30 Nov Use Your Amex Airline Fee Credits!

With Thanksgiving in the books, it is practically 2017 already! If you have any outstanding 2016 New Year’s Resolutions, consider a push to 2017! 

Though, if traveling more and/or saving money made it on your 2016 list, I still might be able to help you out!

If you are an American Express Premier Rewards Gold, American Express Platinum or American Express Business Platinum cardholder – remember those annual $100/$200 Airline Fee Credits? Well read on to put them to good use and maximize your travel savings!

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No plans to travel before the end of the year? No fear!

If you don’t have one of those 3 cards, consider an application as soon as possible in order to “double-dip” into this calendar year benefit – i.e. receive the benefit at the end of 2016 and then again in 2017!

What is an Annual Airline Fee Credit?

Well, as a benefit of being an American Express cardholder, you have the opportunity to select a qualifying airline and receive up to $100-$200 per calendar year in statement credits when incidental fees, such as baggage fees and other incidentals, are charged by the airline to your credit card.

What is an Incidental?

Incidental airline fees include baggage fees, seat selection fees, and more. Keep in mind that incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges in order to qualify for reimbursement from Amex.

To give a better idea of what qualifies as an incidental airline fee, here is what does not qualify:

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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.

This is the primary downside of the credit – no credit for airfare! Compare the Amex Airline Fee Credit to the $300 Annual Travel Credit offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which can be used on airfare and hotel cost, and you can spot Amex inferiority from a mile away!

Which Amex Gets What?

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Cardholders – $100 Annual Airline Fee Credit

American Express Platinum Cardholders (and related Platinum versions like Ameriprise & Mercedes-Benz) – $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit

American Express Business Platinum Cardholders – $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit

For those interested in the “double-dip” – a successful Platinum Card application now could mean $200 now and another $200 in January (or later in 2017) for a total of $400 in credits!

Select Your Airline

Before you can earn your Airline Fee Credit, you must pick a qualifying airline to use it with! Please do not forget this step – I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Ok maybe I could stress it enough if I bolded it or underlined it, but you are a detail reader and don’t need such ridiculous emphasis!

Here is how to select:

Start by going to this link!

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Use you normal Amex login credentials!

Sign in, select your card, and pick one of the following an airlines from the drop-down menu:

Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest, or United!

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Select your airline from the drop-down list!

BAM! You’re all set! You should receive an email confirmation shortly!

Note: I always hold off on making any qualifying airline incidental purchase until I receive the email confirmation.

Maximizing the Credit

With 2016 almost in the books, you may not have any travel left to utilize your remaining credit on incidentals.

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December is almost upon us, people!

Bummer, right?

Wrong! Lucky for you, with a little planning and effort, the statement credit is not just limited to airline incidentals like baggage fees, but can also apply to certain gift card purchases which can be used at a later date – like sometime in 2017!

This is against the Amex terms and there is no telling when Amex will get wise to this loophole ,so buyer beware! That said, I have had success with some of the following and have read reports on FlyerTalk of all of these methods still being in play!

Note: For each of these methods you will have to set your qualifying airline to the related gift card purchase you want to make. For example, set your airline to Southwest, and then purchase a Southwest e-gift card.

Southwest:

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Purchase SW gift cards in increments of $100 or less!

Visit FlyerTalk for more details

United:

  • Purchase Amazon gift cards via the United MileagePlus X App (Note: I have recently read some reports of credits not posting so hold off on this for now.)

OR

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You don’t need to have a wedding to have a gift registry!

Visit FlyerTalk for more details

American:

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AA Gift Cards – max $50 per card!

Note – American Airlines online gift cards are sent immediately but are subject to a 72-hour hold before they can be applied to airfare.

Visit FlyerTalk for more details

Delta:

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Keep Delta e-gift cards to $50 per card or less!

Note – Delta e-gift cards are sent immediately but are subject to a 72-hour hold before they can be applied to airfare.

Visit FlyerTalk for more details

Final Thought

It is not too late to use your airline fee credits for airline gift cards! And if you don’t currently have an American Express card that offers an airline fee credit, it’s not too late to double-dip and take advantage of twice the credits (one for 2016 calendar year and the also for the upcoming 2017 calendar year)!

Before you do anything though, make sure to set your qualifying airline!

I have a few cards with airline fee credits still available and will be taking advantage of some of the above gift card options within the coming days!

Send me a note at derek@accountingyourpoints.com or drop me a comment below.

Happy Travels!

DW

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