Amex Platinum and PRG Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?

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Update (12/8/17): 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 reimbursements.


US Credit Card Guide recently reported from an Amex source that Amex has a new “Rewards Abuse Team” that is cracking down on some tricks people have used to get airline fee reimbursements and to meet minimum spend requirements.  For the former, they reportedly said that the MileagePlus X App would no longer work for earning airline fee reimbursements, but airline gift cards would continue to work.  Due to the shifting sands here, I decided that it would make sense for me to keep track of what works and what doesn’t here on this blog.

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-platinum-200-fee-reimbursement

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.  But, time is ticking away for those who haven’t yet earned their credits.  As long as there are easy ways to get those credits, it’s like throwing away money to not grab them.

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.  If you don’t have travel to pay for, then you might as well at least buy gift card credit, right?

What purchases count… officially?

American Express’ terms for the Airline Fee Credit state the following rules:

  • Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges.
    [In other words, if an otherwise qualifying fee is bundled with airfare, it won’t be reimbursed]
  • Fees not charged by the Card Member’s airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits.
    [For example, If you picked American Airlines as your airline of choice and you buy something on board a flight marketed by AA, but flown by British Airways, it won’t be reimbursed]
  • Incidental air travel fees charged prior to selection of a qualifying airline are not eligible for statement credits.
    [You must pick your preferred airline before making reimbursable purchases]
  • 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.
    [Is anything left?]

Interestingly, as shown above, the terms explicitly state a number of things that do not count, but they’re silent on what does count.

What purchases count… unofficially?

In general, almost any charge other than an airline ticket made by your chosen airline will count in practice. This sometimes includes purchases that the Amex terms say won’t work: both gift card purchases and award ticket fees are often known to work.

In some cases, though, there seem to be maximum dollar limits.  For example, a while ago I tested many different scenarios of charging Delta award ticket fees to my Platinum card.  I found that I was reimbursed for all Delta award booking fees except for one that was slightly over $250.  A $200.90 fee worked, but a $258 fee did not.

Similarly, there appear to be limits to the size of gift cards purchased from airlines in order to get the credit.  Here is a breakdown of the major US airlines and what works and what doesn’t…

Alaska Airlines

The following purchases are known to trigger fee reimbursements:

American Airlines

The following purchases are known to trigger fee reimbursements:

Delta

The following purchases are known to trigger fee reimbursements:

Frontier

Hawaiian

The following purchases are known to trigger fee reimbursements:

Southwest

The following purchases are known to trigger fee reimbursements:

Spirit

United

The following purchases are known to trigger fee reimbursements:

With United, the following options NO LONGER WORK:

Reader Input

I’d like to fill out this page with more info.  If you have experience earning credits on purchases not listed above, or if you have experience not getting credit, please comment below.  I’m especially interested in airlines not yet listed above, such as Alaska and Southwest, but data about all airlines is welcome.

If you’re reporting a negative finding, please wait at least two weeks after purchase before declaring that the purchase didn’t work.  Also, of course, make sure 1) that you pre-selected that airline with Amex; and 2) that you haven’t already used up all of your reimbursement credits for the year.

If you report gift card purchases please let us know if they were physical gift cards or e-gift cards.

Thanks in advance!

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