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Aviation Blog

Amex International Airline Program (IAP) Guide – One Mile at a Time

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The International Airline Program (IAP) is one of the lesser known perks of the Amex Platinum Card, and it offers discounts on international premium cabin airfares. In some cases the savings can be huge, and more than justify the annual fees on cards. In this post I wanted to cover everything you need to know about the program.
In this post:
With the Amex International Airline Program, you can get exclusive savings on select airlines when booking through American Express. There are some basic things to be aware of:
The Amex International Airline Program is valid for select itineraries on the following 25+ airlines:
There are two ways to book a ticket through the Amex International Airline Program — you can either call Amex, or book through the Amex Travel website.
If you want to book by phone, call Amex Travel at one of the following numbers (note that bookings by phone are subjected to a $39 per person ticketing fee):
My preferred way to book is online, since it makes it easier to compare options, and it avoids having to pick up the phone. To look up Amex International Airline Program fares and book, simply go to amextravel.com, and then log into the account associated with your Amex Platinum. At that point search an eligible international itinerary.
After starting your search, you’ll notice that some results have “International Airline Program Platinum Card Benefit” written at the top, and those will be the options that are discounted. The original cost of the ticket will have a line through it, and then the “cheaper” price will display. For example, looking at a roundtrip nonstop Air France first class ticket between New York and Paris, the fare is discounted by around $1,000.
You’ll also see the option of redeeming Amex points for one cent each for these tickets, though we’ll talk a bit more about that below.
Of course it goes without saying that a roundtrip nonstop first class ticket for $7,000+ might not be the most affordable option available through the program. There are definitely better deals out there, though the savings won’t always be quite as big — generally the more expensive the ticket, the bigger the savings.
For example, you can fly roundtrip Virgin Atlantic business class from New York to Delhi for $2,198 through the program, which are savings of around $180 compared to the regular price of $2,379.
There are lots of options to sort results through Amex’s website, and you can narrow them down by the airline, travel time, number of stops, etc.
As you can see above, you can use the Amex Pay With Points program to pay for an Amex IAP ticket either partly or entirely with points (you do need to redeem a minimum of 5,000 points, though).
On the surface, both the Amex Personal Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card offer one cent of value towards the cost of a ticket. That means a $2,000 ticket would cost you 200,000 Membership Rewards points, which isn’t a very good deal.
Fortunately, the business version of the card has a 35% rebate on this feature, with some restrictions:
In other words, if you redeemed 200,000 Amex points for $2,000 worth of travel, you’d get 70,000 points back. So you’d essentially be paying 130,000 points for $2,000 worth of airfare, which is a value of ~1.54 cents per point.
Getting 1.54 cents of value per Amex point while also getting savings on your ticket is a pretty awesome combo.
One of the other awesome things about booking through the Amex International Airline Program is that if you pay for your ticket with the Amex Personal Platinum Card or Amex Business Platinum Card, you’ll earn 5x Membership Rewards points. That’s because both cards offer 5x points on airfare booked through Amex Travel. I value those points at 1.7 cents each, so to me, that equates to an 8.5% return on those purchases.
On top of that, both versions of the Amex Platinum offer travel coverage in the event of irregular operations, including a trip being canceled, delayed, or interrupted. So by using one of these cards you’re not only earning 5x points, but you’re also getting valuable coverage.
Tickets booked through the Amex International Airline Program are eligible for mileage accrual, regardless of whether you pay cash or redeem Amex points using the Pay With Points feature. That’s because this is a fully paid ticket, and will qualify as such.
You can expect that you’ll earn miles and receive any elite perks as you usually would if booking direct. The one consideration would be that if you’re flying an airline with a revenue based frequent flyer program, you might earn miles at a slightly different pace than usual.
For example, American Airlines has a special mileage earning chart for “special fares,” which often includes third party bookings. With this, you earn miles as a percentage of distance flown, based on your fare class. In some cases that could even be advantageous.
Since we’re talking about discounted Amex airfare, I think it’s also worth mentioning Amex Insider Fares, which are similar in some ways, but ultimately different. What are Amex Insider fares?
This is worth being aware of, because when you do searches on Amex’s website, you may see some show up as Insider Fares, and some show up as being part of the International Airline Program.
What’s my strategy for using the Amex International Airline Program? In many cases airlines are pricing international premium cabins more reasonably than ever before, as they go after leisure travelers. So even though I have a lot of miles to redeem, I’m often browsing Google Flights looking for good paid first & business class fares.
Whenever I find a fare that I might be interested in booking, I always go to Amex Travel and see if there are any discounts available through the International Airline Program, and often there are. In that case it’s a no brainer to book through the program, so I can also earn 5x points on the purchase, and even get great travel coverage.
For those with the Amex Business Platinum Card, I think it could also make sense to use the Pay With Points feature, because in the end each point could get you 1.54 cents towards the cost of a premium cabin airfare purchase, which is solid.
The Amex International Airline Program is one of my favorite perks of both the Amex Personal Platinum Card and Amex Business Platinum Card. If you fly international premium cabins with any frequency, the savings afforded by the program can be huge, and pay for your annual fee over and over.
When you’re getting ready to book an international premium cabin ticket (even if it’s premium economy), I always recommend taking a look at Amex Travel to see what kind of a fare is being offered.
What has your experience been with the Amex International Airline Program? Have you ever used it?
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser’s responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

