My 2016 Amex Airline Fee Credits Posted

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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:

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.

On January 1 I decided to purchase some American Airlines gift cards using my Amex Platinum Card and Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card.

Amex-Reimbursement

For the Amex Platinum Card I decided to purchase two $100 gift cards, both of which were reimbursed just two days later:

Amex-Plat-1

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:

Amex-Plat-2

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 AlaskaAmerican, Delta, HawaiianJetBlueSouthwest, 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.

Amex-Airline-Fee-Credit-2

Bottom line

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:

Have you redeemed your 2016 Amex airline fee credit yet?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Curious, why would you use them to get AA GCs instead of amazon GCs via United MPX app? I ask because there are insurances / perks that come with paying for airfare via credit card but it stipulates that the entire fare must be paid using that credit card (except award tickets). When you use AA GCs to partially pay for a flight, aren’t you unnecessarily exposing yourself to losing these insurances / perks?

  2. I did 4 $50 virtual gift cards on AA on 1 January and they have not been reimbursed yet. My Platinum anniversary is 9 January and I don’t plan to keep it another year so it would be nice if the reimbursement would post. Curious that you got yours in 2 days and mine still hasn’t shown up.

  3. If the transaction posts Dec 31 2015 and gets credited January 4th 2016. Does that count for 2015 based on the post date or is it based on posted reimbursement date for 2016?

  4. I did my plat and gold on the same day. The Plat credit posted the next day and the gold still has not posted (been 4 days)….weird that they are not always done in the same time frame.

  5. i did a charge on delta on the 31 and it posted on the jan 1 and i got credit on jan 3

    is that for 2015 as the charge original was made?

    i was still able to choose and airline after the credit was posted those that mean anything?

  6. @Lucky – don’t you also have the Citi Prestige card which comes with an airline fee credit?

  7. I 2nd the United MPX and Amazon. Did that on platinum and business platinum. For those asking above, my purchases were in 2015 and airline credit was posted in 2016. However, I did purchase again in 2016 and was credited so as long as the purchase was made in 2015 and posts in 2015, then the credit is for 2015.

  8. For my “one time” AA Citi Exec Card credit, they counted straight airfare for a credit to my surprise 2 years ago. Of course I’m sad it’s one time, been thinking I should change.

  9. I gifted myself $200 to my United travelbank on Jan 2 and was reimbursed on Jan 4th. Woo! Hoo! Free money!

  10. If I decide to cancel the Amex platinum card (annual fee posted in November) and have just gotten the airline fee reimbursed, would I be able to not only get the prorated annual fee refunded to me but also keep the $200 credit? Or would they cancel out the airline credit?

  11. $150 AA change fee reimbursed after having to redeposit miles in my account after the opening of Etihad Apartments the other day. Figured $150 was well worth the change, free even better.

  12. My friends and family think i’m crazy for spending $450 a year on a credit card. But with $200 in Delta vouchers each year, (a $100 loyalty credit this year for asking about a retention strategy) the price drops down to $150.

    If each visit to a Delta skyclub is worth $10 (i’m usually just there before early morning flights to grab coffee and some breakfast) and a visit to a Centurion Lounge is worth $25 (since if i’m in one i’ve usually planned it and have a decent meal with a couple of crafted cocktails) and priority pass lounges range from $1 in value (the Avianca lounge at SJU) to $20 (the Club at ATL or MCO) then its easily paid for itself over the year.

    I’ve already gotten my $200 airline credit this year. What would happen if i cancelled the card, then reapplied in, say, 90 days. I know I wouldnt get another welcome bonus but would I be eligible for another $200 airline credit for 2016??

  13. I put 2 – $100 American Airlines gift cards on my Platinum card December 6th to beat the end of year deadline. I was not reimbursed for these on my December 27th statement. I checked and I have designated American Airlines as my designated airline and did not have any other reimbursable fees during the year. Should I ask American Express about this?

  14. I have the same issue as @Marty: I actually had to pay a fee of over $100, and it was not automatically reimbursed. Instead, I was told that “It looks like you are traveling soon. We’ve gone ahead and put a travel notification on your account.” I tried to address it via AmEx online customer service, and it was like pulling teeth for it to be understood that I was not traveling and that I would like the fee reimbursed as a fee credit. A week later, and I still haven’t been reimbursed. So maybe Marty and I both need to call.

  15. lucky,
    I am curious to know why you have both Amex platinum personal bs amex platinum business. Since both cards are pretty much identical, why spend $900/year when you can just have 1 for $450/year and have the same benefits? Is there anything that I am missing?

  16. Isn’t this risky? AMEX terms and conditions says the $200 annual airline credit does NOT apply to airline gift cards.

