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The new year is here and that means it is time to develop a 2018 Amex airline fee credit strategy if you have an Amex Platinum Card or the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card so you don’t leave money on the table since both come with annual credits you can use for a variety of airline charges…
Happy 2018! We are rounding out a great week-long family trip to Seattle and Whistler (that I can’t wait to share) and we should be back to a normal routine in the coming days, but since it is a new year I wanted to offer a quick reminder that with the new year comes a new opportunity to use your annual Amex airline fee credits. The Platinum Card® from American Express awards an annual airline fee credit and the Premier Rewards Gold Card awards a $100 annual airline fee credit.
First, you will want to select your Amex airline for 2018, though I’d read through this post and think carefully about that choice before just clicking on the airline you fly the most frequently. If you have elite status on the airline you fly the most frequently where you get free checked bags and waived change fees, you may do better selecting a secondary airline for the fee credits. Additionally, it can be useful to read some reports of what types of charges typically get reimbursed with each airline as that does vary based on how things code.
Of course, the intent and terms of these airline fee credits is to use them for incidental airline fees such as checked bag fees, change fees, on-board beverages, etc. However, “off-label” the credits sometimes cover more than that, so now that a new year is upon us, let’s look at recent reports of what the credits have been covering beyond the obvious airline fees. Remember that since we are now talking about somewhat off-label uses, these examples are not guaranteed to work 100% of the time and I don’t recommend complaining to Amex if it doesn’t work in your case as these are uses beyond the prescribed scope of the credits.
2018 Amex Airline Fee Credit Data Points
Based on some very handy linked Flyertalk threads and data points, here are some recent Amex airline fee credit updates.
- Southwest e-gift cards are counting.
- American Airlines gift cards are counting.
- Alaska Airlines gift cards do not count, but inexpensive flights sometimes do count.
- United Travel Registry is still down though with expected “2018” return. United is currently not a good airline to choose for 2018 if you are hoping for airline fee credit uses beyond the explicit terms and conditions.
- Delta gift cards seem to still count, but there may have been some change in how they post/process, so keep an eye on this thread.
- JetBlue does not sell gift cards, though inexpensive flights to sometimes trigger the credit.
- Hawaiian Airlines gift cards do not count and reports seem to be that only flights or charges under $50 automatically work.
In most cases you have a better chance of off-label success with smaller transactions than larger transactions.
Our 2018 Amex Airline Credit Strategy
I have selected United as our Amex airline for years and years, but I’m not sure that I will for 2018 since the United gift registry page is still down and they don’t sell gift cards. We fly them enough that we probably could just use the fee credit for its intended purpose throughout the year, but I like instant gratification and the ability to go ahead and use up the credit sooner rather than later, so we may instead select Southwest or Delta as we have been booking flights on those airlines and gift cards seem to be counting just fine with those airlines.
I’ll most likely give United a few more weeks to see if their gift registry comes back online or we encounter some fees we need to pay to kick off the year, but before too much time goes by I may just select a different airline for this year’s Amex Platinum airline fee credit and buy a couple gift cards then not have to worry about it the rest of the year.
What is your 2018 Amex Platinum airline fee credit strategy?
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- 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 around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees