How to use your Amex airline fee credit

One of the best American Express credit card perks is the annual credit for airline incidental fees. This is a valuable and easy-to-use benefit that comes with cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card.

With it, you can get up to $100, $200 or $250 toward incidentals on your airline of choice, and the credits renew each calendar year. You can choose which airline the credit will apply to when you open the card, but it has to be used by the end of the year — which is approaching quickly.

Here’s how to select your airline and a look at what types of fees do (and don’t) qualify for these credits.

Too many bags to haul through the airport? Use an Amex airline-fee credit to help cover the cost of checked-bag fees. (Photo by ULU_BIRD/Shutterstock.)

How to select your airline

You can change your selected airline by logging into your Amex account or calling the number on the back of your card. You can choose one of these airlines for your credit:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • Spirit
  • United Airlines

Step 1. Log into your Amex account

To begin, log into your Amex account and click on the card you want to access.  Select the “More” tab and then click “Benefits.”

Under the section titled “Airline Fee Credit,” click “Enroll Now.”

Step 2.  Pick your airline

Afterward, you’ll see a screen with a drop-down menu with all your airline options.

After you set your airline, the terms state that you can’t change it until the following January, so be certain you select the one you want most. (Some cardholders have been able to change it at other times by chatting with an Amex representative.)

Step 3. Confirm your selection

Once you’ve made your choice, click “Submit Selection.”

Step 4.  Remember your selection

You can start spending on your selected airline right away. Should you forget which airline you chose, you can always log in to find out.

Amex says qualifying fees will be reimbursed within two to four weeks, but in our experience it’s much faster – usually two to five business days.

If you made a qualifying charge and haven’t received a statement credit after a few weeks, call Amex at the number on the back of your card to see if they’ll manually apply the credit for you.

Amex cards that offer an airline-fee credit

These Amex cards come with airline-fee credits that reset each calendar year (terms apply):

If you have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, choosing the right airline is even more important because you’ll get an extra benefit: Using the Amex Pay With Points feature to purchase airfare through the Amex travel portal, cardholders get a 35% points rebate on all business- and first-class tickets (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year). And you’ll get the same 35% points rebate on all coach flights booked with your selected airline through the Amex travel portal using the Pay With Points feature.

You can use the credit for fees including:

  • Checked baggage fees (including overweight/oversize)
  • Itinerary change fees
  • Phone reservation fees
  • Pet flight fees
  • Seat assignment fees
  • Inflight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, headphones)
  • Inflight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet because it’s not charged by the airline)
  • Airport lounge day passes and annual memberships

You cannot use fee credits for fees including:

  • Airline tickets
  • Upgrades
  • Mileage-points purchases
  • Mileage-points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty-free purchases
  • Award tickets

In the past, it was possible to get these fee credits to work for things like gift cards and cheap flights on some airlines, but that is no longer true.

Once you charge a qualifying purchase to the card, you should see the fee credit within one billing cycle. If they don’t, you can always call an Amex representative and have the credits applied manually.

Bottom line

Amex cards with airline incidental credits include (terms apply):

These fee credits reset each calendar year and can be used for incidentals like checked bag fees, seat assignment fees, airport lounge day passes and more.

If you have experience with reimbursement for airline-fee credits, please share.

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