Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Adding Authorized Users
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: $200 Annual Uber Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Free Hotel Status
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Airport Lounge Access
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: 5x Points On Airfare & Hotels
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Global Entry Or TSA Pre-Check Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Free Rental Car Status
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Fine Hotels & Resorts
Recently we saw The Platinum Card® from American Express relaunched with new benefits, a bigger welcome bonus, and a higher annual fee. The card now has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. On top of that, the card’s annual fee increased by $100, though I think for most people the new benefits will more than make up for the increased annual fee.
I get a lot of questions about the details of the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express, so I’m writing a series about the various benefits of the card.
In this post I wanted to talk about the $200 annual airline credit offered on the Amex Platinum Card, which I consider to be one of the most valuable benefits of the card.
What is the Amex Platinum Card $200 airline fee credit?
One of the benefits of the Amex Platinum Card is that you get a $200 airline fee credit every calendar year. You have to designate an airline, then make an eligible purchase between January 1 and December 31, and then you’ll be reimbursed within a few days.
What purchases are eligible for the Platinum Card airline fee credit?
Per the terms, the airline fee credit can only be applied towards airline fees (as the name suggests), which excludes 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, this 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 Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, 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.
I’ve never had issues using these fee credits for gift card purchases in small increments, so personally I value this perk pretty close to face value. I get $200 worth of American Airlines gift cards per year, so the only opportunity cost is the 5x points I’m giving up by not paying airfare with Amex Platinum Card. I value those points at 1.7 cents each, so I guess the $200 airline gift card is worth ~$183 to me.
Do authorized users get the Amex Platinum Card fee credit?
Yes and no. An eligible purchase made from either the primary cardmember or an authorized cardmember would count towards the $200 limit. However, there’s only a total of $200 per account, regardless of how many authorized users you have. So if you have three authorized users, you’d still only get a total of a $200 airline fee credit. So spend from all users counts, but having authorized users doesn’t increase your airline fee credit limit.
How do you designate an airline for the airline fee credit?
Before you use your Amex Platinum Card to pay an airline fee, be sure you designate which airline you want the credit to be valid for. Your choices are Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, and United.
Each year you have to designate an airline for your airline fee credit, which can be done at americanexpress.com/airlinechoice. You can change your designated airline once per year.
If you’ve already designated an airline for your fee credit in previous years, then it will automatically be transferred over to the next year. You can change it once per year, though if you want to keep the same airline, there’s nothing you have to do.
Do you get $400 in airline fee credits the first year?
The annual fee on the Amex Platinum Card is billed based on your cardmember year, while the airline credit is awarded based on the calendar year. In other words:
- If you are approved for the Amex Platinum Card in April 2017, your second year’s annual fee will be due in April 2018
- The $200 airline credit is offered on the basis of a calendar year, so you’d get a $200 airline fee credit now through December 31, and then another $200 airline fee credit starting January 1, 2018.
So you’d get a total of $400 in airline fee credits before your second year’s annual fee is due.
Some might say “well yeah, but then you don’t get an airline credit with your second year’s annual fee.” That’s not true. Using the above example, you’d get another $200 airline credit in January 2019, before your third year’s annual fee is due.
In other words, if you get the Amex Platinum Card and keep it long term, you’ll have one more airline credit than annual fees. How you do the mental accounting for that is up to you. But unless you’re illogically canceling your card, one year you’re going to get $400 in airline credits.
The $200 annual airline fee credit nicely offsets the annual fee on the Amex Platinum Card. Since I value the airline fee credit pretty close to face value (let’s call it ~$180), for mental accounting purposes it lowers the annual fee on the card to ~$370, not accounting for the fact that you’d get two of these credits one cardmember year.
While there’s no guarantee that the airline fee credit can be redeemed so easily in the future, up until now I’ve been able to get incredible value out of it.