Amex Platinum Card Airline Credit Experiment Results

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Last week I wrote about some strategy around selecting your 2012 Amex Platinum Card airline for the $200 annual airline fee reimbursement.  If you haven’t already, feel free to check out that post for the basics about how the fee reimbursement works. and some pointers for choosing the best airline to suit your travel needs and maximize the value of the benefit.

While it is outside the terms and conditions of the credit, there has been success in having airline gift cards refunded with some airlines.  One of the airlines that this has been successful with in the past is my airline of choice, Continental.  Truthfully, I end up using the majority of my $200 credit on actual airline incidentals like on-board snacks, drinks, change fees, etc… but I did an experiment to see if a $25 Continental gift certificate would be refunded in 2012.

I’m happy to report back that the experiment was a success and the credit was automatically refunded to my account within two days.  Keep in mind that my success does not guarantee that other similar purchases will be refunded.  If you do attempt this, I suggest keeping the purchases to $100 or less.  Based on anecdotal reports, there seems to be a greater likelihood that the gift certificates will be automatically refunded if they are purchased in increments of $100 or less.

I have already put that Continental certificate to good use to knock $25 off the cost of my ticket to California/Disneyland!  I am also now leaning toward keeping my Amex Platinum for one more year.  It is up for renewal in the very near future, and I really do not want to pay the $450 annual fee, but I am about 80% convinced to keep it for one more year.  I’ll talk more about the reasons why in the near future.

Have you made an airline gift certificate purchase in 2012?  What were your results?
When I wrote this post last night my Amex account was letting me send out referrals for the Amex Platinum that award 50,000 Membership Reward points after you spend $3000 on the card within the first three months, but today that offer has stopped working again for me.  I will keep trying for those who have already sent me emails, but as of right now it is not working.   I do receive a 5,000 Membership Rewards bonus for that referral.  If you need a lower spending requirement, there is an offer that only requires $1000 in minimum spending to get 25,000 Membership Reward points currently available here

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  1. Last year, I charged $139 in Continental gift certificates, and it picked it up as an airline charge! Likewise, I had some small ~$60 charges for airline ticket redemptions, and they counted that too!

  2. In 2011, Alaska Airlines gift certificates worked for me and in 2012 (well, last week), American Airlines gift certificates worked, as well. They were all reimbursed about 2 days later.

  3. Last year 2 $100 gift certificates for personal platinum and business platinum on CO. Same success this year. I will probably keep the personal and cancel the business card. The other great benefit was the Global Entry reimbursement. I had mine reimbursed on the personal and my wife on the business. GREAT time saver coming back form Thailand last month. Helped us avoid a huge line at customs.

  4. With these credits, the effective fee is $250 a year. For that, you get AA/DL/US/AS lounge access, as well as Priority Pass Plus lounge access. Global Entry is a $100 value, though only once every 5 years.

    This card holds a place in most travelers’ wallets.

  5. AA maybe a safer bet, as I remember reading somewhere that only the $25 Continental gift certificate works. Any amount above that will not be reimbursed. Have you guys heard anything like that?

  6. We had AA gift certificates reimbursed in December of last year, one $50 and two $75 for both mine and my wife’s account. I was going to do the same thing this year so we will have $800 total towards our next AA paid tickets. We are also trying to decide if we should keep the cards with renewals coming up soon, but all of the benefits are making me lean towards yes.

  7. I just booked an award ticket on AA and the phone booking fee was reimbursed by Amex but the award fees was not. I will use all of the credit on other things so I’m not upset but I am a little surprised. They also wouldn’t let me use a gift card ( bought on the Amex )for the fees.

  8. @mizliz, the referral she’s talking about is for the Amex Platinum. She’d get 5k points when you get approved for the card, and you’d get 50k points when you hit $3k in spend within 3 months. Not a bad deal all around if you can make the spending requirement.

  9. I purchased 4 $50 AA gift certificates on 12/20, but have not yet seen any credit. Hopefully it may be applied at the end of my billing cycle, but not holding my breath.

