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Selecting the airline on which to use the Platinum Card’s airline fee credit is usually one of the first things that a lot of people do when they get their Platinum Card in the mail. What a lot of people often forget is that you can change the airline on which you use the airline fee credit once every year and that the one time this change can be made is at the beginning of every calendar year – in January.
Platinum Card Airline Fee Credit – What You Need To Know
The Platinum Card airline fee credit is worth $200 per calendar year but it comes with a significant number of restrictions.
Only select domestic airlines are eligible for the Platinum Card airline fee credit:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- United Airlines
Holders of the Platinum Card can only nominate one airline per year as the airline whose fees they’d like to have rebated (up to $200/year). Once an airline choice has been made (in January of every year) the choice is set for the rest of the year and cannot be changed.
The airline fee credit does not cover airfare. Examples of airline charges that American Express says will trigger the fee credit include:
- Baggage fees
- Seat selection fees
- Change fees
- Pet fees
- In-flight purchases of drinks, food, and amenities
- In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wifi)
- Airline lounge day passes and annual memberships
Officially, the following charges will not be rebated:
- Upgrade fees
- Gift card purchases
- Award fees
- Mileage purchases
- Mileage transfer fees
- Duty-free purchases
I’ve used the word ‘officially’ very deliberately (above) because, as with a lot of things in life, there can be exceptions to the rules (e.g. some gift card purchases may still trigger the credit and some upgrade fees have been known to trigger the credit)…but you shouldn’t bank on this happening.
Personally, I only got around to using my 2020 airline fee credit last month and because I have American Airlines selected as my airline of choice, I purchased four 500-mile upgrades for exactly $200 and then saw the airline fee credit (for that purchase) post just a few days later:
Just like most people, the amount of flying I did last year was down considerably on most other years so I didn’t really have much opportunity to use my airline fee credit organically. ..hence the purchase of upgrades.
For me, buying upgrades is the next best thing to using the airline fee credit organically as I know that I’ll definitely get to use them and I know that I’ll get to use them on a sector where an upgrade is very welcome (e.g. on a transcon or on a Los Angeles – Hawaii route). For others, a different way to trigger the airline fee credit will be more optimal.
Choosing a low-cost carrier like Spirit or Frontier for your airline credit airline is always a good way to go (assuming you fly with these airlines) as they both love to charge fees and that makes using the full $200 credit remarkably easy year after year.
Selecting An Airline
If you are a new Platinum Card cardholder and haven’t yet chosen an airline for your airline fee credit you can make your choice at any time (although the sooner you make your choice the sooner you can start to claw back some of the annual fee).
If you’re an existing Platinum Card holder you have the whole of January of each year to reconfirm your airline selection or to change your decision from the prior year.
The easiest way to make your airline selection is to head over to this American Express webpage, log in to the American Express account linked to your Platinum Card and make your selection on the page that opens up.
If (for some reason) the link above won’t resolve, you can access your airline fee credit benefit by following these simple steps:
- Log in to your American Express online account
- Click on “benefits” from the top menu bar
- Scroll down the benefits page until you see the airline fee credit appear. In my case, this is what that looks like (I currently have American Airlines selected as my airline of choice):
If you have a particular domestic airline with which you fly a lot then that may be the obvious airline for you to choose, but don’t forget that if you have elite status with that airline there’s a good chance that a lot of the ancillary fees it charges may be complimentary as part of your benefits package – you may be better off selecting a secondary airline with whom you don’t have elite status and where there’s a greater chance that you’ll be hit with a few unavoidable fees.
Other Amex Cards Offer Airline Fee Credits Too
I’ve focused on the consumer Platinum Card in this post because that’s the card that’s most associated with the airline fee credit and because it a card that I hold…but other cards offer this credit too.
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express offers a credit of up to $200
- The American Express Gold Card offers a credit of up to $100*
- The Hilton Honors Aspire Card offers a credit of up to $250
If you hold one or more of these cards, don’t forget to check that whatever airline you currently have linked to your card is actually the airline that’s going to let you trigger the airline credit easiest.
*2021 will be the final year in which this benefit will be offered on the Gold Card.
The month of January is the one period of the year in which holders of select American Express cards can change the airline that’s associated with their card(s) for the purposes of the airline fee credit so now would be a good time to review the position you find yourself in if you hold one of the cards mentioned in this post.
Have a think about which airlines you’re likely to fly this year, which airline is likely to charge you fees that you have no way of avoiding, and which airline is likely to give you the most opportunities to earn the full airline fee credit that your card offers…and then make your selection before the end of January.
Which airline are you choosing to nominate for your Amex airline fee credit and why?