Amex Platinum Airline Fee Credit Reimbursement Data Point

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One of the cool perks of American Express’ high end Platinum-line of cards is the $200 annual airline fee credit benefit they come with. While card annual fees are based on membership years (aka when you opened your card account), the annual airline fee credit benefit is based on calendar years.

Here are the American Express cards with annual airline fee credits:

So what can airline fee credits be used for? Well, I guess the easiest way to explain it is in terms of what they can’t be used for, which include 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.

However, anecdotally I’ve had luck using the annual fee credit to purchase airline gift cards in small increments. My strategy has typically been to purchase American Airlines gift cards in $100 increments. So I figured I’d report back on my experience.

I picked up the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express in the last few weeks of last year, so purchased $200 worth of American gift cards in the last week of last year, and then $200 in American gift cards in the first week of this year (as I said above, that’s because the benefit is based on calendar years, so I was entitled to two sets of fee credits).

I’m happy to report that both of these transactions have been reimbursed within 2-3 days:


Doesn’t get much better than that!

As a reminder, keep in mind that before you make a purchase you’ll want to designate an airline for your annual fee credit, which can be done at Once you log in it will give you the option to change your preferred airline. If you want to keep the same airline as last year, then you don’t need to do anything.

If you don’t do that first then you won’t be reimbursed for your purchase.

Have you used your 2015 American Express annual airline fee credit benefit, and if so, for what?

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  1. I bought a couple of cheap one way tickets on JetBlue (less than $100 each) and Amex reimbursed those. I was very surprised. They also covered my upgrade “even more” fees.

  2. I had success at the end of the year buying $500 in gift cards ($100 each) from the loss of lounge privileges earlier in the year and the same for the $200 this year.

  3. Be sure to buy as separate transactions. I mistakenly bought four $50 AA gift cards but checked out in one payment. Didn’t get reimbursed. Worked OK when I did four separate purchases.

  4. 4x $50 Delta gift cards has always worked for me in the past and worked again this year. Maybe next year I’ll have to step up and try $100.

  5. 4- $50 United Air gift certificates reimbursed in 5 days. Also worked for mileage transfer fee and economy plus seat fee in the past.

  6. Huge caveats on United gift cards. 1) you can only use one per transaction 2) the name on the gift card must be the same as the person in which you’re buying the ticket. This makes me rage

  7. Anyone with US designated as their airline should change to AA first before trying this. I learned the hard way last year when US stopped issuing their own gift cards and just linked to the gift card site. Likewise on small amounts; my partner (who designated AA) got the additional $500 “peace offering” last year and got turned down when he tried to buy a $400 gift card.

  8. “before you make a purchase you’ll want to designate an airline for your annual fee credit”

    I bought AA gift cards the last two years, and I don’t want to change my airline preference. Do I still have to go to that webpage and choose AA as my preferred airline before making a purchase? I did not, and the refund hasn’t been posted after 10 days.

  9. @ S Kumar — If they’re already your designated airline from last year then you shouldn’t have to. What kind of purchase did you make?

  10. Ben, I know that AA gift cards cannot be used for paying taxes but can they be used to pay for things like exit row or other main cabin extra seat assignments? Thanks.

  11. My Amex annual fee renews in , August but may not renew. If I get a 200 airline credit on the card now do I get charged 200 later if I cancel my card in August?

  12. i made one $200 “gift” into my United gift registry. Took two days to get credited. Did same thing in Decemebr.

  13. “If they’re already your designated airline from last year then you shouldn’t have to. What kind of purchase did you make?”

    I bought two $100 gift cards (separate transactions, 5 hours apart)

  14. I bought 3 AA gift cards on the 26th of March 2015 ($75, $75, $50) and they have not been reimbursed as of April 2, 2015. Starting to get slightly nervous, and yes my designated airline is AA and I used my Personal Platinum Card.

    I did the same process earlier this year using my Centurion Card and was reimbursed within 2 days. Anyone else having these extended waits lately?

  15. Regarding my last post, the incidental credit (200) finally posted for my AA gift cards. Basically here is the timeline just in case anyone else is having the same issue. While the credit used to post in 2 days its now taking a lot longer

    Card: Amex Platinum Card (Personal)
    Gift Card Denominations: $75, $75, $50 = $200

    Purchased on: March 26, 2015
    Doing business as:
    7645 E 63RD ST, SUITE 600
    Additional Information: xxxxxxxxxxx AA.COM
    Reference: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Category: Travel – Airline

    Reimbursed on: April 3, 2015

    I hope that helps anyone nervous that its taking too long. I didn’t call in and just waited it out. Same results on my cousins platinum card. Almost 9 days for both of us!

  16. At @Lucky,

    I was wondering if I would get reimbursed if I used my Amex Platinum to pay for my AA Platinum status challenge – It would cost me $240. If not, I was also wondering if they will accept gift card as payment for the status challenge, so I can just buy the gift cards and get reimbursed.

    If none of the above works, should I just use my Citi Premier to get 3x points?

    Thank you!

    John W.

  17. Anyone have any luck recently with the Southwest gift card? Bought a $50 card from the southwest site with AmEx Platinum and never got reimbursed.

  18. Jeremy, chat online with Amex. Tell them the date of the charge. They will ask what you used it for, and tell them “Seats, earlybird.” They credited it back to me right away. Other suggestions in the future are $75 denomination for “Oversized” luggage or $95 for “pet fee.”

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