Those of you with an American Express Platinum card probably know of the $200 airline fee credit that’s in place since late last year. Thanks largely to American Express’ relationship with Continental ending, both in terms of the ability to transfer Membership Rewards to OnePass as well as the ability to access Continental Presidents Clubs, they’ve added a slew of new benefits.

For many of us, actually using the $200 fee credit is a challenge for a variety of reasons. First of all, you have to commit to one airline, which proved to be a big issue for me. I don’t pay “traditional” airlines fees, like checked bag fees, standby fees, etc. So I wasn’t sure what to use the credit for. Beyond that, what constitutes a “fee” is very vague, so there’s always the concern of buying something, only to not be reimbursed.

After following the discussion on FlyerTalk, it became clear that what’s defined as a “fee” and what isn’t is largely a function of the amount of the charge. In other words, it seems that American Express considers most relatively small airlines purchases to be fees.

So now that I’m flying American I figured I might as well try buying some American Airlines gift cards, since it’s money I would spend anyway. I bought four $50 American Airlines gift cards ($50 is the smallest increment in which American Airlines sells gift cards) three days ago, and today a credit appeared for all four purchases.

So that’s no guarantee it’ll work for everyone, but if you have a small purchase you were going to make anyway, you might as well give it a try through this program. Some are reporting that taxes on award tickets (if they’re small amounts), discounted airline tickets using vouchers, etc., are posting credits.

  1. April 16th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Jason said,

    Great tip – thanks!

  2. April 17th, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Rick Ingersoll said,

    The American Express customer service agents told me I could use it for my club membership.. My RCC membership is now $200 less :)

  3. April 17th, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Bonesaz said,

    Does UA offer gift cards? I only found where you can buy miles and my Amex is registered with UA.

  4. April 17th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    ernperez said,

    Thanks for the tip. I was wondering how I would use this benefit! I just purchased some Gift Cards!!!

  5. April 17th, 2011 at 10:14 am

    deltaGOLDflyer said,

    Hi Jason! Great tip. With DELTA they are gift certs up to $350. You can get them in any denomination. I may have to try for a few with DELTA and let you know how I do. Txs again! ;-)

  6. April 18th, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Gary said,

    Basically, the credit works for everything (I got reimbursed by making ticket purchase…)

  7. April 18th, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Karl Marks said,

    I used mine on Alaska Airlines and was credited back the change fees on a couple of tickets I had to move around.

  8. August 27th, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Mercedez-Benz American Express Platinum card. | Million Mile Secrets said,

    [...] One Mile At a Time has written that most small purchases seem to get reimbursed, so you may be able to get $200 in airline gift cards, which would help make the $475 annual fee more palatable. [...]

  9. October 18th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Jeff said,

    Has anyone had any luck with credits back from Delta gift certificate purchases?

  10. October 19th, 2011 at 5:05 am

    lucky said,

    @ Jeff — Last I heard that should work, especially if you’re purchasing them in small (ie $50) increments.

  11. October 20th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Chelsea said,

    I have continental/united with the credit (I chose them to my dismay and not another airline). I called AMEX and they said that I cannot get gift cards for the credit. Is it because it’s not registered as a gift card in small amounts on the account that it will be reimbursed or what? I don’t want to spend $200 on gift cards if I’m not guaranteed to get it back but it would be great to get those cards since I fly almost every month. Anyone have tried cards from Continental/United?
    Thanks.

  12. November 3rd, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Travel Credit Card Updates | Million Mile Secrets said,

    [...] way to leverage the American Express Platinum cards may be to sign up for the card now, and use the $200 travel credit to buy airline gift cards in 2011 and another $200 in 2012 (since the $200 travel benefit is per calendar year) and to cancel [...]

  13. December 2nd, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Chris said,

    Does anyone know if I can use the $200 for Southwest Airline gift cards? Has anyone been successful?

  14. December 7th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    pat said,

    I tried out a $50 Jet Blue gift card and it DID NOT work. The charge read as a gift card on the statement. Wondering if it still works for AA and continental?

  15. December 11th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    R said,

    Does it work on Delta?

  16. December 12th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Terry said,

    It works for Continental (use on United). The thing about that is that you can only use one on a ticket purchase. You can buy two $75 and one $50.

  17. December 17th, 2011 at 9:19 am

    BDD said,

    I have to move around an international flight for 5 people originally scheduled to fly American in early March 2012. Is this the best way to get miles (I lost)by getting these free miles and credit for the cancellation/change fees? $200 credit quickly now in 2011 & then 2012. BUT… I don’t have the credit cards yet…so it may be a mute point. See me through this thinking please. : )

  18. January 5th, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Michael said,

    Do you need to buy the gift certificates through the AmEx website, or do you just buy them at aa.com using your AmEx for payment?

    Thanks,

    michael

  19. January 5th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Michael — Nope, you can purchase them directly from American.

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