Most popular travel credit cards let you redeem your points in more than one way, including the option to use points to book travel through a portal.

This is true of Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Chase Freedom Flex℠, both of which let you book travel directly through the Chase travel portal. But it’s also true for Citi credit cards like the Citi Prestige® Card, which lets you book airfare, hotels and more through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.

American Express is yet another program that makes it possible for cardholders to book travel through its own portal, known as To book travel with points through, you just need a credit card that earns points in the American Express Membership Rewards program. Anyone can book travel through this portal, however, and pay with another form of payment, such as a credit card.

What are the benefits of booking through is a third-party booking site that works similarly to competitors like or You can use it to compare prices for airfare, hotels and more across the web, just like you would with another booking site.

But there are more benefits to using this portal if you’re an American Express cardholder. If you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, for example, you can get 35 percent of your points back (up to 500,000 points per calendar year) when you use rewards to book first or business class tickets or any flight with your selected airline.

Also, note that both the business version and The Platinum Card® from American Express for consumers let you earn 5x points when you purchase prepaid flights or prepaid hotels through American Express Travel. Meanwhile, the popular American Express® Gold Card lets you earn 3x points on prepaid flights booked through

Beyond specific cardholder benefits, makes it easy to compare flight and hotel options. You may also find offers that include additional benefits when you book a cruise through the portal, such as onboard credits or free specialty meals.

How to use the Amex travel portal to book flights and hotels

Using the Amex travel portal to book flights, hotels, cruises and other travel is a lot like using any other travel booking site. is set up to make searching for travel easy, as well as comparing multiple flight and hotel options in one place.

Besides flights, hotels and cruises, you can also use to book rental cars and vacation packages. All you have to do is head to and enter some basic details on the travel you want to book. From there, you’ll be shown a selection you can choose from.

Cash vs. points

When using the Amex travel portal to pay for hotels, flights and other bookings, you have the option to pay with points, cash or a combination of the two.

To fully or partially pay with points, all you have to do is head to the American Express website and log into your account. Once you find the travel you want and prepare to book, you can select the option to “use only points” or to “use points + card.” Once you book and choose how you want to pay, your credit card will be charged the full dollar amount of your booking. A credit for any points you used, however, will be applied to your account within 48 hours, per American Express.

Note that you’ll need at least 5,000 Membership Rewards points to pay with points. This rule makes it a little more difficult to use up any leftover points you might have from other bookings. However, it shouldn’t be too hard to reach the 5,000 point threshold for travel if you have an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards points.

When it comes to booking flights, there are a few interesting details to note. If you have an Amex card that offers access to Centurion Lounges or Delta Sky Clubs, for example, you’ll see a note showing qualification for lounge access on flights that apply. You can use Amex points to book a business or first class flight or to upgrade your flight.

You also have the option to transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Amex airline and hotel partners. Using the American Express travel portal may or may not be a better deal, but you do get the benefit of booking any travel you want without having to worry about award availability.

Pay It Plan It

You can now pay for airline tickets with Pay It Plan It. Amex’s Pay It Plan It is a flexible payment option that allows cardholders to make payments on large purchases over time. With this option, cardholders can avoid interest charges and pay down balances with predictable, monthly payments.

The payment option is only for airline tickets booked through the American Express travel website. At checkout, cardholders are presented with up to three different plans to pay for any flight purchase of $100 or more. Note that the installment payment plan doesn’t have any interest associated with it, but there is a fixed monthly fee based on the card’s APR.

International Airline Program

The business and personal Platinum cards let you access a newer Amex program for frequent flyers known as the International Airline Program. This program was created to increase access to lower fares on 20 participating airlines, but it’s only good for international premium class tickets.

To search for fares that qualify, log into your personal or business Platinum account. From there, use to search for premium economy, business class or first class flights to any international destination.

Use the booking tool to search for first class, business class or premium economy to an international destination. At that point, you may see some flight options that show an International Airline Program banner.

Booking hotels and resorts

Using to book a hotel or resort stay works similarly, requiring you to enter some information to find properties in destinations you want to visit. Once again, you can pay for your booking with points, cash or a combination of the two. You’ll need to have at least 5,000 Membership Rewards points in your account in order to pay with points.

While you get 1 cent per point in value when you use American Express Membership Rewards points to book flights, you only get around .07 cents per point when you book hotels through the portal. Also be aware that, just like with any other travel booking site, booking a hotel through usually means forgoing hotel loyalty points or elite night credits.

Note that select premium American Express credit cards, like the Business Platinum Card from American Express and the Platinum Card from American Express, let you access an additional hotel program known as American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts.

This program lets cardholders book stays at over 1,000 luxury hotels in the world with added benefits worth up to $550 per stay. Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts perks can include:

  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • 4 p.m. late checkout
  • Complimentary internet access
  • Noon check-in, based on availability
  • Room upgrades based on availability
  • Unique resort amenity worth up to $100

The Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts program is available only for eligible premium cardholders. Using this program also typically means going without elite hotel benefits or points for paid stays.

Does American Express cover trip cancellations?

Individual airlines and hotels have their own policies that cover cancellations., however, does offer the option to view all your booked travel and cancel or rebook a flight with ease using your My Trips page. You will still be subject to any change or cancellation fees imposed by the carrier if you’re not covered by a flexible policy or existing waiver.

Some American Express credit cards offer trip cancellation and interruption insurance, which could apply in some situations where you have to cancel or rebook your plans.

Cards that offer this benefit include the Business Platinum Card and the Platinum Card, as well as co-branded airline and hotel credit cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card and the Delta Skymiles® Reserve American Express Card.

Is booking through worth it?

Only you can decide which travel booking option works best for your needs. Regardless of the value of rewards earned, some travelers like being able to book directly through a portal that offers multiple options. gives customers the benefit of booking any travel available on the portal without having to find award space on a flight or having to search for available award nights in high-demand hotels. American Express Membership Rewards points, however, are usually worth more if you transfer them to Amex transfer partners, and particularly airlines.

Either way, it makes sense to compare all your options before you book travel through See if a transfer partner might let you book the flights you want for fewer miles, but don’t be afraid to use if you don’t want to deal with award availability or you find a better deal.

Learn more: Check out Bankrate’s travel toolkit for tips and tricks on how to maximize travel with a credit card.