American Express Introduces Premium Cabin Airfare Discounts via Online Chat

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For years American Express has had an ‘International Airline Program’ for Platinum and Centurion cardholders which amounted to 2-for-1 business class tickets provided you were buying full fare.

This has had limited usefulness for many cardmembers, often full fare business class is about twice as much as discounted advance purchase business, at most you’d save a few hundred dollars buying business class for two passengers. A limited subset of cardmembers, though, found this very useful.

Last June they revamped the program and made it much more useful. Instead of ‘two for one on full fare’ they offer discounts on premium cabin tickets from one to eight passengers.

Key details:

  • No longer limited to refundable fares, you can get a discount off of lower-priced premium cabin fares now too.

  • Applies to first class, business class, and premium economy now

  • $39 per ticket service fee (waived for Centurion cardholders)

  • “Travel must originate in and return to U.S. gateway (may exclude certain overseas territories) and select Canadian gateways” although one-way travel is permitted on some airline partners.

  • You can use Membership Rewards ‘Pay With Points’ to cover ticket cost

Here are the airlines where discounts are available. You may not always save money, but any time you’re going to buy an international premium economy, business, or first class ticket it’s worth checking because reports are of saving hundreds and even $1000 on tickets.

American Express of course awards 5 points per dollar for your airline spending on The Platinum Card® from American Express and reminds that if you pay with points for an eligible flight using the Business Platinum® Card from American Express you get a 35% rebate on points.

What’s new here is that instead of having to call — frankly the thing that kept me from using this service when helping folks with premium tickets — you can now use online chat to price and book (HT: Doctor of Credit)

I wish their fares were searchable online, but they probably aren’t allowed to make that available since they’re undercutting the prices which are available on the airline’s own website and through online travel agency sites.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Great news! I love the chat function on AmEx’s website and this just makes it that much better.

  2. I tried yesterday to chat from the Amex Travel website when logged into my account (as Amex Biz Platinum cardholder). The rep didn’t know what I was talking about and said I should call or chat with Platinum directly, that Amex Travel couldn’t help. Do you know from where you would initiate this chat to get an agent capable of helping?

  3. So, the 35% rebate on Pay with Points applies to premium economy bookings? I thought it was only for first and biz? That’s big.

  4. If this does work, it eliminates my biggest concern with booking over the phone — no matter how carefully I spell out names with nato letters, I’ve had misspellings that are painful to correct after tickets are issued. Chat should fix that.

  5. Just tried this – chat was not available for some reason (or I couldn’t find it) but called the platinum number and the efficient and pleasant agent save me about $1400 on the exact flights I was looking at on the AA website!

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