American Express Will Pay You $150 to Book a Vacation

Tourist sitting at the fountain on Placa Reial and using credit card to make an online reservation for last minute hotel

American Express announced this morning a new set of perks for its Platinum Card holders, including a $150 bonus for trips booked this fall.

Holders of the American Express Platinum Card can now score the $150 statement credit if they spend at least $800 on hotel bookings by Dec. 7. Card members can also earn a free night at one of more than 200 hotels by booking a trip before Dec. 18 and staying before Dec. 20 of next year. (Trips must be booked through AmexTravel.com to earn the credits.)

Additionally, American Express says it will start offering platinum card holders “access to lower fares on select domestic routes and flights, with the ability to save up to 22 percent off the public fare” on flights booked before March 31, 2021.

“While the travel environment has changed, consumers’ desire to travel is still strong and continues to be an integral part of our card members’ lifestyles,” said Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel, in an email to Travel + Leisure.

The new lineup of perks will likely come as welcome news to holders of the card that carries a $550 annual fee. It also may just be the boost travelers need to make a booking for a staycation or weekend getaway closer to home.

“We’ve slowly seen our card members’ appetite to travel safely increase, albeit in different ways than they may have previously traveled,” Hendley said. “Our card members are eager to get out there and explore in a safe manner, such as exploring nearby destinations, taking more road trips, and booking last-minute travel.” She pointed to a surge in hotel bookings within card holders’ home states as one sign that Americans are beginning to travel more, closer to home.

“We’ve also seen our card members look to the great outdoors for luxury escapes and wellness experiences," Hendley added. "We recently booked a fly-fishing experience for one of our card members in Butte, Montana. Additionally, the Wheatleigh, a Fine Hotels + Resorts property in the Berkshires, offers guests a variety of outdoor experiences for socially distanced fun, including tennis courts, bicycles, kayaks, and paddleboards.”

Also today, American Express announced it would offer a 40 percent bonus on Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors points that are transferred to the card company’s Membership Rewards program before the end of October. That means that if you moved 10,000 Marriott points to American Express, you’d have 14,000 points to play with in Membership Rewards, for booking flights, upgrades, hotels, even rental cars.

While the new offerings are likely a welcome perk for anyone planning a fall escape, they’re also a tacit acknowledgement of what many of us already know: This has been a difficult year for travel, as road trips and staycations have taken the place of more ambitious adventures and international trips. Overseas vacations, in particular, remain largely out of reach for many Americans because of border closures and travel restrictions, though a growing number of destinations have begun to welcome U.S. passport holders.

Still, Hendley sees some promise for the upcoming fall and winter season. “Holiday travel is certainly top of mind for us,” she said. “According to our Amex Trendex, 26 percent of consumers are planning to travel for Thanksgiving and 20 percent for New Year’s Eve. As the travel landscape continues to change, I anticipate we will continue to see people booking last-minute trips similar to what we’ve seen over the past few weeks.”

The full details on the latest American Express offers, according to the company:

  • "Eligible U.S. Platinum Card® Members who enroll their Card in the Fine Hotels + Resorts® Amex Offer and spend $800 or more (in one or more transactions) on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts bookings at com will receive a one-time $150 statement credit, in addition to the existing suite of Fine Hotels + Resorts benefits, for travel booked by December 7, 2020.
  • "With nearly halfof consumers (46%) interested in complimentary nights or property credits for lodging, U.S. Platinum Card Members can receive a complimentary night or property credit when booking an eligible stay at a selection of more than 200 participating Fine Hotels + Resorts properties through American Express Travel. Select offers are also repeatable, so eligible Card Members can receive multiple complimentary nights. Required booking dates and travel dates vary by property.
  • "As 40% of consumers who typically travel by plane note that they’d be comfortable traveling by plane domestically in the next three months, and 55% of consumers noting interest in discounted domestic flights, until December 31, 2020, American Express is providing U.S. Platinum Card Members with access to lower fares on select domestic routes and flights, with the ability to save up to 22% off the public fare. These lower fares are available for travel through March 31, 2021.
  • "Eligible Membership Rewards® enrolled Card Members can get 40% more points when they transfer Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy™ or Hilton Honors points through October 31, 2020.Eligible U.S. Card Members can get a one-time $75 statement credit when they enroll their Card in the Marriott Bonvoy Amex Offer and use their Card to spend $250 or more on room rate and room charges with participating Marriott Bonvoy properties from now until December 31, 2020. Reservations must be made through Marriott."

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