive another credit if you use your travel credit to book through American Express Travel and then cancel.

Before you start planning your next getaway courtesy of your travel credit, pay attention to the T&Cs, book at the right time and understand what's included to get the most out of it. Want to know more about how the travel credit works? Check out our guide to the American Express Travel Credit for more tips.

Disclaimer: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before applying for any products mentioned, please read the product terms and conditions and consider whether that product is right for you.

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