How to use your American Express travel credit

Whether you’re booking a flight or hotel stay, maximize your Amex travel credit.

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The Platinum Card from American Express offers an annual travel credit, which can help you save on everything from flights and hotel stays to car rentals. It is usually valued at $200 and can help you offset your card’s annual fee.

How does the Amex Platinum Travel Credit work?

The Amex Platinum Travel Credit is relatively easy to use because you don’t have to apply it yourself. Typically, all you need to do is spend on eligible purchases with your Platinum card from American express. In a couple of business days, Amex will apply a statement credit to your account.

What is statement credit?

Statement credit lowers your credit card balance. For example, if your balance is $1,000 and you apply a $200 statement credit, you now owe just $800.

Keep in mind that The Platinum Card from American Express is a charge card which means that you have to pay off the balance in full every month otherwise an APR of 30% will apply.

Types of American Express travel credits

Amex currently offers a few types of travel credits:

  • Flight credits.
    You can use your travel credit toward any single travel booking of $200 or more charged to your Platinum Card through Platinum Card Travel Service or American Express Travel Online.
  • Car rentals.
  • Hotel charges.
    These apply to spending within a specified loyalty program — either Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors. You can use these for room rates, as well as incidentals you charge to your room and pay for with your card.

How to use your American Express travel credit

Pros and cons of the American Express travel credit

Now that you know how the Amex travel credit works, let’s weigh a few of the positives and negatives of using them.

Pros

  • Offset your card’s annual fee. The travel credit can reduce the effective cost of your card, making the card potentially attractive even if the sticker price seems high.
  • Cut travel costs. The travel credit is especially useful if you know you’ll travel or spend on certain incidentals.
  • Easy to use. Because the travel credit comes in the form of statement credit, it’ll automatically be applied to your account.

Cons

  • No points earned. In contrast to paying with your Amex card, you won’t earn points when you use travel credits to pay for purchases.
  • You may need to wait for credits to apply. It may take up to 12 weeks for your statement credit to show up on your account.
  • Use it or lose it. The travel credit doesn’t roll over year to year. If you don’t use it, you’re essentially paying full price for your card.

Bottom line

Using the American Express travel credit can be a great way to get extra value from your credit card. Before using it, understand how it works and what restrictions it carries.

If you’re not sure an Amex product is right for you, consider other travel credit cards.

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