A New Year Of American Express Platinum Airline Fee Credits

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One of the few good things about the new year in our part of the world (given that most elite counters are reset) is that those of us with American Express Platinum cards get a new $200 airline fee credit.

Here are the American Express cards with annual airline fee credits:

You have to designate an airline for your annual fee credit, which can be done at americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. Once you log in it will give you the option to change your preferred airline. If you want to keep the same airline as last year, then you don’t need to do anything.

The terms and conditions state that airline fee credits exclude 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 three days later.


I had similar luck the year before, whereby the amounts were reimbursed within a few days.


The American Express forum on FlyerTalk has individual threads dedicated to reimbursement reports for each airline, including Alaska, American, Delta, 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.

Anyway, I just purchased two $100 American Airlines gift cards and will report back on whether they get reimbursed. For me, this nicely offsets the annual fee of the American Express Platinum Card, which I find to be incredibly valuable for all the benefits it comes with.

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  1. The reimbursement kicks in when you book an award ticket on Delta. The taxes are refunded. If you are Platinum or Diamond you can redeposit your award ticket after the AMEX reimbursement has hit and also get a refund of the taxes and miles. This makes it easy to get the $200 airline reimbursement in statement credit.

  2. It’s also a new cycle year for the Ritz Carlton Visa – $300 in travel credits, and you don’t have to specify an airline in advance – just call for a manual credit after the charges post

  3. Checked this out with AA, and found you can only use the GCs to buy a revenue ticket. Not to pay taxes on an award, or pay for lounge access, or just about anything other than buying a ticket. Since I don’t have business travel, and do all of my leisure flying on miles, this doesn’t work for me at all.

  4. @ Robert Hanson — Correct, though in practice you can often use the fee credit to also purchase lounge day passes, and some report smaller amounts of award taxes even being reimbursed. Very much a case of “your mileage may vary.”

  5. @ Audrey — The benefit of buying gift cards is that in many cases they’re reimbursed. So you buy $200 worth of gift cards and get back $200 of credits.

  6. The $200 applies to your Admiral’s Club membership fee (which is a valid charge for the reimbursement). So that dropped my AC renewal for EXP from $350 to $150. Since I still fly AA a lot – I still need an AC membership. Yes, I could get the AA credit card for $450 – but there is no longer a $200 credit.

    We you start adding in bonus reimbursements – like $5 for $30 of Shell gas, or $25 from Egghead for $250 purchase of an AA gift card, these bonuses continue to reduce the fee.

  7. Lucky,

    I just got the personal Amex Platinum card due to being offered 100K after 3K spend via Cardmatch. I read in the conditions that if I have another Amex card that I could not be eligible for the points. Would having an Amex corp card (the standard green ones for business expenses issued by my work) count against me? I haven’t had the Amex Platinum personally before.

    On a similar topic, I noticed a 50K offer for the Gold Premier Rewards card. I last had this card (and received redeemed the 50K offer) at least 3 years ago. If I get this one and meet the spend can I get the 50K points again?


  8. Lucky,
    Quick question the $200 Airline Credit using AA. Have you noticed any recent changes buying gift cards. I would like to buy $200 in 4 gift cards( $50+$50+$50+$50). Any strategy to get it done before the end of the year.

    Thanks and great blog.

  9. Does buying AA gift cards still get reimbursed for the AMEX Plat Biz? I tried to do the MileagePlusX thing with United, but that didn’t work for this particular card.

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