One of the awesome features of several American Express cards is the annual airline fee credits they offer, which range in value from $100 to $250. Well, it looks like for a lot of people this benefit has just gotten less valuable.
Which Amex cards offer airline fee credits?
The following cards offer airline fee credits, in the following increments:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express, $550 annual fee (Rates & Fees), $200 annual airline fee credit
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, $595 annual fee (Rates & Fees), $200 annual airline fee credit
- American Express® Gold Card, $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees), $100 annual airline fee credit
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, $450 annual fee, $250 annual airline fee credit
What are Amex airline fee credits?
Some Amex cards offer an annual fee credit as part of the suite of benefits. You designate a US airline every calendar year, and then eligible purchases are automatically reimbursed.
The fact that these are specifically airline fee credits is limiting, since normal airline purchases don’t qualify (unlike on some other cards). Per the terms, the following aren’t eligible to be reimbursed:
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.
Gift card purchases have historically been reimbursed
In the past, purchasing airline gift cards has typically been reimbursed as part of this benefit. The terms clearly stated that it shouldn’t be that way, though when gift card purchases were made in small increments, statement credits typically automatically posted for that.
So it was never supposed to be that way, though for years that’s how it was.
Gift cards no longer seem to be reimbursing
Over the past several months there have been quite a few data points about gift card purchases no longer being reimbursed. That didn’t seem to be the case consistently, though, so it was hard to draw too many conclusions.
Well, that no longer appears to be the case. Reports suggest that all airline gift card purchases are no longer being reimbursed as part of the Amex airline fee credit benefit.
This is fair enough, in the sense that the terms have stated that long enough, and they’re only now enforcing this.
This changes the value proposition of some cards
For many, this will no doubt change the math on some cards. Many viewed the airline fee credits as almost being worth face value. So for example on the Amex Platinum it lowered the annual fee for many people by ~$200, in terms of how people did mental math with this benefit.
A lot of people will have to do some number crunching following these changes, because the math sure does change. How much value can you really get out of a credit that can truly only be used for airline “fees?” Does this lower the value of that credit by 50%? More? Less?
I don’t know. I’ll have to crunch the numbers for myself, and I know others will too.
How will this change impact the value you get from Amex cards?
(Tip of the hat to Doctor Of Credit)
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).