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Maximizing the Amex Platinum $200 Airline Fee Credit

by on December 6, 2011 · 100 comments

in American Express

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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Platinum Card from American Express has expired. View the current offer here.

To ease the sting of Continental leaving Membership Rewards, American Express added a bunch of benefits to the Platinum card this year, including a $200 yearly airline fee credit on your airline of choice. If you are a Platinum cardholder and haven’t already selected your airline, you can sign up here.

There is a link for a 50,000 point sign-up bonus circulating the internet, but I’ve been told that offer is targeted. If you do decide to go that route (here is the link), make sure to take lots of screen shots in case you need to prove you applied for that offer. If anyone has any recent experience applying for the 50k offer, please comment below.

This benefit is for all Platinum card members and runs on a calendar year – so if you don’t use it all by December 31, you lose it. So this means that if you got a Platinum card now- you’d get $200 until December 31 and then another $200 on January 1. Those $400 in credits basically pay for the first year annual fee of $450. Also, if you ever decide the Platinum card isn’t the right choice for you, you can always downgrade to a lower/no fee card or cancel and Amex will refund prorated your annual fee.

The fee credit is automatic- as long as you purchase any of the following items directly from an airline, the charge should get automatically rebated from your statement.

Approved items:
Checked baggage fees
Overweight/oversize baggage fees
Change fees
Phone reservation fees
Pet flight fees
Airport lounge day passes and annual memberships
Seat assignment fees
In-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, etc)
In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet)

This credit is not applicable for the following charges:
Airline tickets
Charges processed by merchants other than the airline the Cardmember is enrolled in (for example, inflight Internet services providers such as GoGo)
Charges made by airline partners (for example, Cardmember purchase ticket on enrolled airline Delta, but purchases food on an Air France flight)
Trip insurance / baggage insurance
Ticket upgrades (Including American Airlines Upgrade Stickers)
Travel agent fees
Point transfer fees
Duty free purchase
Award ticket fees
Gift cards issued by Airlines

There seems to be a ton anecdotal evidence on Flyertalk, however, that people have in fact been able to use their $200 reimbursement to purchase airline tickets, upgrades, and even elite status through a variety of methods that have to do with the amount a ticket or airline voucher costs in addition to the way it is coded on their credit card bill.

It seems as though, if the charge is quoted as “Travel – Airline,” that the chance of reimbursement is pretty slim. The operative factors here seem to be both the way a ticket is charged, or the amount of money spent on a fare, as well as a variety of sidestepping methods that include purchasing airline vouchers (usually at the $100 mark or under) that can then be used pretty much for any expense on the airline, including tickets.

Here are some examples from the Flyertalk thread – note: none of this means it will work for you so proceed with caution.

Buy a Cheap Ticket

Back in February, one flyer who had selected US Airways as his carrier was reimbursed for cheap one-way tickets on the airline–something about the fare code or price level triggered the Amex system to credit him. Another flyer, this time on US Airways, had two tickets reimbursed, one for $65 and another for $135 that came up on his statement as “Travel-Airline,” and suspects that it’s because the tickets were under a certain price threshold. That seems to be backed up by a Delta flyer who had a $99.70 ticket charge refunded. The same story with another person who purchased six one-way tickets on Continental from SFO-LAS under a single record locator and was reimbursed $200 from the total amount.

Combination Payments

Another way that seems to confuse the system is to pay for a ticket using a combination of accounts–namely e-vouchers or credits and then your Amex card for the remainder. One person was issued a compensation e-voucher on American Airlines for a delayed flight, and used it to purchase part of another ticket on the airline, then used their Amex Platinum to pay for the difference, and when the statement came, that balance had been refunded as part of the $200 credit. This same passenger also booked four one-way award tickets on AA and paid the taxes and fees using his Amex Platinum, and when the statement came, these too had been refunded. And a flyer on Delta used vouchers to purchase tickets and paid the difference between voucher value and ticket price (about $94 per ticket) using the Amex, which then reimbursed him for the $94 on each ticket. And another example of someone who purchased an $80 one-way fare on Delta.com that was reimbursed as well.

