The merits of business and first class need no introduction. Refined lounges, airport fast tracks and beds in the sky are a no brainer – if you can afford it. For those that carry the American Express Platinum card, the “affording” part may be more accessible than imagined. American Express Travel has refurbished their lucrative International Air Travel program – and the savings can be immense.

a row of seats in an airplaneNot Just Two

The American Express International Air Program for US, UK, Canadian and ICC based Platinum and Centurion Card members originally represented a discount on any second ticket purchase for travel companions. The discount only applied to the most expensive fares and was hardly ever useful to a majority of travelers. That’s no longer the case. The new Air Program can unlock discounts on more than 20 airlines.


To unlock the benefit, tickets must originate the United States. If your card is issued outside of the US, you can use the benefit to book tickets from Europe, UK and elsewhere. You can go just about anywhere in the world! Eligible airlines include: Air France, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Japan Airlines, Swiss Lufthansa and more. Unfortunately, if your desired airline is not included – you won’t be able to save.

a seat in an airplaneReal Savings?

Savings are not guaranteed – but if you have an American Express Platinum Card – you’d be entirely remiss for not inquiring before making any first or business class booking. Sadly, this benefit is not available to Platinum cardmembers outside of the United States. American Express often has access to specially negotiated fares, unavailable anywhere else. Travelers have regularly saved 25-40% off on tickets, even on discounted business class tickets.

How To Book

Ok – you’ll need both an American Express Platinum Card, and a phone. Simply call the number on the back of your card and ask to reach the International Air Travel booking program. For best results: look up fares in advance of calling, so you have something to compare. If the same flights are lower through Amex, it’s a no brainer to book – especially when you throw in 5X points on all air travel, for booking with the Platinum Card.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Just want to add in: the new benefit also applies to flights departing from certain Canadian gateways too!
    And this benefit is also available with the Canadian Amex Platinum, but we don’t get the 5X bonus.

  2. The only reason I don’t have amex platinum is because I’m in the UK. Rubbish compared to USA benefits. No 5x points in UK. No travel programme. No Uber and airline credit. Just take my £450 and give me some rubbish hotel statuses which don’t offer much anyway + lounge access which is pointless as I aim to book J most of the time (award or cheap cash). Points bonus is only 10k more than gold in UK.

  3. AMEX and other card compnaies need to bring their benefits in the UK inline with USA & Canada.. The British Airwys card with chase in the states gives much more benefits than the Amex card in the UK – surely they should give more benefits / rewards to people in the UK as our flag carrier..

    At the moment the AMEX air miles is the most rewarding by far, which I use with BA, but we are so far behind the USA & Canada.. a gap for a company to step into perhaps!?

  4. Yeah, it’s becoming harder and harder to not feel like I’m being ripped off by having a UK platinum. All the love seems to be on the other side of the pond.

  5. amex international airline program is NOT applicable to the UK plat cards. I just got off chat with an amex agent who confirmed the same.

  6. My UK Plat did not include the IAP program, but my German Plat did, and I got some superb rates on flights between Germany and London.

    Unfortunately, British Airways finished being an European IAP partner as of 31/12/18 according to the Swiss Amex site, and I no longer get IAP rates for BA flights when I use the Amex DE travel portal.

    If (like in the US) Lufthansa was a partner, this wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but it whilst Lufthansa are on the IAP in the states, they are not on the German or Swiss IAP.

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