We all knew it would end eventually. While American Express’ annual airline fee credits on various credit and charge card products was always meant to be used for incidental charges, reality was that you could buy airline gift cards from a number of airline and still trigger the credit. In many (most?) cases, this represents far better value for most people. It also meant Amex was getting very little breakage from anyone who took advantage of this.

But now it appears that the Amex airline credit gift card option is dead. Not just mostly dead. Totally dead.

Delta and Southwest Are the Last to Go

A number of months ago there were reports that American Airlines gift card purchases began to stop triggering the Amex airline fee credit. I did not experience this, fortunately, but it made me rush to finish cashing out my credit for Delta gift card purchases.

Now it appears the last two are dead. With both qualifying and non-qualifying activity (by American Express’ terms) posting to people’s statements, it appears Amex has finally fixed the “glitch” that so many of us took advantage of for so long.


I knew that American Express would eventually catch up to those of us who have always cashed out the credit this way. I’ve honestly never used the airline credit as Amex intended. However, this change results in a substantial reduction in the value of many premium Amex cards, including the Hilton Aspire, which is a newfound favorite of mine. Getting and keeping a Platinum card makes even less sense to me now than it ever has. If I ever do finally jump on that 100,000-point offer, it’ll be for the sign up bonus alone. American Express has created so much breakage with the terms of all their various credits that the card makes zero sense to me as a keeper.

H/T: Doctor of Credit