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The Platinum Card from American Express is jam-packed with premium benefits, which we’ve outlined before, including in this post. One of the most generous perks is the $200 annual airline fee credit, which, if used properly, can take some of the sting out of the $550 annual fee.
I wrote about maximizing this credit here, but I thought I’d take another quick look at maximizing this credit. Just as a note, cardholders have from between January 1-31 each year to change their airline of choice (though many people have changed later in the year by asking nicely). You have each calendar year to spend the $200 regardless of when you got your card. So if you got it today and spent the $200, you’d get a brand-new $200 on January 1. (Click here to select/change your airline choice).
Way back when this benefit was launched, I didn’t think too much about it and I selected Delta as my reimbursement because at the time I flew Delta the most. I did end up getting all $200 reimbursed through award ticket fees and other odds and ends, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend picking your main airline, because if you have elite status many fees are already waived.
Another strategy would be to designate an airline that allows reimbursement for gift cards such as American or United (for United, use the Travel Bank gift registry).
Officially gift cards are not included, but they seem to get refunded as long as they’re $100 or less.
Technically, the approved items are:
Checked baggage fees
Overweight/oversize baggage 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:
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
Gift cards issued by Airlines
You’ll notice that last one belies what I said about using my credit for airline gift cards, but I still think it’s a viable options because there is a ton of anecdotal evidence from TPG readers and this FlyerTalk thread about people being reimbursed for airline vouchers and gift cards depending on the amount charged and the way the charge comes out coded on the credit card statement.
If the charge is quoted as “Travel – Airline,” that the chance of reimbursement is pretty slim. The operative factors here seem to be both the way a ticket is charged, or the amount of money spent on a fare, as well as a variety of sidestepping methods that include purchasing airline vouchers (usually at the $100 mark or under) that can then be used pretty much for any expense on the airline, including tickets.
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