In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!
Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.
As I posted about on January 1, one of the few positives in our hobby when it comes to the calendar year being reset is that it represents a new year of airline fee credits.
For example, I have the following three cards, each of which offers an annual airline fee credit:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — $200 annual airline fee credit
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN — $200 annual airline fee credit
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — $100 annual airline fee credit
Technically these are airline fee credits (meaning they can’t be used towards ticket purchases, etc.), which can be used for the following, per the terms & 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.
However, for years the purchase of airline gift cards has been reimbursed as well under the airline fee credit offer, assuming you purchase them in fairly small increments.
For the Amex Platinum Card I decided to purchase two $100 gift cards, both of which were reimbursed just two days later:
For the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card I decided to purchase two $50 gift cards (just to try different increments), and they were reimbursed within the same timeframe:
Anecdotally it seems like it continues to be possible to use your airline fee credits for the purchase of airline gift cards. If you’d like to read more experiences about using airline fee credits for various types of purchases, see the airline-specific FlyerTalk threads which cover this perk, including for Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.
Furthermore, keep in mind that if you haven’t used this benefit before you need to designate a specific airline, which can be done at americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. If you’ve selected an airline in the past, your preference will automatically be saved, though you can also elect to change it once per year if you’d like.
This is a great perk which nicely helps offset the annual fees on these cards. For example, while the Amex Platinum Card has a $450 annual fee, I value the $200 in gift cards I got from American at (basically) face value. That lowers my real out of pocket for the card to $250, which I find to be well worth all the perks, including:
- $100 Global Entry/Pre-Check fee credit
- Access to Boingo hotspots
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts
- Access to Delta SkyClubs
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Access to the American Express Centurion Lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, etc.
Have you redeemed your 2016 Amex airline fee credit yet?