American Express Platinum $200 Airline Fee Credit

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Happy new year!

One of the few good things about the new year in our part of the world (given that most elite counters are reset) is that those of us with American Express Platinum cards get a new $200 airline fee credit.

Here are the American Express cards with annual airline fee credits:

You have to designate an airline for your annual fee credit, which can be done at americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. Once you log in it will give you the option to change your preferred airline. If you want to keep the same airline as last year, then you don’t need to do anything.

The terms and conditions state that airline fee credits exclude the following:

Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.

Anecdotally, however, many report having luck purchasing airline gift cards and having those reimbursed. For example, last year I purchased two $100 American Airlines gift cards, and they were reimbursed three days later.

American-Express-Fee-Credit-1

I had similar luck the year before, whereby the amounts were reimbursed within a few days.


The American Express forum on FlyerTalk has individual threads dedicated to reimbursement reports for each airline, including Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways. As you can see, anecdotally these credits can be used for a wide variety of things, from lounge memberships, to cancellation fees, to status challenge fees, to (in many cases) gift cards.

Anyway, I just purchased two $100 American Airlines gift cards and will report back on whether they get reimbursed. This is why the $450 annual fee on the Platinum card is no big deal to me for the first year — the airline fee credit is based on a calendar year, while the annual fee is based on the card member year, so it’s easy to squeeze two airline fee credits out of a single annual fee. And beyond that it essentially lowers my out of pocket on the Platinum Card to $250 per year after that, which I find worthwhile for all the benefits.

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Comments

  1. Kevin says

    The $450 fee is a no-brainer if you use the Amex Fine Hotels program. Free late checkout (eliminating half-day fees at resorts), free breakfast at all hotels, usually a $100 meal or spa credit, room upgrade if available. I offset that $450 by the end of January each year. The gift card is an interesting idea – I’ll try if you report it works.

  2. Jason says

    Words of warning: I switched to American Airlines this year, and I tried buying gift cards today. It said they’re no longer selling gift cards to New Jersey residents. I was also burned last year with United. You can’t use more than one gift card on a purchase so the $200 can’t be used all at once unless you can manage to get a single $200 gift card reimbursed.

  3. Leonard says

    I think this Amex award is worthless. I don’t want to play games with choosing which airline to get a one time 200. Credit. I have an Amex card for the perks ,the status having a more expensive card provides. I have lost more in terms of value over the past few years than I have gained. If the $200 was importanti would not have the Amex card to begin with. My favorite Amex card and as long as there are no changes will not give up is the SPG card. I also have a centurion card and if they don’t find something other than a 200 credit this card has lost too much value. Maybe they should consider offering double points on all purchases on the centurian card. The platinum card was eliminated long ago and chase with the ultimate rewards has a much better set of options. (In my opinion)

  4. mangoceviche says

    Lucky- it is true that if i cancel my amex plat and open a no annual fee points earning card, i get to keep my membership rewards points? then in the future if i have another membership rewards card, those points can be transferred to mileage programs?

  5. Will says

    Terms and Conditions

    “Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees”

    Anyone know if this has changed from last year?

  6. says

    @ mangoceviche — You do get to keep the Membership Rewards points, but if it’s a no annual fee card then they’re “basic” Membership Rewards points which can’t be transferred to airlines. If you later get a “premium” card again those points once again become transferable.

  7. Sean says

    Don’t know about new year but just last week I bought delta e-certs and apx 72 hours later were reimbursed.

  8. jason says

    not sure why the need to buy giftcards? when you book award tickets and pay the taxes, those can be covered with the $200 credit as well…

  9. Nick says

    I’m concerned that they are posting differently than the “Misc Sale”. The pending payment merchant identifies it as “Air – Travel”. Any thoughts if this has been the case and it will revert once posted?

  10. Jorge says

    Well this year I may buy the Admirals Club for we lose it in March (late ). I live in Miami and it is the only one we really use ( the other lounges are horrible ). Plus I fly AA.

    Will see…

  11. Joel says

    @Nick: AMEX listed my AA gift card purchase as “Air – Travel” when pending but once it posted, “Misc Sale” was the code used. This was just a few days ago as I was getting my 2013 credit.

  12. Al says

    Lucky please keep us posted on your results. I plan to do the $200 AA virtual GC like you but want to make sure you have success first. Thanks.

  13. Tyler says

    Lucky – Bought $200 in GC, got reimbursed but have no use for them because its an airline I won’t be flying this year (Delta). How do I go about selling them. Cardpool.com isn’t working right now and I want to make sure its a reputable site before I put in the GC #. Thanks!

  14. Albert says

    Also is there a reason why you went with two $100 virtual Gc instead of one $200 virtual Gc?

  15. says

    @ Albert — Generally the smaller the amounts the better chance of getting a refund, for what it’s worth. Smaller amounts are viewed as “fees.” That’s not to say a $200 gift card wouldn’t have worked, but I wanted to be on the safe side.

  16. Nick says

    @Joel: Thanks.

    @Al: Just posted as “MISC SALE…” as per Lucky’s 2012/13 screenshots. Will update in two days when I expect reimbursement will post. May be delayed by weekend though.

