How to use your $200 Amex Platinum airline credit by 12/31 – or lose it
A friendly reminder to those of you who hold the The Platinum Card® from American Express. Earlier this year they rolled out a feature which gives you a $200 credit toward incidental fees on a single airline of your choice each calendar year.
The key here is each calendar year. So if you don’t use the credit by 12/31 you will lose it. The fee credit is pretty broad, so you don’t have to have a flight by the end of the year to take full advantage of it. One tactic is to buy online gift certificates from the airline of your choice, which you can use at a later date to buy tickets for your self or others.
Continental.com sells electronic gift certificates in many denominations. I had no problem buying one for $199 and getting it credited by American Express within a few days. The gift certificate has a 5 year+ lifespan so it will be easy to get full value, and it’s transferable to friends and family. It effectively reduces the annual fee on my Platinum Card to just $250 per year, a great deal for Delta, American, and US Airways lounge access.
- Gift cards — American, Alaska, Continental, US Airways, and Southwest sell them online and let you redeem them online (you can use them for your own future ticket purchases)
- Change fees — if you face a penalty for changing a reservation
- Checked baggage fees
- In flight meal purchases
- Lounge passes
- United Club membership (this costs more than $200, but Amex will reimburse $200 of it. They are being lenient here because Continental / United left their program earlier this year)
Here are the terms and conditions from American Express — basically, if the charge is from the airline you choose, and doesn’t show up as a ticket it’s likely to qualify:
- “Incidental air travel fees must be charged on the enrolled Card account for the benefit to apply. Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges. Fees not charged by the Card member’s airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits. Upgrade charges are not deemed to be incidental fees. The airline must submit the incidental air travel fees under the appropriate merchant code, industry code, or required service or product identifier for the charge to be eligible.”