Amex Platinum Ends Business Class 2-for-1 Deal, Relaunches as Premium Cabin Discount Program

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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.

Quietly it seems that American Express has revamped the International Airline Program. They no longer offer ‘two for one’ instead they offer discounts on premium cabin tickets from one to eight passengers. You have to price and book by phone. Early results appear highly promising.

Book or Learn More at:
1-800-525-3355 for Platinum Travel Service or
1-800-553-9497 for Business Platinum Travel Service.

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

Interestingly, the big Star Alliance airlines which fly transatlantic aren’t participating. So you can’t travel with Star between the US and Europe (except for Los Angeles – London) or for that matter US – South America.

Though the change happened within the past few weeks, some people are already reporting great savings. For instance one Flyertalk member found $500 off Seattle – London roundtrip in business class, and another found 12% off Cathay Pacific premium economy and $1000 off Qatar Airways business class although they found the actual agent booking process less and satisfactory.

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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.



  1. “Interestingly, Air New Zealand and Asiana are the only Star Alliance airlines participating”

    Hey genius, you forgot Air China which literally has Star Alliance in the logo…

  2. I had just received the annual mailing after renewing. The brochure didn’t mention anything about the 2 fer airfare benefit. I thought that strange. Now I know why. I must have called a dozen times, to research the 2 fer price. It never was beneficial. But, I do know people who’s companies paid the full fare and they took their spouses with them free. But, I never received any value from this benefit. Maybe now I will.

  3. Be aware that on American Airlines, these fares will be coded as “Special Fares” and EQDs will post distance-based, not fare-based, with only a small percentage of miles posting as EQDs (max being 30% for full F fares). I recently got burned on this detail.

  4. I hope this proves worthwhile. I have tried many times to use the 2-for-1 and never had any success. Most of the time they said my routing or airlines weren’t available, although on a recent attempt for a US-Australia trip, I was finding discount business fares around $8k. Full J fares were showing $15k online. The agent offered me a 2-for-1 fare of $24k. Super helpful.

  5. I liked the old program, which was ideal for first class on airlines that never sell discounted first, like Emirates. Last October I got two first class round trip tickets from Orlando to the Maldives for 18k total. I was planning that again for late this year. Under the new program, the same itinerary is 22k for 2 people. The full fare person price is still around 18k. The sweet spot with the new program is definitely biz class.

  6. Called yesterday for 2 business class tickets to Asia.
    A total waste of my time and the agents time.
    Granted the product is fairly new but the execution thus far is poor.

  7. Oh Ad Revenue – please, please, please start a blog. You are obviously so superior to anyone writing today. Nothing starts a day like smug, condescending commentary and random insults. How have we gotten by without you?? Don’t keep us waiting any longer. You know ( it is readily evident that you are convinced of it) you can do a better job than the current field of helpful folks who spend their time and energy sharing insights. Why tease us with just snarky comments on other blogs?
    Your wit, your incisive additions to the dialog, your quick repartee…come on now…get blogging!!!

  8. we just did a 2 for 1 business class on British Air
    the real benefit, other than it being less money overall then regular fare, is that they are fully refundable, since they are full fare. that came in extremely handy when BA cancelled our outgoing flight, and we ended up killing the entire reservation for our money back.
    we will miss this benefit

  9. “Hey @Jerk Revenue – I write this before I drank my morning coffee, sigh..”

    I think you meant wrote and not write. Blogger that does not know how to use past tense verbs…?

  10. Surprised to find out that on an itinerary of GSO-HKG out and SYD – GSO back on all DL, they are NOT on this program. Fares were exactly same as published. So far, I’ve not found the Amex programs very helpful

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