Vouchers

One way many Amex Platinum customers seem to be finding success at reimbursement is to purchase small-amount airline vouchers. Though one AA flyer didn’t get reimbursed for a $200 travel certificate he bought on AA.com,  another who purchased four $50 certificates was reimbursed immediately, and he could use them to purchase airline tickets, so a lot of people conjecture that the amount of each purchase has a lot to do with whether the reimbursement goes through. This seems to be the method of choice–quite a few people reported being reimbursed for buying several $50 airline certificates, and for a couple, it has worked with two $100 gift cards. On Continental, a $25 gift card and a $75 gift card were reimbursed, but not one over $100, and on Alaska, a $50 gift voucher was also reimbursed. The key seems to be purchasing gift vouchers of under $100, and of just $50 each to be safe.

Lounges and Elite Status

One person got $200 their Alaska Boardroom annual lounge membership reimbursed after a series of emails and calls, though most of the posters seem to find that annual membership fees are not reimbursed. And if elite status interests you, one person reports charging the $200 US Airways Trial Preferred, where you are pre-granted elite status while you complete a trial challenge period, and being reimbursed without incident.

Upgrades

Another person purchased discount economy tickets on United, then used 15,000 miles and $50 in cash each way to upgrade to first class, and both $50 charges were credited back by Amex within 24 hours of his check-in, when the charges were originally incurred. Similarly, one person flying on Delta used SkyMiles to book tickets to Paris, and paid $176 in taxes, which were reimbursed on his statement by Amex. These upgrade fees and award tickets charges are part of what is supposed to be reimbursed, but that’s not always the case. If you have any problem with your reimbursement on such charges, be sure to call in to Amex and complain.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

So, in the early part you say that lounge memberships are covered, but later you say that people are not getting it refunded? My strategy was to use the credit in January towards my Skyclub membership and then cancel the card (it comes due end of January). How can I find out if they will refund that? I will NOT buy the membership if they don’t refund that $200. Thanks.

Matt Adams December 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Should note that the corporate platinum card does not include the airline credit.

Hesslers December 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I purchased 10 Delta lounge passes in November. They have a sale right now 5 passes for $99. Delta charged it in two transactions of $99 each and two days later AMEX posted two $99 credits.

Klrsmith December 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I’ve purchased a couple of “at kiosk” upgrades on American flights over the last couple of months, and those were quickly reimbursed by Amex up to the $200 limit.

joediver December 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Bought CO Gift Certificates on both Personal Plat and Business Plat with instant gratification!

deltaGOLDflyer December 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I did 2 SW Air $100 gift cards no problem!

Rob December 6, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Do you have a link to this? Thanks!

Rebecca December 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Once you enroll an airline can you switch it mid-year? Can I toggle enrollment between US Air and American depending on what I am flying?

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Nope- one selection per year

Eddie December 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I inquired about the $150 ticket change fee (US Air) and Amex said that would be covered. Is this courtesy, or standard?

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm
obsidian December 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Is it $200 per account or $200 per card holder?

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I’ve been told that’s not a public offer and that 50k is targeted so I’d be very careful banking on those points. I’ll add it to the post with that disclaimer- if you apply take lots of screen shots and be prepared to fight (which isn’t easy with Amex these days)

Hesslers December 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm

As I understand it, this is a special that you can buy only when you visit a Skyclub and they are selling them until Dec 31st if memory serves me correctly.

JF December 6, 2011 at 6:23 pm

So, how does the fee work? I pay it up front and then it comes again in 1 year or is it on a calendar basis? Let’s say I got the PRG and am going to do try to do the 50k MR upgrade bonus, wouldn’t it be better to do this in December and get the bonus points and I would get 2 $200 credits, for a total of $400 on my 1 year of membership?

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm

First off, the PRG (Premier Rewards Gold) does not have the $200 airline credit- only Platinum.

