There’s a good reason why American Express dominates the travel industry. It’s simple to pick an AmEx card that meets your needs thanks to the variety of co-branded credit and charge cards available. An airline fee credit, which reimburses you for specific expenditures made while flying, is another feature of several of these cards. You may find this credit useful while traveling even if you don’t travel much.
Let’s examine the cards that offer this feature, the various categories of qualified spending, and how to use the American Express airline credit.
How the American Express airline credit is used
1. Select the American Express card
Since not all cards offer this credit, the first step in using the AmEx airline credit is to make sure you have one. Several of these offer the advantages:
- American Express Platinum Card®
- The American Express Business Platinum Card®
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
Which card you currently have will determine how much credit you get: A $200 yearly airline fee credit is offered by both the American Express Platinum Card® and the Business Platinum Card®. In contrast, a $250 yearly credit is offered by the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Terms are relevant.
2. Decide which airline is your top choice
Not all airlines qualify for and get the American Express airline credit automatically. As an alternative, you will first need to choose which particular airline the credit will be redeemed for if you want to use it for eligible purchases. Among these are:
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
If you’ve scheduled a flight with a codeshare partner, you probably won’t be able to use the credit until the purchase is made directly through one of these airlines, since you’ll see that there aren’t any foreign carriers on the list.
And finally, you should exercise caution while choosing an airline. Selecting that carrier will probably make the most sense if you normally fly with just one. If you’re not sure which airline to select, remember that low-cost carriers with a lot of costs, like Frontier and Spirit, might give you more chances than others to use your credits for redemption.
3. Making your purchase
Redeeming the credit is simple once you’ve decided which airline to apply for with The Platinum Card® from American Express airline credit. All you have to do is use your card to make an eligible transaction, and in two to four weeks, your account will receive an automatic credit back.
AmEx’s language on this front is ambiguous, referring to merely “incidental fees,” and not all expenses are eligible for this credit. But it does list several items that cannot be reimbursed with credit:
- Airline or reward tickets.
- Acquisition of mileage points and transfer charges.
- Cards as gifts.
- Purchases made without duty.
Costs that qualify for the American Express airline credit
AmEx gives airline credit, but not all expenses qualify for a refund. AmEx does not keep a single definitive list for this credit, although it does provide examples for use that include in-flight refreshments and checked baggage fees.
Here are some other uses for the airline credit from American Express
Fees when Selecting a Seat
The AmEx airline credit also reimburses these costs on your chosen airline, even if you can also get a free seat assignment if you have airline elite status or an eligible economy class ticket.
Fortunately, normal economy seat assignments are not the only ones that qualify for the AmEx airline charge credit. Therefore, the costs associated with choosing a seat that places you in the economy plus or main cabin extra can also be compensated if you’re hoping for a little extra legroom.
But bear in mind that AmEx specifically states that upgrades are not eligible for this credit, so you cannot use it to pay for a first-class flight instead of an economy one.
Membership and access to lounges
While Priority Pass Select is included with each of these AmEx cards, you might still have to pay for lounge access in some circumstances. Maybe you’re paying for an additional person, or you’ve decided to commit to a yearly lounge membership with a certain airline.
Either way, American Express airline credit can be used to reimburse lounge membership and entry expenses. But keep in mind that you have to be a member of the same airline that you choose for your credit to visit the club.
Baggage check-out is free with many co-branded credit cards, but if you don’t have (or want) one, you can use the AmEx airline credit to cover these costs. This is true for fees associated with overweight or excess baggage as well as checked bag rates.
If you’re not traveling internationally, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a complimentary meal on your journey. However, airlines do occasionally offer some light beverages. Midway through your flight, if you get hungry, you can purchase food and drinks and have them paid for using the credit. Make sure you’ve chosen your airline to receive the compensation beforehand.
The ability to have pet costs fully paid by the American Express Platinum airline credit is one of the biggest benefits for Southwest and many other airline customers.