Amex Platinum Cardholders Update Your $200 Airline Credit Choice By January 31
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
The Mercedes-Benz Platinum, American Express Platinum Card, and Business Platinum all have many valuable benefits, which I’ve outlined before, including the $200 annual airline fee credit, that all help make that $450 annual fee worth it in my opinion. Hopefully a lot of you got in on the recent one-day 100,000-point sign-up bonus offer (when you spend $3,000 in 3 months) on the card because I don't think anything like it is coming back soon, but everyone should keep an eye out for targeted offers. Even at 25,000 points for a sign-up bonus, though, the benefits of this card can really pay off, especially since I value 25,000 Amex points at $450 off the bat (1.8 cents a piece), but you get way more than just points with this card.
To take advantage of the $200 airline credit, you have to designate which airline you want to use it on, and if you would like to choose a different airline for 2013 than in previous years, you only have from now through January 31st to do so. If you do not make any changes during the period in which Amex will allow cardholders to change their airline from last year, your credit will automatically be for the same airline.
What can you use the $200 for? Technically, you're not supposed to get credit for airline vouchers, but a lot of cardholders report getting statement credits for them when they buy in small increments like $100 or $50 each. I decided to test this out for myself and since American Airlines is my designated airline, I purchased both a $100 flight voucher and a $50 flight voucher to see if either or both would trigger an automatic statement credit.
I checked my Amex Platinum statement a couple days later, and sure enough both vouchers were reimbursed - so this could be a good way for folks to put that credit towards airfare as long as you don't mind dealing with the extra layer of having to use a voucher.
There are multiple reports on Flyertalk that gift cards purchased for Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have been reimbursed by Amex. There are also reports that with Delta, if you apply any sort of travel voucher to a reservation, then pay for the rest of your ticket, it shows up as an additional collection rather than a ticket charge, resulting in the remaining balance of the ticket being reimbursed as well.
Read through the 70+ comments on my post last year to see examples of TPG readers who have had success doing the same. Flyertalk is also a great resource and has a thread for Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United, and US Airways on specific examples and if they have been credited. Please also share your experience getting refunded in the comments section to help people think about different ways they can maximize the value of this benefit.
Apart from that, officially the approved items are:
- 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 officially 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
Allow 2-4 weeks after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your card account for statement credit to be posted to the account (but typically in my experience it has been less than that). American Express relies on airlines to submit the correct information on airline transactions, so call the number on the back of the card if statement credits have not posted after 4 weeks from the date of purchase, and they will manually adjust it.
Update: Beginning March 22, 2014, American Express Card Members will no longer have access to American Airlines Admiral Club and US Airways Club airport lounges through Airport Club Access / Airport Lounge Program. This means that Card Members will no longer be able to gain complimentary access to the American Airlines airport lounges (known as Admirals Club lounges) or the US Airways Club airport lounges as a benefit of their Platinum Card Membership. Cardmembers will continue to receive access to participating Delta Sky Club lounges, Priority Pass Select (enrollment is required), and Airspace lounges in JFK, CLE and BWI airports.
Even if you're not planning to use the card for airline vouchers, that credit really takes a big chunk out of expenses like lounge membership (although you get access to American, Delta and US Airways clubs just for carrying the card) or checked baggage fees, and it includes a host of other value-added perks like a $100 reimbursement for Global Entry as well as great purchase protections. It also doesn't carry any foreign transaction fees, and now that you can get it with a SmartChip it makes it an even better choice to carry abroad.