Claim Your 2017 Amex Airline Fee Credits!

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While the new year can be depressing for those of us into miles & points, the good news is that it also means a new year of American Express airline fee credits, as those reset on January 1. Based on my card portfolio, it’s an opportunity to get hundreds of dollars of travel.

Which Amex cards come with airline fee credits?

The following cards offer airline fee credits, in the following increments (they’re offered per calendar year, regardless of what your cardmember year looks like):

What can the Amex airline fee credit be used for?

Per the terms, the annual airline credit can be used for airline purchases, excluding the following:

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.

Anecdotally, however, many report having luck purchasing airline gift cards and having those reimbursed. For example, last year I purchased two $100 American Airlines gift cards, and they were reimbursed a couple of days later.


The American Express forum on FlyerTalk has individual threads dedicated to reimbursement reports for each airline, including AlaskaAmerican, Delta, HawaiianJetBlueSouthwest, and United. As you can see, anecdotally these credits can be used for a wide variety of things, from lounge memberships, to cancellation fees, to status challenge fees, to (in many cases) gift cards.

Personally I just purchased American Airlines gift cards for all three cards totaling $500 (in increments of $50 and $100), and will report back as to whether they reimburse. The key seems to be to purchase them in smaller increments, so not $200+ at a time, for example.


How to register for your Amex airline fee credit

Your airline purchase should be automatically reimbursed when charged to an eligible card, assuming you’ve designated an airline for this benefit. Each year you have to designate an airline for your airline fee credit, which can be done at You can change your designated airline once per year.


If you already designated an airline last year, that will be the default one this year, so if you want to keep it you don’t have to do anything. But if you haven’t designated an airline in the past or want to change your selection, you’ll want to go to the above link to edit it.


Here are the airlines you can choose from:


Keep in mind that for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, the airline you choose is the same one for which you’ll get 35% off when redeeming points with the “Pay With Points” feature, which I consider to be one of the best card benefits. So you’ll want to choose your airline carefully.

Bottom line

While I hate when the year “resets” in terms of elite status, I do love picking up new annual airline fee credits thanks to the Amex credit cards I have. If you have any of the above Amex cards, you can go ahead and maximize the benefits whenever, just make sure you designate an airline for the benefit.

Is anyone else already redeeming their 2017 credit card airline credits?

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  1. United Airlines will no longer be selling “gift cards” according to site. Anyone else see this?

  2. Sadly I failed to claim my 2016 credits. I was wondering why my in-flight wifi charges didn’t get taken out from the airline credits until I the terms today.

    I could have claimed another 100$ recently 🙁

  3. United site, “We’ve decided to discontinue the United gift certificate program, so gift certificates are no longer available for purchase. You can redeem any existing gift certificates and check your balance on the Check Gift Certificate Balance page.”

  4. If I have the Business Platinum and the Platinum card, can I designate two separate airlines of choice? Thanks!

  5. Got my Amex open on 21 December. Designated southwest as my airline choice. Bought two early birds for future flights and a $50 and $120 gift cards from southwest. All reimbursed 2 days later.

  6. Update – bought two gift cards on Southwest for $100 each. None qualified for credit. The cat is out of the bag. Called up Amex – they said Southwest gift card purchases do not qualify for travel credit.

  7. H, regarding your Southwest comment, it’s much more likely that the credit dimply hadn’t posted yet; it takes a few days. When you called AmEx — not the smartest move, BTW — they just read you the party line. The evidence from others is that gift cards and gift registry contributions in small contributions are still generally reimbursed.

  8. Thanks for the reminder post and thanks for including all details. Bought two $100 Alaska Air gift cards and refund posted in 3 days. Thanks again!

  9. Its been a week that I bought two gift cards and they still havent been reimbursed so I’m gonna assume it doesnt work anymore (AA – AMEX Premier Rewards)

  10. Two $100 Alaska e-gift cards reimbursed within two days with AMEX Business Platinum Card. Note that I had to wait 24 hours after purchasing to use the e-gift cards.

    FEB 11 AMEX Airline Fee Reimbursement -$100.00
    FEB 11 AMEX Airline Fee Reimbursement -$100.00

  11. Does purchasing extra miles for a United ticket work? I have an option to add 5,000 miles to my trip for $120, and I was just approved for the Premier Gold, so I’m very new to what will work and what won’t. Thanks!

  12. I am curious if this purchase codes as travel?

    Does AMEX Platinum loading of United Gift Registry code as 5x for airfare?

    Dose the Chase Sapphire Reserve code as 3x for travel for the registry? etc

    I cannot find any data points on this.

  13. When I bought the AA gift cards it doesnt show on my Amex statement as MISC SALE. Shows as TICKET and under details it has a Travel category.

    Haven’t received any reimbursements yet, it’s been 2 days.

    Any idea how to make it appear as “Misc Sale” rather than “Ticket” ?

  14. I paid $100 for an Amazon gift card on the United app. No credit was given. I called Amex and they said it doesn’t count.

  15. My 2016 Amex credit posted on Jan 1st, 2017. My 2017 transactions have not yielded the credit – does anyone know what happens in this case? Just want to ask before I talk to Amex

  16. About two AA airline giftcard ($100 each) but stupidly checked out both cards together at a go resulting in a one time $200 charge. It showed up on my statement as “ticket” under travel category. Decided to wait a couple days to see if the reimbursement would show as previous comments mentioned AA $200 doesnt work. Surprisingly Amex reimbursed the $200. Bought on 4/26, reimbursement 4/29. I am happy!

  17. “Give loved ones the world

    We’ve decided to discontinue the United gift certificate program, so gift certificates are no longer available for purchase. You can redeem any existing gift certificates and check your balance on the Check Gift Certificate Balance page.

    You can still help your family and friends get to where they want to go by purchasing gift miles. On the Buy Miles page, simply select “Give Miles” and log in to your MileagePlus account to get started.

    We also invite you to check out gift registry to see if your favorite traveler is registered to receive the gift of United flights.​​​”

    What do I do with my United Airlines Amex credit, now that I have selected UA. I am 1K, so do not pay luggage fees with an allowance of 3 bags of 70lbs each?

  18. where can i find these gift cards to buy them? The only ones i see require me to buy them with points?

  19. My advice to @ll STOP calling AmEx to verify. These purchases are not elegible “officially”. Please don’t try anymore the united X app, the trick is been dead a while now. So what still works for me? AA gcs and UA Gift Registry (not the same as the discontinued UA gift certificate). Contact me for any other data point: @mysimplemiles

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