  17. My $200 amex credit just posted. United is the airline I selected last year (and default to this year) for the airline fee credit. I bought a $200 Amazon Gift Card through United MileagePlusX (only 2 miles per dollar on Amazon, but still better than nothing), and used my Amex Plat. to pay for it. The amex charge posted on the 5th and the credit posted on the 7th. I didn’t think to do it in $50 increments- I just did it as one $200 gift card. Just another data point…

  18. Dear One More Person: can you explain exactly how you purchased the $200 amazon card on United? I went to United website, but it requires me to use my miles for an amazon gift card. I won’t use my valuable miles for the gift card; I want to buy a $200 amazon gift card with my plat amex, just like you did, so I can get a $200 credit from plat. amex. thanks

  19. Mark, I downloaded the United Mileage PlusX App to my phone I logged in to my mileage plus account from the app, an added my Amex plat as a payment method in the app on my phone. (Perhaps this is the step you missed, as otherwise, the app has no other payment method but miles to suggest.) Then, still in the app, I went to “catalog” and “all” and scrolled to Amazon. Then I punched in 200.00 and made the payment method the Amex card. That transaction went through, Then I was asked if I wanted to load the gift card onto my Amazon account, and I did, so I hit the button in the app that opens Amazon.com so you can load the gift card. That’s it for the app.
    Then I watched my Amex account to see the credit post two days later.
    The only things to note are that other seem to see the credit post immediately if they do the gift cards (really gift card codes) in $50 increments.
    Also, I had already selected United as my fee credit airline for Amex.
    I hope that’s helpful!

  20. I was a little worried when I read your post that the terms state that “upgrades” are not incidental fees, since I had just used my Amex Platinum to pay for Delta Comfort+ seats (after booking the entire trip) on an upcoming flight from HNL-ATL. I have been reimbursed for this purchase in the past. Since I don’t travel nearly as much as you, I can only confirm these seats the day before travel; we find it’s worth it to pay at least on the red-eye outbound start of our trip. Any way happy to report that my credits posted the day after the charge. When I look at the charge (on the Amex Website) Delta calls it “Document Type: MISCELLANEOUS TAX(S)/FEE(S)” So I get my “upgrade” compliments of Amex. Thought others might be interested, haven’t tried paying for a First class upgrade, but it might work too.

  21. Last month I bought 2x $50 Amazon GC with my WF Propel card and the credit was posted on the same day however last week I bought using PRG and the credit still hasn’t posted. Also this is my 2nd time around with PRG as last year i bought 2x $50 amazon GC and the credit was posted within 2 days.

    Anyone else had this issue about not getting credit on PRG lately.

  22. Hey Lucky,

    I was stoked about the Delta Sky Club access when it was advertised to me as an incentive to upgrade to Platinum AMEX, but it turns out that you can only use it when flying Delta. Which is a crappy bait-and-switch in my book. With Delta, that figures.

  23. Jana – It worked for me on May 12 for $10 and got reimbursed May 14, and then I purchased again on May 13 for $50, reimbursed on May 16. However, I purchased a $100 gift card on May 16 and haven’t seen the credit yet..

  24. I’m purchase the 5 star services from American airline for 2 people total $325($250 for first, 75 for each additional person), transaction post on Monday, credit show on Wed. Base on information I have as long as the transaction classified as mise fees, the system will prove the credit

  25. Does anyone know which options are working as of Dec 2016? I received my card and want to use it iether on AA or UA? Any advice?

  26. Fwiw, I purchased 2 50$ Amazon cards using the United MPX app, the charges were posted to my (amex gold) account on 12/15 and 12/16 but so far no travel credit.
    The category shows up as “Travel – Airline”.
    Theres also a “Flight Details” associated with the charge with “Document Type: SPECIAL SERVICE TICKET”

  27. I purchased a $200 gift card for Delta on 12/27 and just spoke to an Plat AMEX rep – was told gift cards are not reimbursable. Epic fail. Any other advice on how I can use this credit before it’s too late?

  28. @Peter, yes as long as the transaction is made before the New Year, you’re good. I keep hearing the magic number for Delta gift cards is 50 as well, so go for it!

    Everyone else:

    I bought two SW $100 E-Gift Cards (separately) on December 28th and have not been credited yet. I noticed that most people who posted data points on SW E-Gift Cards were credited within 2 days.

    I noticed that on my statement they show up as:

    Flight Details
    Ticket Number: (I removed the number)
    Document Type: SPD/AIR FREIGHT

    Have you all have similar experiences? Is there a reason to be concerned or should I wait it out longer?

  29. So you Amex says you can change your airline once per year in January… Does that mean I can use the $200 today for my default airline from 2016 and then still change it before end of January? I would like to change my airline for the 50% rebate portion but only after i get gift cards for my old selection.. Thoughts?

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