Is It Too Late To Get The 2016 Amex Platinum $200 Airline Credit?

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There are several premium credit cards that offer annual travel credits. These are typically $450 annual fee cards that offer a $200-300 travel credit each year, which nicely helps offset the annual fee. Several weeks ago I wrote a post sharing the terms associated with each of these credits.

Two of the cards that offer an annual travel credit are The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

How the American Express Platinum travel credit works

Both the Amex Personal Platinum and Amex Business Platinum offer a $200 annual airline fee credit. The credit is calculated based on the calendar year, meaning you get a $200 credit for January 1 through December 31 of every year (other issuers don’t use strict calendar years, but American Express does).

The cool thing is that your annual fee is billed based on your cardmember year, while your airline credit is based on the calendar year.

In other words, if you got this card now you could still get a $200 credit between now and December 31, and then another $200 credit starting January 1, for a total of $400 in credits within two weeks. That’s a great way to help offset your annual fee very quickly.

What can the travel credit be used towards?

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. 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 AlaskaAmericanDeltaHawaiianJetBlueSouthwest, and United.

For example, I purchased two $100 American Airlines gift cards recently, and they both automatically reimbursed. There’s no guarantee that will continue to be the case, but that’s how it has worked up until now.

amex-plat

Is it too late to apply for these cards and receive the 2016 credits?

If you haven’t yet applied for the Amex Personal Platinum or Amex Business Platinum, you should still be able to apply now and get the 2016 airline fee credits. If you’re approved for either card soon then you should have the card in your possession within a week at most. Then you just have to select your preferred airline for the airline fee credit, and then make a purchase. Your purchase should be reimbursed within a couple of days.

So while you may have issues if your card approval stays “pending” for an extended period of time, most people should have no issue still getting approved for these cards and still getting the $200 airline fee credit for 2016. Then you’ll get another one as of January 1, 2017.

Why you want to get the Amex Business Platinum Card

There’s merit to having both the Amex Personal Platinum or Amex Business Platinum, as I recently wrote about it. Both of these cards come with quite a few benefits, including the following:

Amex-Centurion-Lounge-Houston - 10
Access Centurion Lounges with the Amex Platinum Card

On top of that, there are some unique benefits to each of these cards. The sign-up bonuses differ, with the business version of the card having a very nice increased offer at the moment:

  • The Amex Personal Platinum Card offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within three months
  • The Amex Business Platinum Card offers a sign-up bonus of up to 100,000 points — earn 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000, and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000, all on qualifying purchases within your first three

amex-biz-plat-100k

Meanwhile there are some benefits unique to both the business and personal version of the card:

  • Only the Business Card offers 10 complimentary Gogo wifi passes per calendar year, which is potentially very valuable
  • Only the Business Card offers up to a 50% points refund when using the “Pay With Points” option, which is essentially an opportunity to redeem your points for two cents each towards the cost of airfare
  • Only the Personal Card offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines

Wifi
Get 10 free wifi passes with the Amex Business Platinum Card

Bottom line

If you apply soon for the Amex Personal Platinum or Amex Business Platinum you have good odds of still qualifying for the $200 airline fee credit for 2016, and then in under two weeks you’ll be eligible for the bonus for 2o17. Both of these cards are extremely compelling, especially with the new benefits that were recently introduced on the cards, as well as the increased 100,000 point sign-up bonus on the business version of the card.

Lastly, keep in mind that anecdotally both of these cards are pretty easy to be approved for, and applying for the business version of the card won’t apply towards Chase’s “5/24 rule.”

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.

More articles by lucky »

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Comments

  1. What about the Chase Sapphire Reserve? Same deal? Or does the credit only apply in the month when the billing period ends (i.e. January 2017)?

  2. @clara, if your December statement has closed for the CSR you should be able to start getting your 2017 credits. Same for the Citi Prestige.

  3. United is my airline of choice. Since they have discontinued gift certificates I attempted several times to send money to the Gift Registry. Every time I send myself a solicitation email and follow the link it never takes me into the secure registry page. I called the United tech support desk. Not only did they have no clue what their own registry was – they also were at a loss for how to fix it.

    Has anyone else had this problem and found a workaround? If not, is there any other approach I can take to use up the $200 with United within the next two weeks?

  4. ErikOJ: I sent the solicitation email to my wife’s email address and then had her add the $200 using my card. It worked.

