I Saved $750 On My Qsuites Ticket Using The Amex International Airline Program

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As I’ve explained, this has been an insane week of travel planning for me. A few days ago I shared the details of the itinerary I booked that included travel in China Southern’s business class, China Eastern’s first class, Singapore’s new A380 business class, and most importantly, Singapore’s new A380 Suites.

Then earlier today I shared the details of the itinerary I booked that included travel in Swiss’ business class, Air India’s business class, Emirates’ new first class, and TAP Portugal business class. This is in addition to the other travel I have booked already for January and February, including a trip to Beijing with Tiffany in Delta’s new business class suites, as well as a trip to Europe with Ford to go skiing (well, he’ll go skiing… I’ll sit inside drinking warm beverages while blogging).

With tickets booked in four of the five new products that have recently been introduced, I couldn’t not review Qatar Airways’ Qsuites during this time. So I just booked a ticket in Qsuites, and wanted to share how I saved about $750 on the ticket.

Finding the cheapest Qatar Airways Qsuites ticket out of New York

Qatar Airways has an excellent new business class product that I feel like I’m way behind on reviewing. While I’d love to redeem miles for such a flight or position to Pakistan or Iran (where fares are cheapest), the reality is that I only had a window of a few days where I could review the product.

Specifically, when I return to New York from my TAP Portugal trip I wanted to find the best value Qsuites flight.

I looked at the fares out of New York, and searched literally every single Qatar Airways destination that you can legally route to from there. The problem is that I had very specific dates I had to fly due to how full my schedule already is.

The cheapest fare out of New York for those dates was to Yerevan, Armenia. The roundtrip ticket cost $4,370. I’d note that there are actually cheaper tickets to Yerevan on Qatar Airways (as low as ~$3,000 roundtrip), but they all have a longer minimum stay requirement, and also didn’t work for the daily flight operated by the 777 for the particular date I needed.

That’s more than I’d like to pay, but for me the math ultimately came down to whether it’s worth paying that much to review Qsuites in the next couple of months, and to me the answer was “yes.” Oh, and I also really want to visit Yerevan.

Amex International Airline Program to the rescue

In June Amex overhauled their International Airline Program in an awesome way, which is available to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. Previously they offered a “buy one get one free deal,” but only if booking tickets at the absolute full fare cost on select airlines. You could almost always find two cheaper discounted business class tickets, so I never used that feature.

But under the new program, you receive discounts for all premium economy, business class, and first class tickets when originating in the US on the following airlines:

The basic terms of the new program are as follows:

  • Valid for first class, business class, and premium economy tickets booked through Amex Travel, including both refundable and non-refundable tickets
  • Valid for the purchase of 1-8 tickets
  • A $39 service fee applies, which is waived for Centurion Card members
  • Only valid for travel originating in the US and “select Canadian gateways”
  • You can use the “Amex Pay With Points” benefit to book tickets through this program
  • To get quotes using this deal, you need to call 1-800-525-3355 if you have the Amex Personal Platinum Card, or 1-800-553-9497 if you have the Amex Business Platinum Card

This is such an awesome perk, since it works even on discounted tickets. Also keep in mind that you earn 5x points on airfare with the Amex Personal Platinum Card. I value Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of a further ~8.5% return.

How much did the Amex International Airline Program save me?

As mentioned above, the roundtrip business class ticket on Qatar Airways cost $4,370. I checked momondo.com (which typically has the best premium cabin fares, but links to some pretty shady online travel agencies), and their lowest fare was around ~$4,000. So I figured that’s around what the Amex International Airline program would get me, and I’d consider that to be a good discount.

Nope, it gets much better than that. I phoned up Amex Travel, and they quoted me a fare for the same ticket of $3,610. That’s savings of $760, which is nearly 20%. That’s a much bigger discount than I was expecting.

On top of that, since I was paying with my Amex Personal Platinum Card I’d earn 5x points, which meant I earned 18,050 Membership Rewards points, which I value at ~$307. That also doesn’t factor in the American AAdvantage redeemable and elite qualifying miles I’d earn for flying this ticket.

I’d also note that the entire booking process was easy. The agent was competent, and my ticket was booked within about 20 minutes from start to finish.

Bottom line

While I could have waited longer and no doubt found a better deal on a Qsuites ticket, getting a review out there about it soon is a priority, so this seemed like the best of the options. I’m really excited to review Qsuites. I also continue to be impressed by the Amex International Airline Program. Generally I expect savings to be in the range of 5-10%, though to get savings of nearly 20% really exceeded my expectations.

If you’re ever booking premium cabin travel originating in the US on one of the eligible airlines, be sure you give Amex a call.

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Comments

  1. I just flew in the Q suites last week and I am not a fan. I’ll be interested to read your take on it when you fly it. Specifically the space around the knees.

  2. To be clear, I can theoretically get a discounted J ticket, pay with points and get 35% of the points back because I have a business plat? That seems too good to be true.

  3. What’s the catch? Why does AmEx offer this, and why do you have to call in to get it? Are they trying to upsell you with hotel bookings too? AmEx is stuck staffing all these call center agents to do this — why isn’t it online?

    I book paid premium int’l tickets a few times a year, but it’s a hassle if I have to call them to check on availability. Is the trick to find the fare you want online, then call to see if they can do better?

  4. I do not have such a glowing review of the Amex International Airline Program. I have attempted twice to book business class tickets using the Amex International Airline Program. I wanted to book JFK to JNB. Both times the tickets were less money if booked directly on South African Airways site. I also do not like that there is no way to know what discounts are available on which airlines for which class of tickets. You need to have the Amex representative go through the entire process of booking your desired flight to know the size of the discount, that is if there is a discount.

  5. Is this for US issued Amex platinum cards only or Amex platinum cards issued outside US are eligible too?

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