And you pay the $450 up front but if you were to cancel the card in 6 months you’d get half of that back. They bill based on when you open the card- not calendar year

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Account. if you have 4 additional cardholders,all of you get a total of $200

JF December 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I know the PRG doesn’t have that, that’s why I said I do the upgrade bonus… http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/50-000-mr-points-for-upgrade-from-pr-gold-to-platinum.21092/

Get Gowing December 6, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I’ve had the taxes/fees of a Delta award ticket be reimbursed. That combines nicely with being a PM or DM. :-)

Jim December 6, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Just got approved for the 50k offer, but didn’t realize it was targeted for first-time AmEx holders! Is there anyone in a similar situation who has spoken to AmEx about this? I was also wondering if there’s any chance to receive another bonus ID that would provide perhaps 25k points if I’m ineligible for the 50k offer.

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Looks like it says you have to be a new AmEx cardholder. Not sure if that means the Platinum card or any card. I may give it a shot since I’ve never had the card and have been considering it for some time for the lounge access, TripIt and trusted traveler.

Flyer Fun December 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I had a $600 upgrade fee on Continental. I called and the agent agreed to credit the $200 towards that fee.

Naotkxx December 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm

HI.
I know this card is first time AMEX holders. I have SPG, GOLD, Hilton card from Amex and I would like to apply for this card as well. Jim said he got approved for 50k. I am just afraid i won’t get 50 k since i am not new member for amex. do other people who already have amex cards also get approved for this 50k promotion?

Wingtipwalker December 6, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I just got the 50,000 bonus when I upgraded from a green card. I called to just upgrade to PRGold, but they offered me the Platinum with 50k.

One variance, my CS agent said the $200 airline fee followed a membership year, not a calendar year which is different from what you said above. Has anyone else verified this?

I may keep the Plat or I may downgrade to PRGold in a few months. The agent told me to wait 6 months to ensure they don’t take my points away.

Drstickel December 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I’m also curious about this. It’s listed in the post as covered for annual memberships, but then it says flyer talk people aren’t getting it reimbursed?

DannyB December 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Is there an offer code for the 50k offer? Given TPG’s tip that it may be target, I would feel better about calling with an offer ID and having a rep confirm the offer on the recorded line in case I need to fight for the points.

Anonymous December 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm

FWIW, I spoke with an Amex Platinum CSR about the possibility of switching my previous choice of airline (UA), and the CSR said as long as I had not used any of the $200 credit, Amex would allow it. Of course, YMMV.

I ultimately decided to stick with UA and purchased one $200 gift certificate, and Amex reimbursed me. The reason I went with one $200 certificate (as opposed to 4 X $50 certificates) is that the T&C states “Only one Gift Certificate may be used per transaction for the purchase of airline tickets.” I didn’t want to limit myself to a $50 credit/airline ticket.

Tcmaes December 7, 2011 at 12:06 am

I originally did the same, but I just checked my transaction history. It looks as if AMEX refunded me originally, but took back that refund now. You may want to check your records.

JD December 7, 2011 at 1:02 am

I currently have the Gold Card, Business Gold Card, SPG, HH, and DL cards. The requirement is that you are a first time PLATINUM AMEX cardholder, not that you are a first time AMEX cardholder. Received the 50K bonus without a problem. Was also told by CRS that this is NOT a targeted offer and is valid through 12/31/11.

HousboatLI December 7, 2011 at 1:05 am

Hi, TPG,

I have a very elementary question… How do you take a “screen shot”??? It sounds like a great idea to keep a record of transactions and terms of offers…, but I’m not very techno savvy, so I have no idea how to do this. I have an apple computer, if that makes any difference. Can someone give me some quick instructions?

Thanks so much!

Naotkxx December 7, 2011 at 1:42 am

Thanks. I will apply for that card for sure.

deltaGOLDflyer December 7, 2011 at 2:27 am

Nope account closed so no can do (that is they can not do) ;-)

Jeff December 7, 2011 at 2:47 am

I just did a $200 Continental online gift cert — was credited automatically and consistent with the experience I saw here

http://milecards.com/2930/how-to-use-your-200-amex-platinum-airline-credit-by-1231-or-lose-it/

dracs December 7, 2011 at 3:08 am

command+shift+3 , it will save the screenshot on desktop

hi December 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Does this $200 have to be USED this calendar year or can I put it towards a seat upgrade for an upcoming flight next year?

