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Success Using the 2017 Amex Airline Fee Credit on United!

Jan. 06, 2017
5 min read
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It's that time of year when many of us with premium rewards credit cards put their annual airline and travel credits to prompt use. We already used my husband's Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 travel credit for the year on some hotel stays in Austin last week, and now it is time to use the annual airline fee credits available via some Amex cards. I like to use the annual credits quickly in the year so that I don't forget, and so that some of the occasional "off label" uses of the credits don't die on me before I can use them myself.

$200 Annual Airline Fee Credits via Amex Platinum Cards

The Platinum Card® from American Express

and the The Business Platinum Card comes with $200 in annual airline fee credits.

$100 Annual Airline Fee Credit via Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card

The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card also offers a $100 annual airline fee credit that operates much like the Platinum $200 credit, just at half of the amount.

Selecting Your Annual Amex Fee Credit Airline

With these cards you get the opportunity to change your airline of choice in January for the year. If you don't change it will default into what you had last year.

Remember the best airline choice isn’t necessarily the airline that you fly the most and/or have elite status on. The best choice may be less obvious. For example, you may already have free checked bags and waived fees on your usual airline due to elite status or a co-branded credit card, but not on your secondary airline.

For the last several years our selected airline has been United, and I had no reasons to change that this year. Before I get into what I used my credit for with United, here is a refresher on the published eligible and ineligible charges.

Official Uses of the Amex Annual Airline Fee Credits

Eligible Charges:

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– checked baggage fees
– overweight / oversize baggage fees
– change fees
– phone reservation fees
– pet flight fees
– airport lounge day passes & annual memberships
– seat assignment fees
– in-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, etc)
– in-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet)

“Ineligible” Charges include:

– airline tickets
– charges processed by merchants other than the airline you are enrolled in (for example, inflight Internet services providers such as GoGo)
– charges made by airline partners (for example, you purchase tickets 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

Some good and recent information about what purchases are getting reimbursed with various airlines will come from the linked Flyertalk threads below. You may be surprised at some of the things that have been reimbursed with some airlines, as what happens in reality isn’t always 100% what is written in print.

American Airlines Thread
Alaska Airlines Thread
JetBlue Thread
Delta Thread
Hawaiian Airlines Thread
United Thread
Southwest Thread

My Experience Getting the 2017 Amex Airline Fee Credit with United:

Earlier this week we loaded my United Travel Bank with $50 paid for with our Amex Platinum by purchasing a $50 Gift Registry load. Note that this is not a United Gift Certificate, as they don't even sell those anymore. The gift registry process can be a bit glitchy, but you can create a gift registry for yourself and then give yourself a gift to your own gift registry. It doesn't take long, but sometimes you have to send yourself a gift registry announcement and then follow that email link to actually giving yourself a gift. It sounds more complicated than it really is...

I typically do the transactions in $50 or $100 increments instead of the whole $200 at once to maximize the likelihood of a successful airline fee reimbursement, but it is possible that the whole $200 would work in one transaction.

As you can see, the $50 gift registry purchase is again being reimbursed by our Amex airline fee credit as shown above. We will put that money to good use on future United ticket purchases as it is now in my United Travel Bank. I've already done some more similar transactions to get to our annual $200 allotment. The $200 annual airline fee credit, along with perks like access to Amex Centurion Lounges, Boingo internet, and much more keep an Amex Platinum card in our wallet despite the annual fees.

Have you already taken advantage of the annual Amex airline fee credit for 2017? What did you get?