The American Express Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card from American Express are two of the best travel cards in Canada, as they come with a bevy of travel-related perks and a hefty welcome bonus to help justify the high annual fees.
One of the key travel benefits available on the cards is the $200 annual travel credit, which can be used to offset the cost of eligible purchases made through Amex Travel.
In This Post
- What Is the American Express Platinum Card Annual Travel Credit?
- How to Use the American Express Platinum Card Annual Travel Credit
- How to Maximize the American Express Platinum Card Annual Travel Credit
What Is the American Express Platinum Card Annual Travel Credit?
The American Express Platinum Card and Business Platinum Card from American Express‘s $200 annual travel credit is exactly what it sounds like. Each year, cardholders are given a $200 credit that can be used to book flights, hotels, car rentals, or other travel through the Amex Travel portal.
Aside from being approved for the card and paying the $799 annual fee, you don’t have to do anything extra to earn the $200 travel credit. It becomes available as soon as you activate your card, and then once per year on your cardholder anniversary date.
For example, if you’re approved for the American Express Platinum Card in March 2024, you’ll have one $200 travel credit that must be used before March 2025. Then, in March 2025, you’ll have a new $200 annual travel credit available in your account, which must be used by March 2026.
The $200 annual travel credit can only be used for bookings made through Amex Travel. This means that you won’t be able to book travel on your own elsewhere, and then apply the credit against your own travel expenses retroactively.
The $200 travel credit has to be used all at once towards a single travel booking of $200 or more. This means that you won’t be able to use it if your travel booking is less than $200, and you won’t be able to spread it out over multiple bookings.
Lastly, you need to opt in to using the travel credit at the time of booking. Simply booking $200 in travel through Amex Travel isn’t enough to trigger the credit — rather, you have to specify that you want to use your $200 annual travel credit, which we’ll cover in detail below.
Once you’ve made a booking, you’ll receive $200 as a statement credit on your Platinum Card within two business days or so. This means that you’re charged the full amount of the booking first, and then you receive a separate $200 statement credit posted to your account.
On September 26, 2023, the $200 annual travel credit became available on the Business Platinum Card from American Express. This new benefit came in tandem with other changes to the cards, including increasing the annual fee.
If you’re already a Business Platinum cardholder, you’ll have access to the $200 annual travel credit on the next anniversary date that falls on or after September 26, 2023, and every year thereafter on your anniversary date.
How to Use the American Express Platinum Card Annual Travel Credit
There are two ways to use the $200 annual travel credit from the American Express Platinum Card: over the phone, or online.
If you choose to phone in to book travel and redeem your credit, make sure the Amex Travel agent knows that you’d like to make use of your $200 travel credit. You’ll also need to use your personal or business version of the Platinum Card to pay for the rest of the charges on your booking, so be sure to have it handy.
If redeeming online, you’ll have to first login to your American Express account, and then head to Amex Travel.
You can do this by clicking on the “Menu” tab after you’ve logged in, selecting “Travel”, and then “Book Travel Online”.
If you have multiple American Express cards, you’ll be prompted to select the card you’d like to use.
In order to use the $200 annual travel credit, you’ll need to choose a Platinum Card from the list. If you haven’t used the travel credit yet, it’ll indicate that it’s available on this screen, as well as its expiry date.
After selecting the Platinum Card, you can choose which type of travel you’d like to book. The options include flights, hotels, or car rentals, as well as combinations of those three in the “Bundles” tab.
Once you’ve found your desired travel booking, head to the payment screen, and then keep an eye out for the option to apply your $200 annual travel credit.
If you don’t select it as an option at this point, the credit won’t automatically be applied against your travel.
After you’ve opted to use the travel credit, you’ll still need to enter the rest of your Platinum Card information. Your card will then be charged the full amount of the booking, and the $200 credit will appear on your Platinum Card account shortly thereafter.
How to Maximize the American Express Platinum Card Annual Travel Credit
Even though American Express restricts the $200 annual travel credit in that it can only be used through Amex Travel, there are still ways you can make the most out of your credit, and elevate your travel.
Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
One of the best ways to use the $200 annual travel credit is for a hotel stay with Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which gives you additional perks to enjoy during your stay.
You can use the $200 annual travel credit to get a free or very inexpensive night if the stay costs around $200, or you could use it to offset the cost of a more luxurious stay.
For example, a one-night stay at The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in Hobart, Tasmania might cost around $455 (CAD).
By booking through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, you’ll be able to use your $200 travel credit to reduce the cost down to $255 (CAD), and you’ll also have access to a number of additional perks.
You’ll receive a $100 (USD) property credit, free breakfast for two, guaranteed 4pm late check-out, and, when available, a room upgrade upon arrival and early check-in.
What’s more, if you have Marriott Bonvoy Elite status, you’ll still be able to enjoy your status benefits through hotels booked through Amex Travel, and you’ll also be credited with an elite qualifying night to work towards reaching a higher status, or retaining your status for next year.
If you have an upcoming trip planned and want to try out a luxury hotel, be sure to apply your $200 annual travel credit against the cost.
Amex Travel Amex Offers
American Express cardholders have exclusive access to Amex Offers, which are special opt-in promotions offered through your online account.
In the past, there have been specific Amex Offers available for spending on Amex Travel online.
One offer that’s popped up over the past couple of years has been a “Spend $800, Get $200” Amex Offer for bookings made through Amex Travel.
If you’ve been targeted with such an offer, you’d receive a $200 statement credit after making $800 worth of eligible prepaid hotel or car rental bookings through Amex Travel, which is separate from your $200 annual travel credit.
However, it’s also possible to stack the $200 annual travel credit with offers like this, which would effectively result in an out-of-pocket cost of $400 for $800 worth of travel.
Therefore, if you’re able to take advantage of both an Amex Travel Amex Offer and the $200 annual travel credit, you’ll end up with a significant discount on your booking.
A situation such as this can also be a great opportunity to try out a high-end property, such as the Four Seasons, Shangri-La, or Mandarin Oriental, without paying anywhere near the full price.
Offset the Annual Fee
Lastly, the $200 annual credit can be used as a way to offset the card’s annual fee.
If your plans fall through and you have to cancel a refundable travel booking, you’ll no longer have access to the travel credit.
As per the terms and conditions on the American Express Platinum Card:
If you cancel your travel booking after redeeming the Annual Travel Credit, you will not be able to use it again in the same year.
However, since you’re charged the full amount to begin with, you’ll still receive a full refund for the Amex Travel booking, even after the $200 annual travel credit has been applied to your account.
For example, if you make a refundable hotel booking for $400, you’ll have two items post to your account: a charge for $400 (your hotel booking), and a statement credit of $200 (from your travel credit). At this point, the net cost to you is $200.
If you need to cancel the hotel booking, you’ll receive a full refund of $400, and the $200 statement credit will remain posted to your account. Therefore, if you had a $0 balance before you made the booking, you’d now have a balance of –$200, since the annual travel credit can’t be reversed.
Having to cancel a booking due to unforeseen circumstances may not be ideal; however, if it comes to that, it’s nice to know that at least your $200 credit doesn’t go to waste.
Fortunately, the credit is easy to use through Amex Travel. While you’re limited to what’s available on the platform, you can use it to score a deal on a luxury hotel stay through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, or to otherwise lower the cost of other expenses for a trip.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to stack the $200 annual travel credit with an Amex Travel Amex Offer to unlock even more value. And if your plans fall through, it’s nice to know that the statement credit will remain on your account even after your booking is refunded.
It doesn’t matter how you make use of the $200 annual travel credit — just be sure to use it up before it expires each year.