Matt December 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I just signed up for this card yesterday! Should have it within 7 days, so I’m hoping to find some goodies to make the most of the $200 credit before the end of 2011.

Now here’s my main question … we have to pick an airline? What’s the best strategy for that? Being in MSP, Delta is my main airline for work travel. But I fly United (and sometimes American) a lot for personal travel due to cost or reward availability.

infomofo December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I recently bought some MQMs on the latest delta promo, and I had about 150 dollars of credit left. I called my plat number and they said they could credit me the 150 towards that purchase!

Matt December 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I almost answered my own question when I realized that United has a club at MSP (in Terminal 1 with my Delta flights, no less) which would make Delta the best all-around choice for benefits usage. But now I see that United and Delta, unlike some other airlines, do not seem to sell gift cards to make easy use of the $200. Choices, choices.

Troy December 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I believe award ticket fees ARE covered. I booked 2 flight s from TPA – ZRH with SkyMiles and was refunded $200 of the fee. Image attached.

Troy December 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I believe award ticket fees ARE covered. I booked 2 flight s from TPA – ZRH with SkyMiles and was refunded $200 of the fee. Image attached.

GarthGavenda December 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Has anyone bought/used Delta gift certificates with the card? It sounds like they can only be purchased/used at a ticket counter.

Speedw December 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I purchased two $100 gift certificates on American and received my refund within 3 days

joediver December 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Just buy Continental Gift Certificates. You can use those at the United Club

Martin December 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Does anyone know if the Amex Aeroplan platinum card qualifies for this offer?

Anonymous December 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Correct- just use it this year. They don’t know/care how you use whatever you buy

Naotkxx December 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thanks. I just got approved and will be waiting for the card.

GGG December 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Link to AmEx works. Received confirmation with 50,000 Membership Award bonus offer included.

Pickaroonwyo December 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Has anyone purchased a Amex gift card at Delta Marketplace for miles and points? (i.e. $100 for 1500 skymiles and $99.49 on Amex plat)

lsb286 December 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

When purchasing “vouchers” for AA, is that the same thing as the gift cards they sell. I know it seems like a stupid question, but I specifically searched for AA vouchers since that is the semantics utilized in the blog post but I can only find gift cards on AA.com

Napolehon December 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I picked UA and dont have any flights planned. They dont sell any gift certificates so is there any way i can use up the $180 left in the reimbursement for this year? Thanks!

Brad December 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

TPG–question for you- I have never applied for a Amex Platinum but do have other Amex accounts. It states membership rewards for 1st time card members only. I know that others have stated that is just for Platinum but can you very the validity?

Nap December 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I believe that buying US air mile will not be covered. is it true? did anyone try this?

Ddcoffeelady December 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

I did get targeted for the AM Ex Platinum upgrade from Gold Premier – 50000 bonus Membership Rewards points have already been credited to my account and I have not even gotten the card yet! Supposed to be coming today to use for travel on Saturday.

Patti December 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm

HELP did you buy a United gift certificate? I cannot find a way to do so – and hoping if I buy Contintental that it will work with UA

Hoglard1 December 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I bought the $200 gift certificate on the CO website. I’m counting on it being honored when CO and UA merge.

Patti December 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm

but did you get reimbursed on your paltinum card ? did they credit you $200 already?

Alan December 31, 2011 at 8:09 am

Hi TPG, I activated my AMEX Plat card on 12/28, firstly purchased 4*50 bucks AA gift card. Then I registered AA as my airline. Two questions on these: 1. Does the sequence of registering preferred airline matter? 2. Since my transactions are within 2011 if AMEX credit me back at some time point in early Jan 2012, can I still have their reimbursement for the 2012 200 bucks? Thanks a lot.

Ddcoffeelady January 3, 2012 at 9:55 am

Got the Am Ex Platinum and purchased USAIR gift card. Today the cost was refunded to my Am Ex account.
Just wish I had charged the full $200! Love the card and the service Am Ex provides.

Anonymous January 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

Yes I got reimbursed all $200 three days after I purchased on my Amex Plat card.

WindowSeat January 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Has anyone ever received reimbursement for Southwest vouchers?

