Can I use the Amex Platinum airline fee credit on a friend?

Jan 2, 2020

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Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.

The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express carry two of the highest annual fees of any publicly available cards, at $695 (see rates and fees) and $595($695 if application is received on or after 1/13/2022) (see rates and fees) respectively. If you’re going to hold these cards and still come out ahead, you better have a plan to fully utilize their extensive list of benefits, including the up to $200 annual airline incidental fee statement credit offered by both cards. Enrollment required for select benefits. 

Unlike Chase and Citi, Amex has made this valuable benefit harder to use by closing popular loopholes such as buying airline gift cards to trigger reimbursement. TPG reader Kristin wants to know if she can use this credit to pay for a friend’s incidental airline fees …

I generally struggle to use the $200 airline incidental fee credit on my Amex Business Platinum. If I were to log into my friend’s Delta SkyMiles account and pay for his baggage fees, would that trigger the reimbursement?


Before getting into Kristin’s specific question, let’s review how this credit works. This credit, which just reset for the new year, entitles cardholders with any version of the Platinum card (including the personal Amex Platinum, the Amex Business Platinum and the Amex Platinum for Schwab customers) to up to a $200 a year rebate for incidental airline fees. You can’t use this credit to directly purchase airfare, and Amex doesn’t have a clear list of which charges are eligible for reimbursement, only noting that the following are excluded:

“Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees.”

Related: It’s a new year; here’s our guide to choosing an airline for your Amex Platinum $200 airline-fee credit

Kirstin is spot on that checked baggage fees are some of the most common charges that are eligible for reimbursement with the Amex Platinum airline fee credit. Now for the good news: It doesn’t matter whose name is on the ticket. Amex only cares that the charge is processed by Delta (which is why some purchases like inflight Wi-Fi that are processed by a third party don’t trigger the credit). This means you could use your credit to cover checked bag fees for a family member traveling with you, or you could gift them to a friend or colleague even if you aren’t traveling.

There’s only one thing to be aware of, and that’s the fact that Amex requires you to select a designated airline before you can use the credit. If Kirstin has already selected Delta then there won’t be a problem, but if she just opened her Platinum card recently then she’ll need to select Delta as her airline before she attempts to pay for her friends checked bags. If she’d selected a different airline for previous years that’s no problem, as Amex lets you change your selection one time a year during January.

Bottom line

The up to $200 annual airline fee credit is an important part of the math that makes the Amex Platinum worth its hefty annual fee. If you routinely struggle to use this credit you should stop and think whether this card is actually right for you long term, but if you find yourself with leftover credit at the end of the year don’t hesitate to gift it to a friend or family member. As long as they’re flying on the airline you’ve selected with Amex, you can pay for eligible incidental charges on their behalf and still get reimbursed.

Thanks for the question, Kristin, 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

For the rates and fees of the American Express Platinum card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the American Express Business Platinum card, please click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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15.74%-24.74% Variable
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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