Guide Amex Airline Credit
Since the American Express Airline Incidental Fee credit can be quite restrictive, it's important to choose the correct airline to maximize your credit. In this post I covered how you can use the credit without traveling: How to Use Amex Airline Credits Without Travel During Quarantine (2020). The American Express Airline Incidental Fee Credit is available on the following credit cards in the specified amounts.
- American Express Platinum Card $200
- American Express Business Platinum Card $200
- American Express Gold Card $100
- American Express Hilton Aspire Card $250
You can check out the video version of this post on my new YouTube Channel
How to Choose the Right Airline For You
Most people assume the best airline to select is the one they fly most frequently, but for regular travelers, that may not be the best choice. Since we're more likely to have airline status and/or co-branded airline credit cards for our preferred airline, a lot of the fees covered by the airline credit are waived, like checked bags for example or free upgrades to extra leg room seats. If you're an economy flier, Spirit and Frontier are fee fiends so it's really easy to rack up your credits with those airlines.
You might assume that the airline you most frequently fly with is the one to choose. It seems counter intuitive but you should consider an airline that you don't have status or co-branded credit cards with because they're where you're more likely to end up incurring incidental fees. Last year I chose AA as my airline because at the time, I was a top tier elite. I made it work as I detailed in this post but wish I would have diversified my airline selections because many eligible fees are waived for elite status holders.
One last thing to consider for Business Platinum Card members is that choosing the right airline is more important because your selected airline must be the same airline with which the 35% pay with points rebate benefit applies to. Using the Amex Pay With Points feature to purchase airfare through the Amex travel portal, cardholders get a 35% points rebate on all flights booked with your selected airline through the Amex travel portal in addition to all business- and first-class tickets (up to 500,000 points back per calendar year).
Which Airlines Can You Choose for your “Selected Airline” for the American Express Airfare Credit?
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
How does Amex airline credit work?
- Select one qualifying airline from the list above;
- Use your Amex Card to pay for eligible incidental travel fees on that airline.
- Get a statement credit within 2-4 weeks.
What can I use Amex airline credit for?
You can use the American Express Airline Incidental Fee credit for fees charged by your selected airline including:
Checked baggage fees (including overweight/oversize)
Itinerary change fees
Phone reservation fees
Pet flight fees
Seat assignment fees
Inflight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, headphones)
Inflight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet because it’s not charged by the airline)
Airport lounge day passes and annual memberships.
Amex allows you to downgrade premium credit cards to receive a prorated annual fee. Here's a detailed guide on how to downgrade for each bank, the rules and best options for each premium card. It could very well make sense for people to downgrade Amex Platinum to Amex Gold Cards or Green since you’re probably spending way more money on groceries and food delivery. Although of course sometimes it makes sense to upgrade even if the credits are hard to use. As far as the incidental fees, to check whether certain expenses will qualify for a credit check out the specific airlines’ thread on Flyertalk.