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 high annual fees charged by personal Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cards.  Similarly, the Amex Gold card offers up to $100 per year in airline fee reimbursements to help offset that card’s annual fee.  And the Hilton Aspire offers up to $250 per year in airline fee reimbursements.

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 $100 e-gift card 2/8/2019 (along with several other recent reports as of 2/19)
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 via desktop site 9/18 (Santi C)
$50 10/10/17
Three $50 purchased at once (reported 7/2/18)
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)
One $50 purchases via desktop 9/18 (Miles Enthusiast)
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

 What works? Recent Reports
$9 Fare Club Membership $69 11/18 (Joe)
 

Southwest

What Works? Recent Reports
Airfare under $100 $90 2/18
$62.50 8/18 (Two tix under same record locator for $62.50 each – Lia)
E-gift card $200 12/21/18
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)
$185 e-Gift card Charge posted 6/22/18, no reimbursement as of 7/9/18 (Katie)
 

United

What Works? Recent Reports
Only standard stuff Economy Plus, United Club, Pet Fee, Same Day Flight Change
Seat upgrade Made through kiosk 11/18 (Ambrosio)
What Fails? Recent Reports
Upgrade from economy to first class
$175 charge on 12/27/2018 may have been too large to look like a fee
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.  For example, see: Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works?

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
CNB Crystal Visa Infinite 6/1/18 $56.02 Southwest fee to change from anytime to Business Select (Justice Jen)

Last updated on February 12th, 2019

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

179
Leave a Reply

avatar
101 Comment threads
78 Thread replies
67 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
98 Comment authors
benjinitoStefanoBenTravisMarty Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
trackback

[…] $100 airline fee credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental expenses like baggage fees at one selected airline (see what works here). […]