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A number of American Express Platinum Cards offer cardholders an airline fee credit as a way of helping them offset part of their card’s annual fee (or, as a way of helping them justify their card’s annual fee) but at some point in the past few days, this benefit became a little weaker.
Various US-issued Amex Platinum cards allow cardholders to nominate a single domestic airline whose fees they can have rebated when they use their card to pay for those fees (up to a cap of $200/year).
Up until recently, the list of airlines that cardholders could choose from looked like this:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- United Airlines
Now, however, if you head over to your Platinum Card’s benefits page, you’ll probably find that the list of airlines that you can choose from, is missing one of the names above.
Holders of the Platinum Card® from American Express can no longer select Frontier as their airline of choice.
I don’t have a Business Platinum® Card from American Express so I can’t be sure if its airline fees benefit has been changed in the same way, but I would be shocked if it hasn’t.
This change appears to have been first noticed by devilm116 on Reddit and they say that when they questioned Amex about this change, they were told that while Amex will honor the rebate of Frontier airline credits for cardholders who have already selected Frontier as their airline of choice, but Frontier will not be a valid option for 2023. [HT: DoC]
Frontier is a low-cost carrier and so charges a wide variety of fees that qualify for the Amex airline fee credit, and that had made it a useful airline to have as a Platinum Card holder’s airline of choice*.
It’s also an airline whose basic fares are often so low that they appear to be fees rather than airfares and have, therefore, often also triggered a Platinum Card’s credit.
It’s tempting to say that Amex has had enough of cardholders being able to use up their airline fee credits with ease when booking with Frontier and that’s why Frontier will no longer be an option for cardholders going forward, but it’s far from obvious that this is what’s going on.
That argument ignores the fact that both Spirit and Southwest both still appear to be options for Platinum Card holders, and both of those airlines charge fees (and low fares) that are easily offset by the airline fee credit as well. If Amex is unhappy with how easily the airline fee credits are being used, why are those airlines still options?
I don’t have the answer here, but I am a little worried by this development.
Hopefully, Amex’s decision to remove Frontier is down to something that specifically relates to Frontier and is not just a result of the card issuer trying to make it even harder for us to use our card’s airline fee credit.
If it’s the former, that’s not too bad, but if it’s the latter, then Spirit and Southwest may be next and that would be very, very bad news.
If you’re a Platinum Card holder who has enjoyed being able to select Frontier as your airline of choice for the Amex Platinum airline fee credit, be aware that this will be the last year that you’ll be able to do so.
Amex has removed Frontier from the list of airlines eligible for a Platinum Card’s airline fee credit and, apparently, it will not be returning in 2023.
*A lot of Platinum Card holders will have elite status with their primary domestic airline and so on, most of their domestic flights, will rarely incur any fees that can be offset by the Amex credit.