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A few weeks back, I wrote about how the Amex Platinum card wasn’t necessarily worth the annual fee. If you look at the reasons cited in this post, I outlined how using the Airline Fee Credit was a particular pain point for me. However, with the Hilton Aspire Card, I experimented a bit and it worked out. I was looking on maxing my credit out for the year and I got the entire $250 back!
Airline Fee Credit
This benefit is quite prevalent with many American Express cards. The fine print of the credit states that the following purchases do not qualify for the purpose of the credit:
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.
As per the fine print, this credit is supposedly an incidental credit for one or more of the following expenses with an airline:
- Checked baggage fees
- Itinerary change fees
- Phone reservation fees
- Seat assignment fees
- Inflight amenity fees
- Inflight entertainment fees (doesn’t include in-flight internet)
- Airport lounge day passes and Annual lounge memberships
- Inflight Pet fees
Cards offering the Airline Fee Credit Benefit
The following American Express Cards currently offer the Airline Fee Credit Benefit:
Amex Platinum Card (Personal)
Amex Platinum Card (Business)
Amex Gold Card
Hilton Aspire Card
Airline Credit Choice
Prior to booking the tickets, I looked up a few reports on Flyertalk in order to get some recent data points. While there were a few reports of successful reimbursements, the general consensus was that the entire deal was a YMMV situation. I decided to try it out and selected Alaska Airline as my airline choice in December.
If you carefully peruse some of the discussions on FlyerTalk, you’ll come across two sets of data points. Certain commenters point out that tickets under $50 trigger the credit. Some comment that even tickets under $100 get reimbursed. In order to test this out, I booked multiple one way tickets instead of booking round-trip tickets.
Within a few days, all of the purchases were reimbursed, to complete the total of $250 for the year. Out of the five purchases that I got the airline fee credit for, only one purchase was a seat assignment fee of $15.
Following were the five credits that I got: $48.30, $48.30, $78.29, $ 60.11 and $15.
Date of Purchase: 12/25 for the first two purchases, 12/26 for the remaining three
Date of Credit: 12/29 for the first two purchases, 12/31 for the remaining three
The Pundit’s Mantra
While you really have to find workarounds to maximize the airline fee credit, there’s one silver lining. The airline fee credit is offered per calendar year. I now have another $250 in airline fee credits to use for 2020.
With the airline fee credit benefit, it can always be a hit and miss scenario when you try to buy tickets with it. However, the great thing about this hobby is that until and unless you experiment on your own, you never really know what’s working and what isn’t. Data points on forums like FlyerTalk and Reddit can serve as a guideline, but you only know the outcome when you try it out by yourself.
Have you had success while trying to get the airline fee credited for expenses other that what Amex explicitly states in their terms and conditions? Have you had success doing something similar for a different airline? Let us know in the comments section.