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What Works for Amex Airline Fee Credits


What Works for Amex Airline Fee Credits

What Works for Amex Airline Fee Credits

American Express offers several high-end credit cards that come with substantial annual fees. One way to make sense of these fees, especially if you plan to keep the cards long term, is to take advantage of all the benefits they provide.

The airline incidental credit is one of those benefits and it can get you a value of up to $250 every calendar year. However, this credit is a bit tricky as it normally doesn’t let you cover paid airfare tickets. There are some workarounds though, and you can find the full list of options in this article. This is also one of the benefits that you can double- or even triple-dip.

So let’s get into it and find out what this benefit is exactly, and what works for Amex airline fee credits this year.

What is the Amex Airline Fee Credit

If you have an eligible American Express credit card, you can select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 or $250 in statement credits per calendar year when you pay for incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments. The statement credit is typically received within a few days but can take up to 6-8 weeks.

The Basic Card Member must select one qualifying airline online, or by calling the number on the back of their card. After the initial selection, you change the airline selection once each year in January, but you can often chat with an agent and change it online even later in the year.

Airline tickets, mileage points purchases or mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, upgrades, duty–free purchases, or award tickets are not eligible for statement credits, based on the terms of this benefit.

Eligible Cards

Eligible Airlines

Qualifying airlines include:

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

What Works for Amex Airline Fee Credits

Offer Terms

Card Members who have already selected one qualifying airline will be able to change their choice one time each year in January through their American Express Online Account or by calling the number on the back of the Card. Card Members who do not change their airline selection will remain with their current airline. But you can chat with an agent and change your selection.

Incidental airline fees must be charged to the Card Member on the eligible Card Account for the benefit to apply. Incidental airline fees charged by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $200 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Incidental airline fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges.

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. The airline must submit the charge under the appropriate merchant code, industry code, or required service or product identifier for the charge to be recognized as an incidental air travel fee.

Please allow 6-8 weeks for statement credit(s) to post to the Account. Call the number on the back of the Card if statement credits have not posted after 8 weeks from the date of purchase.

What Works?

The way this credit works, is a bit different from what is laid out in the terms. That means that you able to get the credit for some unexpected purchases such as paying for a flight. These unintended uses of airline incidental credits might change without notice, so always make sure to double check recent data points.

So let’s see some of the best uses for this credit, as of this year.

Alaska Airlines

  • Award redeposit fees
  • Fare difference when changing a flight and paying less than $50
  • Seat selection fees
  • Club membership fees
  • Airfare paid partially with a gift card and partially with credit card
  • Possibly saver fares that cost under $80

American Airlines

  • Main Cabin Extra and First Class Upgrades purchased at check-in kiosk
  • Day passes for Admirals Club
  • Admirals Club Food or Drink Purchases
  • In-flight food & beverage purchases
  • Upgrade stickers

Delta Airlines

  • Companion ticket taxes
  • Split airfare purchases resulting in a charge of less than $250 on your card (rest must be paid with gift card)
  • Comfort Plus upgrades
  • Award booking fees under $200
  • Lounge guest passes

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Airfare purchase under $50
  • Split airfare purchases resulting in a charge of less than $50 on your card (rest must be paid with gift card)
  • Extra comfort upgrades
  • In-flight food & beverage purchases
  • Seat upgrades

JetBlue Airways

  • Airfare purchase under $150
  • Split airfare purchases resulting in a charge of less than $100 on your card (rest must be paid with voucher)
  • Award booking fees
  • Cancellation fees
  • Seat selection fees
  • Even More upgrades

Spirit Airlines

  • Split airfare purchases (rest must be paid with airline credit)
  • $9 Fare Club membership
  • Big Front Seat

Southwest Airlines

  • Airfare purchase under $100. Look for $99 Wanna Get Away Plus fares.
  • Split airfare purchases resulting in a charge of less than $100 on your card (rest must be paid with gift card)
  • Early bird check-in
  • Award fees
  • Priority boarding
  • In-flight food & beverage purchases

United Airlines

Guru’s Wrap-up

Being able to maximize the American Express airline incidental fee credit is important for cardholders who pay high annual fees. The credit is not very straightforward, but you can maximize it and even double- and triple dip if you time your applications right. These credits vary between $200 for all the Platinum card versions, to $250 for the Hilton Honors Aspire card. 

The options listed below have been working recently to trigger these Amex airlines credits. But you should still look for data points, or try it out yourself with one purchase to verify. FlyerTalk is usually a good source of such data points if you want to do your own research.

Let me know if the comments how you plan to use the credits this year. Also provide any recent data points that you might have.



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