Are In-Cabin Pet Fees Waived for Elites?
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TPG reader Mike will be traveling with his dog over the holidays and wants to avoid the in-cabin pet fee:
"I'm flying from LaGuardia to Dallas/Fort-Worth on American Airlines for Christmas with my dog, Edie, and she's going to be in the cabin. Do elite members get the pet fee waived? I'm Gold on American so I thought it might be a tiered benefit if it exists. Also, will the Platinum Card from American Express airline rebate cover the fee? The fee is $125 each way."
Mike wants to know, since he is an elite member with American, if that $125 fee each way for having an in-cabin pet will be waived, and unfortunately it will not. I have paid that fee numerous times and I am an Executive Platinum member and they sure didn’t waive it for me!
However, as he mentioned, if you do have the Platinum Card from American Express then you can select American Airlines as your rebate partner and receive up to $200 a year in statement credits when incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline that you enrolled. That pet fee should then get rebated, but just make sure that you select AA beforehand. If you are paying out of pocket, I recommend paying for that fee with your Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, so you get 3x points per $1 as this does show up as an airfare charge.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred also gets you 2.14x points per $1 on every dollar spent on airfare, so if you are going to get hit by this fee, you might as well try and maximize your points earning, and if you do have to spend anything then you should maximize that purchase. The card earns 2 points per $1 spent on travel, including airfare – and that actually ends up being 2.14 points per dollar once you factor in the 7% annual points dividend.
Another option it the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard because if you use it to pay for incidental airline fees - such as the pet charge - then you can redeem your miles for those fees once they hit your statement at a rate of 1 cent per miles and remember, you get a 10% miles refund on travel redemptions with the card.
So safe travels with your dog and I hope that helped!
For more details on traveling with a pet, check out experiences with Miles: