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How does the Amex Platinum travel credit work?

The credit covers incidentals on one airline that you must designate at the start of the year

Summary

The airline fee credit on the Amex Platinum card can go a long way toward offsetting its annual fee – if you know how to use it.

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For frequent travelers who enjoy lush perks, you can’t ask for more luxury benefits than what comes with The Platinum Card® from American Express. From comprehensive airport lounge access to complimentary gold status with Hilton Honors, the Platinum card is designed for reward travelers – if they can shoulder the card’s steep $550 annual fee.

See related: Best travel credit cards

Despite the large price tag, the Amex Platinum offers plenty of great ways for users to offset this cost. Beyond the value of perks like lounge access, cardholders can enjoy credits with real cash value – including up to $200 in Uber credits per year.

One of the Platinum card’s most valuable credits covers up to $200 in airline incidental purchases each year, on a designated airline of the cardholder’s choice. To get the full value out of this particular benefit, it is important to understand what purchases it will cover and how to get credit for them.

A favorite of luxury travelers

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express

Why should you get this card?

The American Express Platinum card carries one of the highest annual fees for a card in its class; however, you can’t beat its extensive list of luxury travel perks, including access to exclusive Centurion lounges.

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Other things to know:

  • 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, 5 points per dollar on eligible hotels booked with amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar on general purchases
  • 60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months
  • Wide-reaching lounge access
  • $200 airline fee credit for incidentals
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits per year
  • Hilton Honors gold status

 

What airlines are eligible for the travel credit?

At the beginning of each calendar year, Amex Platinum cardholders must select one qualifying airline for their $200 airline fee credit. You are allowed to change your choice once per year, in January. You can choose from:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

If any year you do not select a new airline, your choice from the previous year will roll over.

What purchases are eligible for the travel credit?

Once you make your selection, your credit will cover incidental purchases and fees, but not airfare. Despite your ticket price being excluded, there are still plenty of transactions you can cover with the credit. Eligible purchases include the following:

  • Checked baggage fees
  • Premium seat fees
  • Flight change fees
  • In-flight purchases, such as food and entertainment (must be charged by airline and not a third party)
  • Airport lounge day passes

Since baggage fees often cost as much as $60, you can easily use up the entire $200 credit by flying just a few times per year.

What purchases are not eligible for the travel credit?

Most notably, the Amex Platinum airline fee credit cannot be applied toward airfare. Additionally, in-flight purchases billed by a third-party (instead of the airline) will not be covered by the credit. For instance, if you purchase in-flight Wi-Fi, but the purchase is billed by the internet provider, you won’t get a credit. Other purchases that are excluded from the credit include the following:

  • Gift cards
  • Mileage/point purchases
  • Award tickets
  • Duty-free purchases

How do I receive my travel credit?

Luckily, it is easy to take advantage of your $200 airline fee credit with the American Express Platinum card, since it posts automatically. As you make qualifying purchases, you’ll receive statement credits to cover the cost within two to four weeks of the purchase date – until you meet the full $200.

Tips for maximizing the Amex Platinum travel credit

The Amex Platinum airline fee credit is incredibly easy to take advantage of, but make sure to follow these tips to get the most value out of the perk.

  • Don’t forget to select your preferred airline each January to receive the travel credit.
  • Add up your purchases with each airline at the end of each year, to inform your next selection.
  • Charge all purchases with an airline to your Platinum card, including in-flight transactions.
  • Keep a close eye on your card statement to ensure your credit covers all the purchases you want it to.

Other travel cards with travel credits

While it’s true the Amex Platinum has a travel credit that can be hugely beneficial to frequent flyers, other travel credit cards offer a similar perk with more flexible redemption options. The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example, charges the same $550 annual fee as the Amex Platinum, but offers a $300 travel credit that is automatically applied toward any travel purchase – including airfare. If you don’t spend much on travel incidentals, this could be a better option for you.

Alternatively, some cards with a lower annual fee also come with a travel credit – if a $550 price tag is out of your reach. One option is the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card, which comes with a $100 credit per year for travel incidentals. Since the card’s annual fee is only $95, it is easy to get plenty of value out of this perk.

If you’d prefer to stick with Membership Rewards, the American Express® Gold Card charges a more affordable annual fee than the Amex Platinum – $250 – and offers an airline fee credit of up to $100 with the same restrictions and qualifications as the Platinum credit.

Final thoughts

The Platinum Card from American Express is loaded with benefits for frequent travelers – including a $200 credit per year for airline incidentals. Though you have to be proactive and select your qualifying airline each year, the credit can help cover all kinds of fees and extras that save you money on your travel all year long.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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