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How to use your $200 Amex Platinum airline fee credit in 2021

Choose the airline that’s best for you to use your Amex Platinum airline credit

Summary

The Platinum Card from American Express offers a number of premium travel benefits – including an annual $200 airline credit that can help offset the cost of incidental air travel fees.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a number of premium travel benefits – including an annual $200 airline credit that can be used to offset the cost of incidental air travel fees.

The Amex Platinum airline credit helps make this top rewards credit card an excellent choice for frequent flyers who don’t mind paying a $695 annual fee for a luxury travel experience. But what does the Amex Platinum airline credit cover, and how do you use your Amex Platinum airline credit during a year when travel may not yet be back to normal?

Let’s take a close look at this valuable American Express perk and what you need to know about using your $200 Amex Platinum airline fee credit in 2021.

How to use the Amex Platinum airline credit

Before you can use your American Express airline credit, you need to choose a qualifying airline. Select your airline by logging in to your Amex card’s online account and selecting your airline for this credit. Choose carefully because you won’t be able to change your qualifying airline until January of the next calendar year.

The following airlines currently qualify for the Amex $200 travel credit:

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

Once you choose your qualifying airline, how do you use your Amex Platinum airline credit? Taking advantage of your Amex airline credit is fairly easy. As you make qualifying purchases, American Express will automatically apply statement credits to your account. You can receive up to $200 in Amex airline credits per calendar year.

Since the Amex Platinum card rewards purchases made with a specific airline, you might want to combine your Platinum card with an airline miles card that will increase both your rewards and your frequent flyer perks. This way, you can combine your premium credit card rewards with other travel benefits, such as free flights and elite status.

What does the Amex airline credit cover?

The Amex airline credit can be put toward incidental air travel fees – but not all travel fees qualify, so it’s good to know what your Amex $200 credit covers in advance.

Airline fees that qualify for the $200 Amex Platinum credit include:

  • Checked baggage fees
  • Flight change fees
  • Premium seat fees
  • Airport lounge day passes
  • In-flight purchases made with the airline

Airline fees that do not qualify for the Amex Platinum credit include:

  • Airline tickets
  • Award tickets
  • Upgrades
  • Mileage points purchases
  • Mileage points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty-free purchases
  • In-flight purchases made with a third-party provider (such as wireless internet)

Remember, all qualifying fees must be purchased through your selected airline. Fees incurred while flying a partner airline won’t qualify – so keep that in mind when you book your next flight.

Choose the right airline for 2021

Choosing the best airline for the Amex travel credit might be different this year. Travel in the time of coronavirus has changed everything, including airline rules – so plan ahead when you select your qualifying airline for 2021.

Start by checking to see whether a potential airline has any COVID-related restrictions that might make booking travel more difficult. Major airlines are doing their best to make traveling during the coronavirus as safe and flexible as possible, including making flight changes easier and more affordable, but it’s still a good idea to check whether you’ll need to provide a negative COVID-19 test before traveling, for example. It’s also worth checking to see whether a potential airline is currently restricting travel to certain destinations, especially if you already know where you plan to fly this year.

In most cases, airlines will follow recommended protocol from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – whether that includes requiring passengers to wear masks or restricting travel to certain areas. Take these factors into consideration as you choose your qualifying airline and try to select an airline that gives you plenty of options in case you need to change your plans.

Maximize your Amex travel credit

Want to know how to spend your Amex travel credit? If you want to maximize your Amex airline credit, it’s a good idea to apply for the American Express Platinum card as early in the year as possible. Since your Amex $200 credit starts over annually, you’ll want to make sure you can take full advantage of your Amex travel credit before the calendar year ends.

With that said, you’ll also want to make sure you’re making enough qualifying airline purchases to maximize your Amex statement credits. The $200 annual Amex airline credit is a use-it-or-lose-it perk – so go ahead and check that bag, book that premium seat and make sure you get your money’s worth out of this great card perk.

Bottom line

The Amex airline credit is a luxury travel perk that can help you offset the cost of the Platinum card’s $695 annual fee. Choose your qualifying airline carefully and try to make enough qualifying incidental airline purchases to claim the full $200 in statement credits each year.

The coronavirus pandemic may make 2021 another challenging year for travelers. If you don’t plan on traveling enough to take advantage of the Amex $200 airline credit, consider applying for another top travel credit card instead – or hold off on applying for the Platinum card until you’re more likely to return to your old travel habits.

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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