  10. @Ern and Mizliz, it is for the Amex Platinum, but it has stopped working for me again on all browsers. It was working last night, but isn’t working today. I will keep trying for those who have already sent me referral requests. Last time it took a week for it to start working again.

  11. @mommypoints, you’re just sending more referrals than Amex can handle! A good problem for you to have. 🙂 I’d offer to send people referrals too, but it’s your blog, so you clearly should get the bonus if at all possible.

    • @autolycus, ha ha. Though I have yet to see a single bonus point from any of the referrals, 😉 All I really want is for people to get the offer they want, so feel free to post a comment with your email address and people can email you directly if they need the referral quicker than I can hand them out. (bc who knows when the Amex site will work for me again!)

  12. @mommypoints, It does say 6-8 weeks from new account activation for the referral bonus to post. It also does mention a 250,000 MR max on referrals, so you’ve referred over 50 people . . .

    I did just check, and the referral is still showing up for me, so if anybody wants the 50k MR bonus with $3k spend on the Amex Platinum and can’t wait for Amex to allow the blog hostess to do additional referrals, people can email me, and I’ll send them along as possible. tgewin at gmail. For disclosure, I will get 5k MR points for anyone I refer who is accepted for a new Amex Platinum.

    I can also refer the Amex HHonors card (regular, NOT Surpass). That one is 40k bonus for $750 spend in 3 months, and I get a 10k HHonors points referral bonus. I know there was a 60k signup bonus out there–the one I used, in fact–but I thought it had expired. Do your due diligence before you ask me for a referral on that one. Oh, and if you find an equivalent offer from one of your preferred blogs, please use it first so they get something for the content they provide you.

    • @autolycus, mine keeps working off and on. Worked again for a few minutes today so I could get out the ones that I had received emails for, but it was very spotty. I think it has been at least 6 weeks since I started sending these out, but not sure if it has been 8 yet. Pretty sure I haven’t gone over the 50 maximum. 😉

  13. $200 Continental.com gift certificate purchased 1/5/12, reimbursed 1/9/12. This is good because you can only redeem one gift cert at a time!

  14. My Amex home page is allowing me to make referrals for the Amex platinum 50K MR points w/ $3K spend. I would be happy to refer anyone who wants this offer (I will get 5K MR points). Just need your full name and email address. Thanks!

  15. Had got 4 $99 DL tickets last year on both my and wife’s and no problem. This year I used Chase UR portal to go Travelocity and charge to my Amex (I am getting greedy). Darn, it is posted as “Travelocity.com” other than “Delta” thus I don’t see I will get reimbursed. I know airfare through Travelocity show up as carrier’s name on my Sapphire P. One lesson learned here.

  16. mommypoints, if it’s all right with you (I don’t want to rob you of any points!) Amex platinum is letting me refer people for the 50,000 points so if someone is interested let me know and I will email you directly.

  17. Just bought two Southwest gift cards for $50 each and was credited immediately! I am now buying another two. I changed my airline from Delta, where I probably was not going to be able to use the value this year. Now I’m almost certain of getting the $200! I had problems every time I made a legitimate charge on Delta in getting reimbursed. The Southwest works much better, for me at least.

  18. I purchased a 200 dollar eCertificate from United….on april 7th… as of today April 13…. no Reimbursement yet… BOOO

    • @Jon, that stinks! I have never tried that large of a denomination, so not sure if that is related to the issue or not. I would check FT and see if others are reporting similar problems. Keep us posted!

  19. I purchased four $50 gift cards from American Airlines and was reimbursed by Amex within a few days. I had thought about using it for Continental/United or US Airways, but both of those airlines had too many restrictions.

    For Continental/United, you can only use one gift card per reservation and the gift cards expire in five years. For US Airways, you can’t get an electronic gift card, so they charge you a $15 shipping fee.

    American Airlines seemed to offer the most flexibility as you can use up to eight gift cards per reservation and the gift cards don’t expire!

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