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So, you’re ready to pick a fabulous destination for a vacation and want to use your American Express card reward points. How do you get started? Booking a trip using the American Express Rewards travel website is just like using any other travel-planning and booking site. You enter dates, times and destinations into their trip “calculator” and get flight rates and/or special “Web Only” deals. From there, you can compare and decide what you want to book. The American Express website has some great tools to help you book your trip. First decide if you want to book travel for a planned destination or start out by looking at what vacation deals are offered on the website. If you opt to book your planned trip and want to use your rewards points, you have to make a decision about how you want to use them.
You have these options:
- Pay for all of the trip with your accumulated points
- Buy points on your American Express card to pay for part of the trip
- Use your card to pay for the trip and earn double (or even triple) reward points when you book your trip online
- You also have an option to transfer your reward points over to 20 different frequent traveler programs, such as Delta Skymiles
If you want to check out American Express-exclusive vacation deals on the site:
- Click the “View Travel Offers” button
- Select a trip offer and check out the destination options and rates per night for hotel or flight plus four nights
- Start your search with either “Flight + Hotel,” “Hotel” or just flight
Here are some of the current travel packages and deals exclusive to American Express card members.
- Book a 7-day cruise and get a bonus 7 days in Mexico
- Spring Break Sale – Save up to 50% on beach hotels and packages
- 100 Hotels under $100
- Royal Caribbean Cruise – up to $200 onboard credits
- “Last Minute Deals” – weekend getaways that are offered anywhere from three weeks to three hours before departure
American Express has “partners” in hotels, like Starwood and Marriott hotels. There is even a Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card American Express card. Even if you don’t have a hotel/resort-linked card, check out possible deals that are available through some of the partner programs. You may want to go directly to the hotel/resort website and look for links to American Express offers or ways that you can combine different rewards offers.
After choosing all the pertinent factors – how you will pay with your points options, destination, flights and/or hotels and rental cars, go ahead and book your trip through the site.
One of the really cool features on this site under the “Travel” section is the “Explore Planning Resources” choice. There are options to explore individual destinations, handy travel “tools” and resources to explore activity-specific trips like golfing. Check out “MyPlanner,” which offers you way to create a personalized folder of all your trip info and includes things like:
- Travel maps of your destination with points of interest
- A Currency converter
- Weather & forecasts for the area you’re visiting
After you’ve reviewed and selected the information you want, you can download it to your computer. Unfortunately, the site doesn’t currently have a function that allows you to save your travel plans online.
As always, unless you’re wedded to the idea of using your American Express member reward points for your trip, check out other travel sites and deals. If you find what you want on another website that’s much cheaper, you might choose to book it there.
You can still accumulate rewards points, usually one trip per dollar, on a trip you booked elsewhere by using your American Express card to book the trip. Also, don’t forget to use your Amex card on the trip, to take advantage of all the additional travel benefits, insurance, and accrue even more rewards points.