Delta, Southwest Gift Cards No Longer Trigger Amex Airline Fee Credit
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update 7/16: Based on TPG tests and other reports, we can now confirm that Delta and Southwest gift cards no longer trigger the Amex the airline fee credits. We will continue to monitor this and share updates as we get them, but we do not recommend buying any airline gift cards with an Amex for the purpose of triggering the credit.
Many of American Express’ higher end cards come with an annual airline incidental fee credit. Although these fee credits were designed to cover airline fees such as checked bags, seat assignments, change fees and onboard food or drink purchases, historically, they’ve also covered many airline gift card purchases. Enrollment required for select benefits.
However, in recent months, fewer gift card purchases have triggered the airline fee statement credits. And now, it seems that two more airlines bit the dust.
Reports on Flyertalk, tests from TPG staffers and data points from the TPG Lounge are suggesting that as of June 22 or June 23, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines gift card purchases will no longer trigger the airline fee credit. If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll know that these were the final two airlines that allowed you to use the credit to buy gift cards.
At this point, there aren’t enough data points to make any definitive conclusions, but early indications are not looking positive. And since airline gift cards are not expressly within the parameters of the Amex airline fee credit, you can’t complain to Amex if they don’t work in your case either.
We will be conducting further in-house tests on Delta and Southwest gift card purchases, but for now, your best bet is to use the airline fee credits for what they were intended for: incidentals. For instance, aside from checked bag and seat assignment fees, family travelers might want to use the credit to purchase Big Front Seats on Spirit. Or, based on the sky-high pet fees on most — but not all— airlines, you may use up your airline fee credit on just one or two flights with your pet.
Officially, once you’ve made your initial choice, you can only change your choice once each year in January, but fortunately, Amex tends to be quite lenient with this and will often let you change your choice later over the phone or via chat.
If you’re feeling daring and do still want to try purchasing a Delta gift card with the hopes of getting reimbursed, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. Firstly, in the past, Delta gift cards purchases only counted in smaller increments of around $50. Additionally, they must have been purchased from Delta’s desktop site and not the mobile site. For Southwest, gift cards typically needed to be purchased in denominations of $100 or less to trigger the credit.
As a quick refresher, here are the American Express cards that award annual airline fee statement credits up to a certain amount (terms apply; enrollment required):
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (up to $250)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (up to $200)
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (up to $200)
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If losing the ability to purchase gift cards with your airline fee credit is a deal breaker for you, there are other premium cards that issue more flexible annual travel credits. These include the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($300 annual travel credit), US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite ($325 annual travel credit) or the Citi Prestige® Card ($250 annual travel credit).
We’ll stay on this story and bring you more information as we get it. In the meantime, if you recently purchased Delta, Southwest or even American Airlines gift cards using the airline fee credit, let us know if you got reimbursed in the comments below!
For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.
Featured image by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
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.
- 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✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees