Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?

American Express Platinum cards offer up to $200 per year in airline fee reimbursements.  These reimbursements can go a long way towards easing the sting of the $550 annual fee charged by personal Amex Platinum and $450 annual fee charged by Business Platinum cards.  Similarly, the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card offers up to $100 per year in airline fee reimbursements to help offset that card’s $195 annual fee.

Amex airline fee credits are offered by calendar year.  For example, Platinum cardholders can get up to $200 in fee credits for charges made up until December of this year, and $200 more for charges made next calendar year.

Step 1 is to make sure that you’ve selected a preferred airline, here: americanexpress.com/airlinechoice.  You can change this selection once per year in January (if you don’t change it, your previous selection remains in place).

Step 2 is to make qualifying purchases with your airline of choice in order to get reimbursed.

What purchases count… officially?

Eligible incidental fees include:

  • Checked baggage fees (including overweight/oversize)
  • Itinerary change fees
  • Phone reservation fees
  • Pet flight fees
  • Seat assignment fees
  • In-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, headphones)
  • In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet because it’s not charged by the airline)
  • Airport lounge day passes & annual memberships

And, officially, the following purchases are not deemed to be incidental fees:

  • Airline tickets
  • Upgrades
  • Mileage points purchases
  • Mileage points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty free purchases
  • Award tickets

What purchases count… unofficially?

Sometimes purchases of gift cards, award fees, or even low-cost airfare are reimbursed even though they shouldn’t be.  In some cases there seem to be maximum dollar limits.  Gift cards purchased directly from an airline under a certain dollar amount may trigger the airline fee reimbursement, but larger denomination gift cards may not.  And the things that work or don’t work vary by airline and over time.  Something that worked in the past won’t necessarily work today.

The following table shows the unofficial stuff that works or doesn’t work with each airline that can be chosen as your preferred airline:

Alaska

What Works? Recent Reports
Airfare under $100 $86.43 11/21/17 Used gift card to force airfare below $100 (via Flyertalk)
What Fails? Recent Reports
E-gift card Gift card purchases stopped working summer 2017
$50 10/28/17

$25 8/6/17
 

American

What Works? Recent Reports
E-gift card $200 11/17
$100 12/5/17
Physical Gift card $50 or less 12/9/17
5 Star Service $325 3/21/17
 

Delta

What Works? Recent Reports
Physical Gift card $50 or less $50 12/14/16
E-Gift card $50 or less Four $50 purchased at once 11/28/17 (via Flyertalk)
$50 10/10/17
Note that gift cards purchased on the desktop website code as Delta airlines purchases; those purchased on the mobile site are processed by CashStar and do not work. (via DoC)
Award fees under $200 $54.76 12/9/17
What Fails? Recent Reports
Gift cards over $50
Award fees over $200
 

Frontier

What Works? Recent Reports
Discount Den membership 12/17
 

Hawaiian

What Works? Recent Reports
 Airfare under $50 $29.83 10/17 (via Flyertalk). Used gift card to reduce airfare
What Fails? Recent Reports
Gift cards $50 7/19/17 (via Flyertalk)
Airfare over $50 $53 10/17 (via Flyertalk)
 

JetBlue

What Works? Recent Reports
Airfare under $150?  $137.40 7/17 (via Flyertalk)
Award fees $5.60 7/17 (via Flyertalk)
What Fails? Recent Reports
Airfare over $150 $250 1/11/17 (via Flyertalk)
Gift cards They don’t sell them
 

Spirit

 No Data
 

Southwest

What Works? Recent Reports
Airfare under $100 $90 2/18
E-gift card $200 3/18
Early bird check-in $15 2016
Award Fees 2/18
A1-A15 boarding $40 (2/18)
What Fails? Recent Reports
On-board Wi-Fi $8 charge posted, but was not credited (2/18)
 

United

What Works? Recent Reports
Only standard stuff Economy Plus, United Club, Pet Fee, Same Day Flight Change
What Fails? Recent Reports
MileagePlus X App Purchases
United Gift Registry This doesn’t really fail — it’s just no longer available
Award Fees
Gift Card
$99 Upgrade Fee 2016

Please report your results!

If you try any unofficial options, please let us know via the comments whether it worked. Tell us the date of purchase, what you purchased, the dollar amount, and whether or not you were reimbursed.  Please do not report purchases that are officially reimbursed unless you do not get the credit.

What to do if you’re not reimbursed?

First, double check that you picked the airline in question as your preferred airline.  If you did not, then Amex won’t reimburse you (but they have been known to make an exception if you call and say that you forgot to set your preferred airline).

If you do not get reimbursed for things that are officially allowed (checked bags, change fees, lounge fees, etc.), then contact Amex for help.  If you do not get reimbursed for things that are not officially allowed (gift cards, award fees, airfare, etc.) do not contact Amex.  You weren’t really supposed to get reimbursed for those anyway.

Other cards that offer fee reimbursements

Quite a few other cards offer airline fee reimbursements.  We’d like to setup pages like this for each of them.  If you have experience earning or not earning airline fee credits with other cards, we’d like to hear that too!  Please comment below with your experience, but please make sure to include the card name and airline in your comment.  For example (this is a real one from my experience):

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite 7/30/17 $54.86 Delta award fee reimbursed 8/3/17

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77 Comments on "Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?"

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RAJESH KHANNA
Guest

Thanks for sharing this, any information on Bank of America Premium Rewards card (the new one) with buying Delta gift cards?

West
Guest

Ritz-Carlton is doodoo. I assumed it worked like the CSR. I’ll get rid it next year then just upgrade from the CSP to the CSR

Nick Reyes
Editor

You definitely have to call in for Ritz-Carlton credits. I haven’t had any issue using it, but I’ve had enough legitimate uses for it. I’ve found it useful for the discount European carriers since the actual fare is cheap and I can then use the Ritz card for seat selection/upgrade, checked bags, etc.

Byron
Guest

I just messaged Chase and got the credits.

West
Guest

Thank you for replying and giving me some input. I will call them. Last time I messaged them they asked me for “proof” of my purchases. I will be flying Air France and I am hoping to buy a gift card or two. Some carriers will share data 3 info with Amex & Chase which makes me think twice.

West
Guest

And thanks for the information. Really appreciate it!

A. Nonymous
Guest

I upgraded to the Amex Gold Premier in August 2017, and since I had a couple of Frontier flights already booked, I selected them as my reward airline. here’s what they cover:

Before I chose Frontier, I called Amex and specifically asked if seat assignment fees are covered. They said NO! The next day I got this email, saying yes. So don’t rely on any info you get over the phone.
=====
Thank you for selecting Frontier Airlines for your $100 Airline Fee Credit benefit. You will now receive up to $100 in statement credits each calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your eligible American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Account.

Eligible incidental fees include:

Checked baggage fees (including overweight/oversize baggage)
Itinerary change fees
Phone reservation fees
Pet flight fees
Seat assignment fees
In-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, headphones)
In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet fees, because these fees are not charged by the airline)
Airport lounge day passes & annual memberships

Nick Reyes
Editor

Have you used it for anything with Frontier yet? Which things have been reimbursed?

A. Nonymous
Guest

Yes, i used it,as I stated. I had two flights upcoming on Frontier. Everything that I charged was reimbursed:

checked bag
seat assignment fees
drinks.

(Frontier doesn’t serve food, other than little bags of munchies for highway robbery prices.)

Since I was not going to fly Frontier anytime for the rest of the year, I was even buying drinks for my seat-mates, just to use up the $100 in credits. Made a couple of new friends. 🙂

Kevin
Guest

4 – $50 E-gift cards thru Delta worked 11/25/17

James Valle
Guest

I just purchased 2 $50 E-Gift cards from Southwest. I made the first transaction on 12/1/17 and the second on 12/4/17. I was reimbursed for both.

Nick
Guest

How long did the reimbursement take? I did the same thing and haven’t heard anything for three days.

BL
Guest

First year on the PRG card and used $50 on UA baggage fees in Sept, then realize in Dec that even gift registry doesn’t work! Used online chat 2 days ago and asked nicely to switch to Southwest, tellling them I don’t plan to fly UA anymore. Wish granted, no question asked. Have yet to buy gift card, will do so today. We all need to tell Amex this kind of air credit really sucks! Need to be like CSR or at least any airline charge!

Gladys
Guest

Frontier Discount Den annual membership for me and my husband was reimbursed last week

Byron
Guest

My experience with Ritz Carlton was to message Chase and tell them what charge to cover and within 24 hours I got the credit in my account. I used the Ritz C for doing seat upgrades whether paying or points for the seat. Strange perk, but kinda nice. On the fence about cancelling this one.

trackback

[…] help cut through the noise, we’ve created a page that lists the things that work with Amex: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?  This page is specific to Amex fee reimbursements, but many of the things that work with Amex are […]

Amanda
Guest

I purchased 4 $50 Delta (my selected airline) e-gift cards with American Express Platinum on 11/27/17. I was NOT reimbursed – coded as “airline – travel”.

Pam
Guest

AA e-gift card 12/5 for $100. Amex Platinum business card. Reimbursed.

Dan
Guest

May I ask which website do you purchase AA e-gift card?

Pam
Guest

AA.com

veeRob
Guest

As I said on another post, I have an amazing hack if you have no purchases planned for your Amex Platinum. Don’t want to post it publicly, so DM me on Twitter if you want to learn.

Pam
Guest

@veeRob Per Twitter: This user doesn’t follow you. You can only send messages to people who do. Wish I could DM you but I can’t
-@pammcl

veeRob
Guest

Followed. 🙂

Nick
Guest

I have same issue. I cannot DM you unless you follow me. I am @nzbuyer on twitter.

ronald temple
Guest

Award fees for southwest qualify for reimbursement dec 2017

Jonathan
Guest

I just got the following reimbursed Saturday (12/09):

1. $100 American Airlines credit on Gold card via PHYSICAL gift cards (two $50 gift cards)
2. $200 American Airlines credit on Platinum Business Card via Physical gift cards (four $50 gift cards)

A. Nonymous
Guest

Jonathan, did you purchase those gift cards on AA’s website or elsewhere? Thanks.
A.N.

Jonathan McClure
Guest

Directly from website

Jonathan McClure
Guest

After ordering directly from American Airlines website, reimbursement took about 4 Days.

Jonathan McClure
Guest

I also ordered them bundled. (I.e., 4 $50 Gift cards with one shipping fee on platinum for $205. Likewise, 2 $50 Gift Cards with one shipping fee on gold card for $105).

trackback

[…] We have published a new resource page with the latest information about what still works. See that page for the latest information about what still works to trigger your automatic airline fee […]

trackback

[…] calendar to utilize your new travel credit, it might make sense to go with another airline. You can read about some of the options that still work for the Amex travel credit here. Make sure you pay attention to the specific differences in the types of purchases, as there can be a […]

Jonathan
Guest

Southwest has a 24 hour refund policy (get your money back) for non-refundable tickets.

Set SW, as airline of choice. Immediately bought 3 (non-refundable) tickets ($41, $92, $92). I cancelled 1 immediately after booking it, and cancelled the other two, the next day (~20 hours). Once the transactions hit amex (a few days later), credits were posted the following day for all 3 tickets (adding up to $200). Statement shows the charge & refunds from SW (in addition to the travel credits).

I know this page is specific to amex, but this also worked for wf propel world ($100 credit).

Jonathan
Guest

oh and a single $200 sw e-gc worked, i want to say as of 3 weeks ago (i tried that on another card, before learning about the ticket trick)… thats not new though (flyertalk has a new data point about that working pretty much every other day)

Andrew
Guest

I have the Amex Personal Platinum and the following worked for me in December 2017 with AA as my airline of choice:

$40 – one 500 mile upgrade purchased at the gate at LAS (yes, I know this isn’t the greatest use, but I needed to one more 500 mile upgrade on a long flight).

$160 – AA e-gift card

Anna
Guest

Bout 2 SW $50 gift cards on Dec 13, and 2 more on Dec 16 and the credit posted already.

Marcus infrequent miler
Guest
Marcus infrequent miler

Received airline credit on Amex platinum, with AlaskaAir as preferred airline.

On 12/17, Ordered 3 tickets for $64.20, $64.20 and $70.20 each (flight was a AlaskaAir flight). On 12/20 credits were received on credit cards. I then canceled flights and now have $198.40 in my alaska air wallet that must be used by 12/17/18. I repeated same flights on wife’s card last night, hope for same success! Thanks for all the great tips!

Jimmmm
Guest

You’re welcome Marcus 😉

Marcus
Guest

Repeated same thing again (same tickets) for wifes amex card. Amex credits posted exactly 96 hrs after ticket purchase. Same as first time around.

sandy
Guest

I just purchased 2 $50 E-Gift cards from Southwest. I made the first transaction on 12/15/17 and the second on 12/19/17. I was reimbursed on 12/18 and 12/21/2017.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Updated info about Delta eGC method of purchase to trigger the credit.

trackback

[…] Specifically, according to data points uncovered from Flyertalk, eGift cards purchased through the desktop version of the website are processed by Delta and those purchased through the mobile site are processed by CashStar. You’ll want to buy gift cards in denominations of $50 or less from the desktop site to trigger your automatic airline incidentals credits. We’ve added that information to our resource page: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements: What still works?. […]

Brian
Guest

$200 gift card still worked for AA on 12/31/17!

Nick
Guest

Verified Reimbursement:
American Airlines E-Giftcard purchased on 12/27/2017
American Airlines EGiftcard purchased on 12/30/2017

KKM19
Guest

Selected Southwest as my airline for 2018 on 1/12 and minutes later purchased a $200 Southwest Gift Card. Received the credit from AMEX on 1/14.

Zach
Guest

Does an seat upgrade to delta comfort (i.e. a seat with more legroom) “officially” count for the airline credit? I am a bit confused because last year they reimbursed this but I just purchased another one in early january and still have not received the reimbursement. I believe the one last year was reimbursed within days.

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

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[…] Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works … […]

Nick Reyes
Editor

Updated with February 2018 Southwest data points ($90 airfare automatically credited; award fees automatically credited).

Nick Reyes
Editor

Added two more Southwest data points: $40 fee for A1-A15 boarding (purchased at the gate) was automatically credited. The $8 fee for onboard Wi-Fi was not.

Brad
Guest

$200 SW egift card confirmed working March 2018

Nick Reyes
Editor

I updated the date on that to reflect your recent report. Thanks!

trackback

[…] every version of the personal Platinum card comes with $200 in airline incidental credits (See: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?) and $200 in annual Uber credits that also work for UberEATS (though note that this is split into […]

trackback

[…] fee — $550 per year — though it comes with $200 in airline incidental credits (See: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?) and $200 in annual Uber credits that I believe still work for UberEATS (though note that this is […]

trackback

[…] For details about which charges are likely to be reimbursed, please see: Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works? […]

mdh
Guest

I just got a platinum mercedes benz card and the premier rewards gold card, and successfully got reimbursed $100 $100 for American Airlines gift cards on platinum and $100 on gold. (on platinum did 2 e gift cards in $100 increments.) March 2018 made the purchases and have already been reimbursed.

MarcoPolo
Guest

Are Emergency Travel Benefits covered if you pay partial towards incidentals for booking air tickets with this card similar to CSR?
I’m just trying to figure out which card should I use to get the maximum benefits for my upcoming travel on AA/Etihad booking.
Another question:
Can you use AA gift card to buy duty free stuff onboard AA or partner flight ?

Tony
Guest

Southwest E-giftcard for $100 triggered $100 reimbursement on my Amex PRG. Thanks for the info!