How to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Planning Experience


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Since the end of the pandemic, international travel has seen its ups and down. Most people who planned their trips have yet to use their travel voucher to compensate for the deficit of funds from pre-planned trips that fell apart in the peak pandemic era.  With neverending lines and lost luggage, Canadians are looking for travel solutions that make their experience as easy as possible. 


Jen Walton, Vice President of the Membership Rewards Program and Membership Rewards Products and Lending at American Express, has a unique perspective on how Canadians can make their travel experiences smarter and more rewarding. 


In a conversation with Walton, she highlights a world of possibilities when it comes to stress-free traveling. From end-to-end trip planning, saving on vacation costs, a hassle-free airport experience, to an unlimited wealth of resources to plan the perfect trip, AMEX benefits have travelers covered every step of the way.

Bottom view of a plane flying directly above in a sky full of fluffy clouds.
Photo: Philip Myrtorp

A Passport to Better Travel

While it may appear unattainable for the typical credit card user, American Express stands out as one of the rare services offering comprehensive trip management from start to finish. Walton shares the sentiment that, “travel isn’t just about reaching a destination; it’s about the entire experience, and that’s where American Express truly shines.” With a wealth of options available, from earning reward points on everyday expenses to utilizing the Platinum card’s exclusive features, AMEX offers a passport to a smarter way to travel. 


With exclusive benefits and a seamless airport experience, AMEX caters to wanderers and workhorses seeking convenience and luxury. Gone are the days of enduring endless airport security lines; AMEX grants access to exclusive lines, turning the dreaded process into a breeze a personal favourite benefit of Walton’s). What’s more, this privilege accelerates your entry into the airport lounge, an oasis of serenity in the midst of the airport chaos. American Express empowers cardholders to escape the commotion and find solace in the airport lounge. Whether you crave a gourmet buffet or a signature cocktail at the bar, it’s your sanctuary to unwind. Here, you can seamlessly transition into your workflow or simply relax, all made possible by AMEX.


The Uncharted Benefits

In the world of AMEX travel benefits, there are gems that often remain uncharted. “One of the underrated perks is our Travel & Concierge Counselors,” Walton points out. “People often underestimate what this team can do to craft the experience for you.” Whether simply needing a reservation to a Michelin-starred restaurant or for someone to take on planning an entire trip for you, AMEX can be there for you day or night. Users can harness the complete range of available benefits to ensure that each trip is nothing short of extraordinary. This involves tapping into all the resources at your disposal, including the team of travel experts who meticulously curate and tailor your journey, as well as their dedicated concierge team who excel in recommending the finest restaurants, destinations, and exciting excursions. 

Woman sitting about waist-deep in an infinity pool overlooking a mountainous range with cloud cover.
Photo: Laura Chouette

From Everyday Expenses to Dream Getaways


One of the fundamental principles of traveling smarter with American Express is using your everyday expenses to fuel your adventures. “I think our customers use rewards to power their travel,” Walton explains. “It’s a really powerful option for our customers to earn rewards on their everyday expenses and use them to offset the cost of a trip.” This means you can earn reward points while buying groceries, filling up your gas tank, or shopping for daily essentials. These points can then be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, and other travel-related expenses, making your dream getaways more accessible than ever.


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A World of Choices

Another significant advantage of being an AMEX cardholder is the flexibility it provides. “Our customers have lots of flexibility in how they can offset the cost of traveling with their AMEX,” says Walton. From the ‘pay with points’ feature, where you can pay for your travel with your points and receive a credit back, to utilizing our team to curate and guide your trip, the possibilities are endless. Whether you prefer a high-touch approach with the assistance of AMEX’s travel experts and concierge team or you like to take the reins and self-serve using the AMEX Travel website, the choice is yours. Furthermore, Platinum card members enjoy an annual $200 travel credit that can offset booking costs, adding even more value to your travel plans.

A sunny beach filled with Tiffany-blue beach chairs and umbrellas facing towards the ocean.
Photo: Kelly Russo

A World of Opportunities

When asked about the geographical reach of AMEX travel benefits, Walton emphasizes, “We can book travel anywhere in the world, and we have a wide network of Fine Hotels + Resorts properties to enhance your stay.” With access to airport lounges globally and a range of travel benefits, your travel opportunities are limitless. The list of accommodations available with the  AMEX Platinum Card® allows members to get access to exceptional benefits at over 2,200 hand-picked hotels around the world with Fine Hotels + Resorts and The Hotel Collection, emphasizing that the world is your oyster. For those who appreciate fine dining, the perks extend to food and beverage experiences. Many hotels in the AMEX program offer complimentary breakfast for two, making mornings a delight. In addition, the dining credit benefit opens doors to exceptional culinary experiences, allowing travelers to savor exquisite meals at some of the world’s best restaurants while enjoying the advantage of a dining credit.


The Power of Smart Travel

As we conclude our journey with Walton, it becomes evident that AMEX benefits can empower Canadians to travel smarter, turning their dream destinations into achievable realities. Walton’s insights provide a roadmap to a more rewarding travel experience, emphasizing the value of everyday expenses, the flexibility of options, and the discovery of uncharted benefits. With American Express, the world is your oyster, and your next adventure awaits. So, whether you’re a frequent traveler or an occasional explorer, take a page from Walton’s book and make your journey smarter and more fulfilling with AMEX benefits.