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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 The Platinum Card® from American Express get a new $200 airline fee credit.
Here are the American Express cards with annual airline fee credits:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months; access to Delta SkyClubs when traveling on Delta-operated flights, Priority Pass lounges, Airspace Lounges, and Centurion Lounges, $550 annual fee
- The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz — 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 within three months; access to Delta SkyClubs when traveling on Delta-operated flights, Priority Pass lounges, Airspace Lounges, and Centurion Lounges; $550 annual fee
- The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express — Access to Delta SkyClubs when traveling on Delta-operated flights, Priority Pass lounges, Airspace Lounges, and Centurion Lounges; $450 annual fee
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.
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, and United. 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 $550 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 $350 per year after that, which I find worthwhile for all the benefits.