  5. Can I ask a silly question: how does one purchase a $100 American Airlines gift certificate? Would that be on the American Airlines site or the AMEX site? And, just how is it done? Thanks

  6. If doing American buy four $50’s

    I tried a $200, it did not get reimbursed

    The $50s’s credited back within 24 hours

    I now have $400 in American gift cards only good for ticket purchases

    They can not be used for upgrade fees or anything else

    Unfortunate also have 200K in Citi Thank You points I need to burn by July or they devalue by 60%

    High class problem.

  7. Noob question:

    I got the Platinum card this year, and on my flight home for the holidays I have a long (domestic) layover in ATL. I’m not really familiar with the airport as I’ve been forced to fly (ugh) UA mostly in the past. It looks like all the good lounges are in the international terminal. Based on the map, it appears that passengers arrive on a separate level and would clear customs before leaving that level. This implies that it *should* be possible for me to head over to there on a domestic connection without having to reclear customs, but it’s not exactly clear based on the map. Anybody with better knowledge of the airport have suggestions?

    Thanks!

  8. @Paul,

    I tried sending it to my wife and to several friends. It doesn’t work regardless of who gets the message.

    Is there no other way to use up the $200? This is so frustrating!

  9. @ Rob in Florida, I’ve never been to ATL, but as far as I know, you’ll have no problem accessing the newest and best (so I’ve read) Delta SkyClub, which is located on Concourse B. So there’s no need for you to go to the Int’l Terminal, which is Concourse E. As long as you’re holding a same day ticket on a Delta flight, your Platinum card gets you complimentary access, although you might have to pay for a family member or friend — not sure what Delta policy is about this, but it should be spelled out somewhere.
    PS I wouldn’t call any question about navigating US airport terminals a “Noob” one: they are some of the most complex architectural mazes on the planet :-O

  10. @Rick, thanks for the tip. I won’t get guests (they charge $29), but on this one I’m headed back to see the family, so that won’t be a concern. I didn’t know that they opened a new one on B – I’d thought the guides I was reading were recent enough but I guess not! Looks like delta is constantly building/renovating lounges in ATL.

    Based on the pictures, it looks quite nice, and it’s a lot less of a hike from where my flights will be. Also, I imagine it’ll be pretty chilly there with the cold front sweeping through, so I’m not tempted to go all the way over to int’l just for the SkyDeck.

  11. Could I double up and get both AMEX Business and Personal Cards? Then say, down the road, I canceled one of the cards. Could the membership rewards be kept as long as I maintain one card eligible for Membership Rewards?

  12. @ Paul — Yep, you can get them both, and later if you cancel one you can still keep Amex points from both cards.

  13. I have a few family members who do not use the PRG $100 benefit for travel.
    Can I send each of them the link to my registry and have them send me $100 in January and then close the card at the end of January since that is why my 1 year is up, so I need to get the 2017 benefit in before closing out the accounts.

    Please advise

  14. Dumb question — does the transaction have to post AND get reimbursed prior by 12/31? Or does the purchase just need to post by 12/31? I’m looking at referring my wife today for the Biz Plat and requesting an expedited employee card in my name. That should get a card here before 12/31 to make the purchase…..and perhaps in time to get the reimbursement as well, but I’m wondering if the purchase posts, say, 12/30 and the credit posts 1/1 — is that her credit for 2017 or 2016? Essentially, is it the purchase date or credit date that counts….?

  15. I just purchased 2 $100 American airlines gift cards 2 days ago and dont see it posted yet as a reimbursement…Also the charge came threw as AA not as misc sale/tax….any ideas?

  16. My airline of choice is Delta. I purchased 2- $100 e gift cards. Transactions posted Dec 29 but I did not receive reimbursement. Can/ will it take a few days for reimbursement (today is Dec 30) or should I not expect a reimbursement from Delta for this? Is is the amount- should I have purchased 4-$50 gift cards? Any input would be great as I still have $200 credit to use for 2016. Thanks. DL in SF

  17. I bought 2 $100’a from aa.com, its been 2 days, and no reimbursement.
    The transactions show as “AMERICAN AIRLINES” with some numbers after it.

  18. Ben, thanks for putting out this info regarding AMEX platinum. With regards to the $200 airline credit; did you purchase virtual gift cards through American Airlines website or do you have to physically call-in/see a representative?

    -Dom

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