    @Lucky, my recollection from reading is that we can use up to 8 GCs towards a single reservation?

  17. Nick says

    @Al, et al: AA gifts card reimbursements are posting mid-day today (5th) for those who purchased on the 1st.

    I did $50 increments.

    @Lucky: Thoughts on holding this card until mid-March (and paying partial year fee of $75) to:
    A) get SPG gold for another year
    B) get another $200 in gift cards off of the AA deal

  18. mangoceviche says

    bot 2 $100 gift cards on 1/1 and reimbursement posted today.

    @Nick how do u get another 200 by holding the card until march? i thought amex reimburses up to 200 per calendar year.

  19. Nick says

    @mangoceviche: with the cancellation of the AA lounge benefit, I was offered an additional $200 (most were, or $500). I’m wondering if I could apply that to gift cards if it would be processed in a similar manner.

  20. Andy says

    Quick Question

    For those who purchased Delta egift cards and were reimbursed, what was the “Document Type” listed on my list of charges

    I purchased a 50 dollar egift card and it posted on 1/7 as a “PASSENGER TICKET” for document type. I have not received a reimbursement yet.

    Wondering if those were successful had a different document type listed

  21. katie says

    So if I purchased an airline ticket on my AMEX for 254.00 I will be getting reimbursed $200? Or does it have to be an exact amount of $200? Should I purchase gift cards then by my ticket with those and get the reimbursement?

  22. johnny says

    I brought $150 United Gift Certificate on Jan 13th, I showed up on Amex as
    Category – Travel Airline

    I still have not received the credit. Not sure if Travel Airline means Air Ticket?

  23. says

    @ johnny — Did you select United as your preferred carrier for reimbursement? If so I’d give it another couple of days.

  24. johnny says

    Yup, same as last year..
    I compared how this year’s transaction posted vs last year

    In 2013: The gift card transaction posted as Document Type: SPECIAL SERVICE TICKET
    (got credit within 24 hrs)

    In 2014: The gift card posted as
    Document Type: PASSENGER TICKET

    does not look good, will start a chat with Amex and see if they can help.

  25. Michele says

    I purchased $200 of United Gift Certificates on Jan. 8th. No credit yet and it is 10 days later. I will wait until 2 weeks and probably cancel my card if they are not willing to issue a credit. It’s frustrating to be out $200 and then pay an annual fee of $450. Why issue a credit that is so difficult to use ? They really are not giving you anything. Last year I had no problem. My charge posted a recipient gift /passenger ticket. Please let me know if anyone else has luck communicating with Amex. They don’t seem as helpful as they used to be.

  26. Kara says

    I purchased $200 UA e-GC in December and it was not credited. Without that it doesn’t look like the card will be worth me keeping it. Would love to hear if anyone has any luck with AMEX.

  27. Michele says

    Has anyone has success getting United Airlines to refund the GC if American Express will not give a credit to the account ?

  28. Jason Chiu says

    Bought a $200 Delta gift card last Friday (1/17). Checked my account and it shows passenger ticket as well. So I called Amex customer service. They say it would take 14 days to refund. Tell me that I can call them for help if I don’t get the refund after 14 days.

  29. Ivan Y says

    For United, I got refunded three weeks ago for a Gift Registry purchase while others were not getting Gift Certificates refunded. Check the UA FT thread on this topic to see if anything has changed.

  30. Ivan Y says

    @ Michele — a Gift Registry allows multiple people to contribute to recipient’s Travel Bank. You want a Cash GR on this page — http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/products/travelproducts/Pages/CashGiftRegistry.aspx. It’s a simple two-step process: (1) set-up a registry for yourself and (2) contribute to it using Amex Plat.

    Besides charges being reimbursed (per http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-express-membership-rewards/1300452-200-airline-fee-reimbursement-reports-ua-only-55.html), one advantage is that you can combine purchases from multiple Plat cards into one pot as opposed to being restricted to using one $200 GC (because UA only allow 1 GC when making a purchase).

    The downside are more restrictive terms (see T&C on the page I linked). Probably the most obvious is inability to use GR to pay towards award tickets. But as long as you are going to buy a revenue ticket eventually, it should be OK.

    Also, I’d also try to make it less obvious to Amex by either splitting charges into two for some random amounts or going a bit above $200 in a single transaction. I did $21x.xx.

    Good luck! I just checked FT thread and it seems like it still works :)

  31. says

    @ Becca — It really depends on the airline, though my guess would be no. You may want to check out the individual FlyerTalk threads for each airline to see if anyone else has had success though.

  32. Dylon says

    But if you pay the $450 annual fee, then spend $200 at the airline, the credit only negates that $200 you just spent at the airline, still making it a $450 separate fee?

  33. Grant says

    I have both a US and Australian Platinum Card. Both are roughly the same fee but the Australian one simply provides a complimentary return flight each year or a free night at a top hotel. I usually take the free flight as it’s the best value. It can also be gifted to anyone. It’s a pity the US program doesn’t do the same thing. As other people point out, the US flight credit is a game – looks like I’ll be buying gift cards :)

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