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TPG reader Louis sent me a message on Facebook to ask about getting into the Admiral’s Club:
“Can I use the airline fee credit on my Amex Platinum card to get into the American Airlines lounge in Chicago?”
There are a number of travel rewards cards that offer credits for airline incidentals. These can help you cover expenses like checked bag fees, in-flight purchases and even airfare itself in some cases. Each card has its own rules about which purchases are eligible, and airline incidentals tend to be non-refundable, so it’s important to know whether your benefits apply before you pay.
The Platinum Card from American Express offers an annual $200 airline fee credit, which goes a long way toward offsetting the annual fee. The benefit terms don’t specify which purchases are eligible to redeem the credit, but both lounge day passes and annual membership fees have qualified in practice.
Amex Platinum offers several other opportunities for lounge access, since you get Priority Pass Select access and complimentary admission to Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), in addition to the Amex Centurion Lounges. Unfortunately, there’s no Centurion Lounge in Chicago (though O’Hare would be a great addition to the network), and the two Priority Pass lounges at ORD only serve passengers flying internationally from Terminal 5. In those circumstances, an Admirals Club day pass is a decent option.
One thing to keep in mind is that you have to first select an airline before you redeem your airline fee credit, and you’ll only be reimbursed for qualifying purchases from that airline. If American is your carrier of choice, then you’ll get credit for passes to the Admirals Club (up to the $200 limit). You can change your selection at the start of each year, but if you’ve selected another airline for 2016, then charges from American won’t be eligible.
Finally, consider whether lounge access is worth the price of a day pass. Domestic lounges can be pretty underwhelming, but can still be a nice break from the terminal during a long layover. If you anticipate needing lounge access more than once in the near future, a 30-day membership is a better bet. American will discontinue these soon, but memberships purchased before July 24, 2016 will be honored for the normal duration.
For more on Amex Platinum benefits and Admirals Club lounges, check out these posts:
- How to Take Full Advantage of Credit Card Benefits in 2016
- A Week in the Admirals Club — Chicago O’Hare
- Redeem Amex Airline Fee Credits for Amazon Gift Cards
While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
- Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
- As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
- Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
- No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
- Terms and Conditions apply.
- See Rates & Fees