I booked us (party of 4 adults) through AMEX Platinum back in early June for a trip to South Africa in April 2022 (going LAX to CPT … return JNB to LAX) on Qatar Air Business Comfort Class (so we would get seat selection and lounge privileges in Doha) for $3,200pp! It was a smoking deal that beat what Qatar was charging plus 5X AMEX points on the cost.
HINT: The AMEX Platinum site only…
I booked us (party of 4 adults) through AMEX Platinum back in early June for a trip to South Africa in April 2022 (going LAX to CPT … return JNB to LAX) on Qatar Air Business Comfort Class (so we would get seat selection and lounge privileges in Doha) for $3,200pp! It was a smoking deal that beat what Qatar was charging plus 5X AMEX points on the cost.
HINT: The AMEX Platinum site only shows Qatar Air’s “Classic” fare which is the one with no seat selection and no lounge access. Get Qatar’s Comfort and Elite fares off of Qatar’s own site then call AMEX Platinum to see if they will beat them.
I was just going to post this about the fares on Qatar. I called and was able to get a great fare from ORD to TBS. It took them a while to figure it out, but it was $500 cheaper than on the site.
@Ben I don’t understand the need to save points and book cash fares when you have millions of points on hand. You can only use points for travel, but you can use cash for ANYTHING.
I do understand trying to get good value out of points, but generally speaking getting travel extremely discounted or “free” via points is almost always the best option when you can generate more points via typical day-to-day spend or a new signup bonus.
If I’m a platinum cardholder, can I book an IAP fare using my points for a flight for my wife? It looks to be against the terms since I’m not on the intin but it let me do it online.
Do you get 5x even if you pay with points?
The times when my plans are not flexible enough to book an award ticket(which almost always can be had for fewer points than IAP paying with points) and I need to fly in F/J, are pretty rare, but I guess it’s good to have options.
I routinely use it to book premium economy or business on Austrian, where the savings are generally $100-$200 and $200-$300 respectively. A great way to get value out of the Platinum.
@ryan t: On checkout it doesn’t allow me to change the name of the passenger traveling, so that would be the major hurdle and indicates that is not allowed.
Thanks for posting this summary, Ben. I hadn’t looked at this benefit, and you prompted me to look. Getting ready for when Australia is open again.
The Australian version of Amex travel does not (unless I was doing something wrong) show you how much reduction it offers, so I searched for a random SYD-LAX trip next year before logging on, and again after doing so. In PE NZ was $AU500 less and QF and DL…
Thanks for posting this summary, Ben. I hadn’t looked at this benefit, and you prompted me to look. Getting ready for when Australia is open again.
The Australian version of Amex travel does not (unless I was doing something wrong) show you how much reduction it offers, so I searched for a random SYD-LAX trip next year before logging on, and again after doing so. In PE NZ was $AU500 less and QF and DL c$AU250, do that’s worth looking into when I can travel. (NZ was far cheaper to start with.) If I get into the habit of using the site, I might actually remember to use my Amex travel credit before it expires.
I’d like to know if the fares provided by the agents are the same seen on the web interface. All my searches on the web provide standard prices, even when logged with the platinum account. Thanks
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I booked us (party of 4 adults) through AMEX Platinum back in early June for a trip to South Africa in April 2022 (going LAX to CPT … return JNB to LAX) on Qatar Air Business Comfort Class (so we would get seat selection and lounge privileges in Doha) for $3,200pp! It was a smoking deal that beat what Qatar was charging plus 5X AMEX points on the cost. HINT: The AMEX Platinum site only shows Qatar Air's "Classic" fare which is the one with no seat selection and no lounge access. Get Qatar's Comfort and Elite fares off of Qatar's own site then call AMEX Platinum to see if they will beat them.
I'd like to know if the fares provided by the agents are the same seen on the web interface. All my searches on the web provide standard prices, even when logged with the platinum account. Thanks
I was just going to post this about the fares on Qatar. I called and was able to get a great fare from ORD to TBS. It took them a while to figure it out, but it was $500 cheaper than on the site.
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser’s responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

