Want to Earn More Points When Booking Flights? This Card is King
We get it: You want to earn more miles on every purchase. Whether you’re paying for your dinner or gassing up your car, you want to earn as many points and miles as possible. That’s smart, yet it’s not always easy to remember the best
But when it comes time to book a flight, there’s an undisputed champion that should be a go-to in your wallet. Even when prices are cheap – like the domestic flights you find here or the insane international fares you get through Thrifty Traveler Premium – it’s a no-brainer.
It’s the Platinum Card from American Express. Other cards can work, but none can compete with the 5x points you get for every $1 you spend on airfare booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com on the Amex Platinum card.
How Amex Platinum’s 5x Stacks Up
The American Express Platinum card is one of several premier travel rewards credit cards on the market.
And in general, these top-of-the-line credit cards are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes time to book flights. But even among other top-tier credit cards, the Amex Platinum stands out. Take a look.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 3x on all travel purchases (after using up the $300 travel credit each year)
- Citi Prestige: 5x on all air travel
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: 2x on all purchases, including travel
- American Express Platinum: 5x on travel booked directly through airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Let’s break this down a bit. Here’s what it boils down to:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve will get you 3x points on any travel purchase you make, whether you’re getting in an Uber, buying a flight through an online travel agency or. So while it’s got a broader benefit, 3x simply can’t compete with the 5x you get by booking directly with the Amex Platinum.
And while the Citi Prestige gets you 5x points on flights booked directly or through travel agencies, Citi has one major shortcoming. Namely, the airlines to which you can transfer Citi ThankYou Points simply aren’t as strong as American Express’s stable of transfer partners.
|Program||Type||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Airline||1:1||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific||Airline||1:1||1-7 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||Airline||1:1||1-2 days|
The one caveat here: The Chase Sapphire and Citi Prestige each offer outstanding trip cancellation and delay policies, while the Amex Platinum does not. So if that’s important to you, it could outweigh the additional points you’d earn with the Amex Platinum card.
The Amex Platinum Puts Co-Branded Airline Cards to Shame
Co-branded airline cards are popular for a reason. It’s an easy way to rack up more miles to fuel your travels.
But let us illustrate why the Amex Platinum may be an even better choice when it comes time to pay for your flight.
We’re big fans of Delta SkyMiles and the co-branded Delta American Express credit cards. But no matter which of those cards you get, you’ll only earn 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases. So if you buy two $300 Delta tickets and put it on your Delta card, you’d get 600 bonus SkyMiles – plus what you earn from taking the flight itself.
Compared to the 1,500 bonus Membership Rewards points you’d get from the 5x multiplier with the Amex Platinum card, it’s not even close. And you could turn around and transfer those points right back to your Delta SkyMiles account. It’s an easy choice, and part of the reason why we consider the Amex Platinum the best credit card for frequent Delta flyers.
All About the Platinum Card from American Express
That sweet 5x points you’ll get when buying flights direct won’t come cheap. But with that perk and an unbeatable set of other benefits, the value from the Amex Platinum card can easily outweigh its $550 annual fee for many travelers.
For starters, there are $200 in airline fee credits that cover things like seat selection, baggage fees, etc. You also get up to $200 in Uber rides, doled out in $15 monthly installments (plus $35 in December). Throw in another $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application once every four years, and $100 in credits to Saks Fifth Avenue in two, $50 sums.
But perhaps best of all is the lounge access you get with the Amex Platinum. The Platinum card opens up more airport lounge doors than any card on the market. For starters, you can get into American Express’s incredible Centurion lounges. You’ll also get a membership with Priority Pass, the global network with more than 1,200 outposts. You can get into Delta SkyClubs so long as you’re flying Delta that day. And finally, you can use Escape Lounges – including our favorite lounge at our home Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) airport.
You can get 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months on the card. But be sure to check if you qualify for the outstanding 100,000-point welcome bonus with the CardMatch tool.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express
The Amex Platinum has earned a permanent spot in many travelers’ wallets, and the 5x you get when paying for flights is a big part of the reason why. There’s simply no better card to book flights, get extra points, and accelerate your travels.
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.
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