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While the new year can be depressing for those of us into miles & points, the good news is that it also means a new year of American Express airline fee credits, as those reset on January 1. Based on my card portfolio, it’s an opportunity to get hundreds of dollars of travel.
Which Amex cards come with airline fee credits?
The following cards offer airline fee credits, in the following increments (they’re offered per calendar year, regardless of what your cardmember year looks like):
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — $200 annual airline fee credit
- The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN — $200 annual airline fee credit
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — $100 annual airline fee credit
What can the Amex airline fee credit be used for?
Per the terms, the annual airline credit can be used for airline purchases, excluding 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 a couple of days later.
The American Express forum on FlyerTalk has individual threads dedicated to reimbursement reports for each airline, including Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, 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.
Personally I just purchased American Airlines gift cards for all three cards totaling $500 (in increments of $50 and $100), and will report back as to whether they reimburse. The key seems to be to purchase them in smaller increments, so not $200+ at a time, for example.
How to register for your Amex airline fee credit
Your airline purchase should be automatically reimbursed when charged to an eligible card, assuming you’ve designated an airline for this benefit. Each year you have to designate an airline for your airline fee credit, which can be done at americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. You can change your designated airline once per year.
If you already designated an airline last year, that will be the default one this year, so if you want to keep it you don’t have to do anything. But if you haven’t designated an airline in the past or want to change your selection, you’ll want to go to the above link to edit it.
Here are the airlines you can choose from:
Keep in mind that for The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, the airline you choose is the same one for which you’ll get 50% off when redeeming points with the “Pay With Points” feature, which I consider to be one of the best card benefits. So you’ll want to choose your airline carefully.
While I hate when the year “resets” in terms of elite status, I do love picking up new annual airline fee credits thanks to the Amex credit cards I have. If you have any of the above Amex cards, you can go ahead and maximize the benefits whenever, just make sure you designate an airline for the benefit.
Is anyone else already redeeming their 2017 credit card airline credits?