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Happy 2018! We are rounding out a great week-long family trip to Seattle and Whistler (that I can’t wait to share) and we should be back to a normal routine in the coming days, but since it is a new year I wanted to offer a quick reminder that with the new year comes a new opportunity to use your annual Amex airline fee credits. The Platinum Card® from American Express awards an annual airline fee credit and the Premier Rewards Gold Card awards a $100 annual airline fee credit.
First, you will want to select your Amex airline for 2018, though I’d read through this post and think carefully about that choice before just clicking on the airline you fly the most frequently. If you have elite status on the airline you fly the most frequently where you get free checked bags and waived change fees, you may do better selecting a secondary airline for the fee credits. Additionally, it can be useful to read some reports of what types of charges typically get reimbursed with each airline as that does vary based on how things code.
Of course, the intent and terms of these airline fee credits is to use them for incidental airline fees such as checked bag fees, change fees, on-board beverages, etc. However, “off-label” the credits sometimes cover more than that, so now that a new year is upon us, let’s look at recent reports of what the credits have been covering beyond the obvious airline fees. Remember that since we are now talking about somewhat off-label uses, these examples are not guaranteed to work 100% of the time and I don’t recommend complaining to Amex if it doesn’t work in your case as these are uses beyond the prescribed scope of the credits.
2018 Amex Airline Fee Credit Data Points
Based on some very handy linked Flyertalk threads and data points, here are some recent Amex airline fee credit updates.
- Southwest e-gift cards are counting.
- American Airlines gift cards are counting.
- Alaska Airlines gift cards do not count, but inexpensive flights sometimes do count.
- United Travel Registry is still down though with expected “2018” return. United is currently not a good airline to choose for 2018 if you are hoping for airline fee credit uses beyond the explicit terms and conditions.
- Delta gift cards seem to still count, but there may have been some change in how they post/process, so keep an eye on this thread.
- JetBlue does not sell gift cards, though inexpensive flights to sometimes trigger the credit.
- Hawaiian Airlines gift cards do not count and reports seem to be that only flights or charges under $50 automatically work.
In most cases you have a better chance of off-label success with smaller transactions than larger transactions.
Our 2018 Amex Airline Credit Strategy
I have selected United as our Amex airline for years and years, but I’m not sure that I will for 2018 since the United gift registry page is still down and they don’t sell gift cards. We fly them enough that we probably could just use the fee credit for its intended purpose throughout the year, but I like instant gratification and the ability to go ahead and use up the credit sooner rather than later, so we may instead select Southwest or Delta as we have been booking flights on those airlines and gift cards seem to be counting just fine with those airlines.
I’ll most likely give United a few more weeks to see if their gift registry comes back online or we encounter some fees we need to pay to kick off the year, but before too much time goes by I may just select a different airline for this year’s Amex Platinum airline fee credit and buy a couple gift cards then not have to worry about it the rest of the year.
What is your 2018 Amex Platinum airline fee credit strategy?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.