Wingtipwalker January 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I’m considering using

Wingtipwalker January 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I’m considering signing up for an AA Platinum Challenge because I am going to be traveling a lot to start the year. Has anyone had the fee for the challenge reimbursed by AMEX?

Jon5kshp April 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Just upgraded from Premier rewards gold to Platinum… got 25K in points for upgrading(posted within 2 days of upgrading) ((once points post they do not take them away)… I then registered for the new Continetnal/United and then purchased 200 dollars in gift cards. I AM PRAYING they credit me the 200 dollars for the United Gift Cards… Once i see the credit i am going back down to the Premier rewards gold card level….

How i see it…
450 annual fee is 37.50 a month
i already got my 25K points
and i hope to get my 200 credit in the next 1-3 weeks

once i get my airline credit i will close the card and go back to premier rewards gold level…. they will prorate the whole 450 back minus the 37.50 and i will get a big gain on this transaction….

My estimated gain
25000 points = a round trip flight on continental united in continental 48 stats… flights usually 250-500 dollars right there
plus i get the 200 dollar in gift certificates

all for 1 months fee prorated of the 450 or 37.50

i plan on this benefiting me value wise over 500 dollars.

Kachranumber1 May 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm

The airline credit is for domestic airlines only ! ..Could not select an International Airline.

Kris May 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Does upgrade to economy plus come under “Seat assignment fees”?

Max September 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Ohhhhh…but they do. It’s a great plan, but your error is the belief that AMEX does not remove points. Your 25k would, if you seriously did this, be removed from your points balance by American Express.

MiamiMike2 October 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I used it for the $140 AA Gold Challenge and was not reimbursed, but have yet to call and try.

Mountain Man November 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Yes!

Matt MSP December 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Bummer. After success in 2011 using the statement credit for 2x $100 Southwest gift cards, no luck in 2012.

Derrick -Lex- December 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

Here is a good question which I think TPG explained but I just want to confirm. Looks like my Platinum card is to be delivered 12/31 does that mean I can take advantage of the credit by say ordering some gift cards which have proved to work for many and still get another $200 on Jan 1st to use? That would be sweet to make up for one year of the annual fee.

Also is annual fee waived for first year like my gold card?

Does Plat card take over Gold so I’m not paying annual fees on the gold when I will only use the Plat or must I cancel Gold?

Great site BTW learned so much

credit card processing February 6, 2013 at 11:35 pm

It’s a great plan, but your error is the belief that AMEX does not remove points. Your 25k would, if you seriously did this, be removed from your points balance by American Express.

Elizabeth August 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

If a second user is added to this card (I think for 175 annually), does that user also get lounge access and 200 dollars credit?

Eric September 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

They don’t get another 200$ airline credit. They do however get the airline lounge access mentioned above & they do get Priority pass (they have to speak to Amex and request it I believe).

-Eric

holly holst October 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I have an Amex Platinum Delta SkyMiles card. Does my card qualify for the yearly $200 credit?

thepointsguy October 9, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Nope

Economiler November 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm

SWEET! So happy I stumbled upon this! I’ve been sitting with this targeted offer of 100k miles for this card after 10k spend if I was approved by November 30, but knew I would have to work to hit it and didn’t want to pay the $500 up front. (I know, it seems silly given the value of the points…). I have some work to do, but was just approved. Thanks so much!

Carl January 1, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Like most folks, kind of ticked to hear that Admirals Clubs will be off limits now to Amex Platinum card holders. If I buy an Admirals Club membership on the Platinum card, can I use the $200 annual airline credit towards the balance? Thanks

osuwillis April 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Can anyone advise if I purchase UNITED gift certificates from UNITED if these will qualify for the AMEX “$200 Airline Fee Credit”?? I am not aware that you can buy actual UNITED “gift cards” anywhere. In talking directly with AMEX, they gave me the impression that a UNITED gift certificate would show up as a “ticket purchase” and thus not qualify for the “$200 Airline Fee Credit”. Has anyone been successful in purchasing UNITED gift certificates and then getting it reimbursed by AMEX under the “$200 Airline Fee Credit”????

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