Can You Get the Amex Airline Fee Credit Twice in One Year?

Oct 18, 2018

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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Associate Editor Brendan Dorsey.

An important part of a premium credit card’s value proposition is its collection of travel credits that help offset a high annual fee. TPG reader Hassan wants to know if he can get airline credits from some of American Express’ cards multiple times…

Can I get the Amex airline credit again two times within first year of my membership?

TPG Reader Hassan

A handful of American Express cards have what they call an “Airline Fee Credit” that covers incidentals like baggage fees and seat upgrades. However, we’ve found that purchasing airline gift cards directly from select airlines will trigger the credit too. While you must designate a single airline on which these credits apply upon opening a card (and can then change it every January moving forward), it can still be a great perk for those who regularly travel on one carrier.

These cards come with an annual airline credit:

  • American Express® Gold Card (up to $100)
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (up to $200)
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express (up to $200)
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (up to $250)

But to address Hassan’s original question — can he maximize the first year with one of the cards by getting the airline credit twice and only having to pay one annual fee?

The good news is that yes, for the cards mentioned above, you should be able to earn two airline credits in your first year. Why? Because the credit is applied every calendar year and not card member year.

So in your first year let’s say you sign up for the Amex Platinum in August and use its $200 credit quickly after signing up. Once January hits, the credit should reset and you’ll be eligible for a new $200 credit that you can use until your annual fee comes again in August. This sweetens the first year with an eligible Amex card even more, since you’ll be getting two fee credits to go along with a welcome bonus, like the Amex Platinum’s 60,000 points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months.

Unfortunately this only works the first year you hold an eligible card; after that you’ll only enjoy one credit for every 12 months in a calendar year.

The American Express Hilton Honors Aspire card comes with a $250 annual airline credit. Image by The Points Guy Stuff.

By getting the credit twice in one year, you could hypothetically “profit” just by holding the right product. For instance the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card carries a $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) but a $250 annual credit. By using the credit once in 2018 and then again in early 2019, all within the first year of card membership, you could come out with $500 in credits, making for a net positive of $50. And that’s not including the $250 resort credit and any of the other benefits the card offers.

Thanks for the question, Hassan, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image by The Points Guy staff.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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