5 bucket-list trips you can book with 100,000 Amex points

  • 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points can get you to virtually any destination in the world.
  • The standard welcome offer for thePlatinum Card® from American Express is 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months, but you could be eligible for a 100,000-point offer (with the same spending requirement) through theCardMatch tool. Check to see if the offer is available for you, and note that it can change at any time.
  • According to travel website The Points Guy, the current 100,000-point bonus is worth about $2,000.

A popular tool calledCardMatch uses your personal credit history to find credit cards that could be a fit for you. American Express currently has an offer for 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months after opening theAmex Platinum through CardMatch. Not everyone who uses the tool will have this offer, but it’s worth taking a minute to see if you are.

This is 40,000 extra points compared to the standard offer of 60,000 points (with the same spending requirement), so it’s a great opportunity to get tons of extra value. Note that the CardMatch offer can change at any time without notice, so check sooner than later to see if you’re eligible.

If you’ve been itching for a vacation, this bonus may be all you need to get there.

Does Amex Platinum make sense for you?

ThePlatinum Card from American Express is one of the best-known luxury travel cards available today. Its benefits include access to American ExpressCenturion Lounges, Priority Pass airport lounges, and elite status at multiple hotel chains. It offers credits for Uber, up to $100 each year in credits with the airline of your choice, and up to a $100 statement credit to cover the cost of TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. And those are just a few of the perks.

Frequent travelers will appreciate 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and both flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express. You get 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

The card has a $550 annual fee, but if you can put even just some of its perks to use, you can easily get more than $550 in value from the card. Business Insider’s David Slotnick found that he was able to getmore than $2,000 in value through theAmex Platinum’s benefits in his first year of membership, for instance.

100,000 points go a long way

The current welcome bonus fromCardMatch can land you 100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. According to travel website The Points Guy’s valuations, Amex points are worth 2 cents apiece. That means the Amex Platinum’s 100,000-point bonus is worth $2,000. That’s huge — the bonus alone is worth nearly four years of annual fees!

Here are some fun ideas on how you could use that 100,000-point bonus to live out your bucket-list dreams.

New Orleans Jazz Festival

I’ve taken two trips to New Orleans with flights paid for using only miles and points.Shutterstock

If youredeem points directly through the American Express Travel portal, you’ll get a value of 1 cent per point toward airfare and a little less for hotels, rental cars, and other non-air travel bookings. You can do better transferring to a partner airline or hotel in many cases. 100,000 points is plenty to get you and a companion to this fun springtime music festival.

Moving points to the British Airways Executive Club program and booking for short-haul flights on partner American Airlines is usually a great value. If you live in the continental United States, flights to New Orleans should cost between 6,000 and 13,000 Avios each way. That gives you plenty of leftover points to book a hotel through partners Marriott, Hilton, or Choice Hotels.

Celebrate Holi in India

If you love color, you’ll love the Holi celebrations in India. Sometimes called the Festival of Spring or the Festival of Colors in English, the traditional Hindu holiday is a perfect time to visit.

Several American Express transfer partners — including Singapore Airlines, Delta, ANA, and Air Canada — can get you to India in coach for 50,000 miles or less each way.

You won’t have any miles left over for hotels, so make sure to add that to yourbudget when planning.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Carnival is one of the most exciting times to visit Brazil. Rio de Janeiro hosts a spectacular celebration just before Lent every year. The highlight is a parade that goes through a mega-stadium called the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí with a 90,000-person capacity.

British Airways, Delta, Alitalia, Air Canada, ANA, Etihad, and JetBlue all give you options to reach Brazil using your Amex points. You can also book nearly any flight through the Membership Rewards portal, but transferring points to partner airlines usually gives you more value.

Watch a live rocket launch

Star Trek may take place in the future and Star Wars may have been a long time ago in a galaxy far away, but you can go watch rockets go to space yourself if you plan a trip right. For West Coast launches, visitingSan Luis Obispo or Solvang (fly into San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, or Los Angeles) puts you just a short drive from the closest viewing points at Vandenberg Air Force Base. If the East Coast is more convenient, you can fly into Orlando and head to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral.

The British Airways alliance with American Airlines makes this a potentially cheap flight in terms of points. If you live close enough, you could book a short-haul award for just 12,000 Avios round-trip.

Explore ancient Jerusalem

I took my dad to Israel in business class using miles and points.Eric Rosenberg

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have important religious sites in Israel. I’ve been many times and flew for free (just paying taxes and fees) for my last three visits using miles and points. On my last trip to Israel, I was able totreat my dad to a trip in business class!

Moving American Express points to ANA gives you access to United flights into Tel Aviv (TLV), which is the closest airport to Jerusalem. Delta is another good transfer partner with flights into TLV.

International Beatleweek in Liverpool

A few months ago, I took a trip to England with an overnight at Liverpool’s Beatles-themed hotel,The Hard Days Night Hotel. You can book a flight to London or your hotel nights using American Express points. The hotel I visited is owned by Millennium Hotels & Resorts, which are bookable in the Membership Rewards portal.

When in Liverpool, you’ll want to visit The Beatles Story museum, The Cavern (a historic Beatles concert venue), and perhaps book a ride on the Magical Mystery Tour. If you’re going during Beatles week, you’ll want to book well in advance, as hotels and tours can sell out.

Knock any item off your bucket list

100,000 Membership Rewards points can take you virtually anywhere in the world. It can cover flights, hotels, or maybe even both depending on your destination and how long you decide to go.

Amex points are among the most valuable of any credit card today. If you match with an offer for 100,000 bonus points through CardMatch and prefer luxury travel, this is a deal you shouldn’t pass up.

Click here to visit CardMatch to see if you’re targeted for the 100,000-point Amex Platinum offer »

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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