I booked us (party of 4 adults) through AMEX Platinum back in early June for a trip to South Africa in April 2022 (going LAX to CPT … return JNB to LAX) on Qatar Air Business Comfort Class (so we would get seat selection and lounge privileges in Doha) for $3,200pp! It was a smoking deal that beat what Qatar was charging plus 5X AMEX points on the cost.
HINT: The AMEX Platinum site only…
I booked us (party of 4 adults) through AMEX Platinum back in early June for a trip to South Africa in April 2022 (going LAX to CPT … return JNB to LAX) on Qatar Air Business Comfort Class (so we would get seat selection and lounge privileges in Doha) for $3,200pp! It was a smoking deal that beat what Qatar was charging plus 5X AMEX points on the cost.
HINT: The AMEX Platinum site only shows Qatar Air’s “Classic” fare which is the one with no seat selection and no lounge access. Get Qatar’s Comfort and Elite fares off of Qatar’s own site then call AMEX Platinum to see if they will beat them.
I was just going to post this about the fares on Qatar. I called and was able to get a great fare from ORD to TBS. It took them a while to figure it out, but it was $500 cheaper than on the site.
@Ben I don’t understand the need to save points and book cash fares when you have millions of points on hand. You can only use points for travel, but you can use cash for ANYTHING.
I do understand trying to get good value out of points, but generally speaking getting travel extremely discounted or “free” via points is almost always the best option when you can generate more points via typical day-to-day spend or a new signup bonus.
If I’m a platinum cardholder, can I book an IAP fare using my points for a flight for my wife? It looks to be against the terms since I’m not on the intin but it let me do it online.
Do you get 5x even if you pay with points?
The times when my plans are not flexible enough to book an award ticket(which almost always can be had for fewer points than IAP paying with points) and I need to fly in F/J, are pretty rare, but I guess it’s good to have options.
I routinely use it to book premium economy or business on Austrian, where the savings are generally $100-$200 and $200-$300 respectively. A great way to get value out of the Platinum.
@ryan t: On checkout it doesn’t allow me to change the name of the passenger traveling, so that would be the major hurdle and indicates that is not allowed.
Thanks for posting this summary, Ben. I hadn’t looked at this benefit, and you prompted me to look. Getting ready for when Australia is open again.
The Australian version of Amex travel does not (unless I was doing something wrong) show you how much reduction it offers, so I searched for a random SYD-LAX trip next year before logging on, and again after doing so. In PE NZ was $AU500 less and QF and DL…
Thanks for posting this summary, Ben. I hadn’t looked at this benefit, and you prompted me to look. Getting ready for when Australia is open again.
The Australian version of Amex travel does not (unless I was doing something wrong) show you how much reduction it offers, so I searched for a random SYD-LAX trip next year before logging on, and again after doing so. In PE NZ was $AU500 less and QF and DL c$AU250, do that’s worth looking into when I can travel. (NZ was far cheaper to start with.) If I get into the habit of using the site, I might actually remember to use my Amex travel credit before it expires.
I’d like to know if the fares provided by the agents are the same seen on the web interface. All my searches on the web provide standard prices, even when logged with the platinum account. Thanks

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