It’s Not Too Late To Get Your 2017 Amex Airline Fee Credits

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There are a lot of things to keep in mind as the end of the year is approaching, and one of those is that the annual airline fee credit on your American Express cards will be expiring soon, given that they’re awarded on a calendar year basis. If you have one of the cards you’ll want to use the credit ASAP. If you don’t yet have one or all of these cards, it’s not too late to apply and still receive a credit for 2017, which will get you a huge return in a short period of time.

Here’s what you need to know about these benefits:

Amex cards offering an airline fee credit

There are three especially popular Amex cards that offer an annual airline fee credit:

All three of these cards are fantastic, and have their own perks that make them worthwhile.

How the Amex airline fee credit works

With the airline fee credit, you first need to designate an airline with which you want to receive the benefit, and then make an eligible purchase. Per the terms, the airline fee credit can only be applied towards airline fees (as the name suggests), which excludes 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, just a couple of weeks ago Ford 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 AlaskaAmericanDeltaHawaiianJetBlueSouthwest, 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. Your experience may vary, of course.

I’ve never had issues using these fee credits for gift card purchases in small increments, so personally I value this perk pretty close to face value. I get $200 worth of American Airlines gift cards per year, so they’re worth just about that much to me.

But before you make any purchase, you’ll need to designate an airline for which you want to receive 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, and anecdotally that choice is active as soon as you make it, so there’s no lag.

amex-fee-credit

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.

amex-airline-fee-credit

Here are the airlines you can choose from:

amex-credit

Why you might want to apply for an Amex card soon

Not only is this useful if you’re an existing cardmember, but the end of the year approaching means that you can also potentially apply for the Amex Personal Platinum CardAmex Business Platinum Card, or Premier Rewards Gold Card, and earn two fee credits in a pretty short period. That’s  because the annual airline fee credit is awarded based on the calendar year rather than the cardmember year. This means you get an airline fee credit every January 1 through December 31, regardless of when your cardmember year is.

What this means is that if you applied for the Amex Personal Platinum Card now, you’d get a $200 airline fee credit that you can use through December 31, and then another $200 airline fee credit to use as of January 1. Within three weeks you’d potentially have $400 worth of airline credits.

A lot of people are looking to minimize their “out of pocket” with new cards, and this is a nice way to do so, since you’ll get $400 of value back within the next few months, not even factoring in the $200 annual Uber credit offered on the personal card (which is on a rolling basis, since you get a $15 credit each month, and a $35 credit in December).

Just to give a few examples of how the math works out here:

  • The Amex Personal Platinum Card has a $550 annual fee, but you’ll get back a $200 airline credit almost immediately, another one as of January 1, and a $200 ongoing Uber credit, meaning by the time your second year’s annual fee is due, you’ll already have received $600 of “value” in that way, not factoring in all the other great perks offered by the card, including the huge sign-up bonus, lounge access, etc.
  • The Amex Business Platinum Card has a $450 annual fee, but you’ll get back a $200 airline credit almost immediately, and another one as of January, so by the time the second year’s annual fee is due you’ll already have received $400 of “value” through the airline credits alone, meaning your out of pocket is really ~$50 for all the great perks you’re getting
  • The Premier Rewards Gold Card has a waived annual fee for the first year, but you’ll get back a $100 airline credit almost immediately, and another one as of January, so by the time you pay your first annual fee you’ll be up $200


The Amex Platinum Card also offers Centurion Lounge access

Bottom line

If you have an American Express card with an airline fee credit, be sure you’ve used your 2017 credit, as the clock is ticking. If you don’t yet have one of these cards and are looking to get as good of a return as soon as possible, applying towards the end of the calendar year is the ideal time to do so, in order to maximize your airline fee credits. With just over two weeks left in the year, I figured this was worth a reminder.

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Comments

  1. looks like can’t buy United travelbank vouchers (under process – available early 2018) :(… any thoughts on how to use AMEX gold credits left on United?

  2. Lucky,
    Any ideas why only three (3) travel credit partners overlap with the point transfer partners (Delta, Hawaiian & JetBlue?

  3. It worked for me , I got a AA gift card for $ 200 on 5th Dec ’17 and it got reimbursed on 8th Dec ’17 .

    Dec 05
    AMERICAN AIRLINES TX
    $200.00

    DEC8
    AMEX Airline Fee Reimbursement
    -$200.00

  4. Used this for Delta ecerts and worked like a charm. I’ve also had Delta SkyClub fees covered in the past when I travel with my girlfriend and pay for her entry.

  5. The benefit terms on the Amex web site clearly states that gift cards do not qualify for the $200 statement credit.
    Is the positive reply from Kris on this thread have a statement photo? Could be a Amex generated robo

  6. Purchased two $100 Delta gift cards on October 5 using AMEX Platinum. I was not credited. In early December I phoned AMEX to ask when I may expect reimbursement. I was informed that Delta does not inform AMEX that this is a covered incidental expense and so AMEX will not reimburse me.

  7. Any ideas for Alaska? I buy FC tickets and am 75K, so no baggage fees. I will change my airline in January, didn’t realize what a pain it would be.

  8. I’ve tried several AA gift cards this year and did not get reimbursed. It did work last year.

    I’ll probbalt be switching to Delta next year and trying out the $50 gift cards there.

  9. Got reimbursed for the $25 united.com club fee which gives you $5 in your travel bank for each ticket purchased.

  10. Having the same issue – purchased several $50 cards back in August, and the credits applied within a couple of days. Purchased a $100 card a couple of days ago on a new MB Plat, but have not received the credit. Hoping it gets sorted.

    Just chatted with a rep, and he seemed to think that it would not be an issue, but said the timeframe is actually 2-4 weeks, and to check back after 14 days and they could apply it manually.

    Since we are at the end of the year, I also asked about it being an issue with the credit being applied or the original charge date, and he said that it was when the charge was made. It’s a chat rep, and the credit isn’t there, but it’s better than nothing. 🙂

  11. I had a cheap B6 fare back in October. I upgraded to EML seats thinking the fees and that add on would be reimbursed, but was very pleasantly surprised to see the entire itinerary was reimbursed. It came out to $198 total. So I am not sure how their policy works with JetBlue…

  12. Is there a way to go to look at my account online to see how much of my credit is worth, or do I have to call Amex to find out?

  13. Scott – log onto your Amex account, click on MEMBERSHIP, then BENEFITS, then scroll down to the airline credit. It should show what you have used.

  14. Purchase $100 DL eGift card in Nov on AMEX Gold. Still no reimbursement to date.

    The $35 seat upgrade back in May was credited in 3 days. So it seems to be hit or miss on the Gift Cards.

  15. And just like that, my credit came through. Bought two $50 AA gift cards in a single transaction (so $100 total) on December 11, credit issued today (December 15). Make sure you choose your airline first, but it seems to be working. This was on the MB Platinum.

  16. tucsonbabe wrote:

    > Don’t purchase $100 Delta gift cards. Keep it to $50 on four differ days and you will be fine.

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll give that a try.

  17. When folks call the reps, do they ask what the charge was for? Or ask any details around the transaction? Thanks!

  18. PJ wrote:on December 17, 2017:

    > When folks call the reps, do they ask what the charge was for? Or ask any details around the
    > transaction?

    When I phoned AMEX the rep. said she needed to look into it while I remained on the line. She came back to say the reason why I was not reimbursed was that it was caused by Delta recorded the sale of the $100 gift card. She then attempted to find another way for me to use the airline credit w.o. success.

  19. I received additional info. from AMEX that the Platinum airline benefit of $200 is “only for incidentals purchased when traveling” and so my recently purchased Delta $50 gift card will not be reimbursed. It would seem that the $200 benefit is almost worthless if you fly Business or Premium Economy with Delta as there is just about nothing of value to use the benefit to pay for.

  20. Sorry to inform you that your post is incorrect. There is NO $100 reimbursement whatsoever on the Premium Rewards Gold card. I have just been approved for one and could not find any information about it on any paperwork that came with the card or on their website. I contacted Amex and the representative informed me that only the Platinum has a $250 reimbursement, there is no travel fee reimbursement of any dollar amount with the Gold card. Perhaps there was one in the past, but there isn’t any now. Please update your post accordingly so your followers won’t be disappointed.

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