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American Express Platinum Baggage Fees – Summer Hull has been covering (and using) travel tips, rewards credit cards and loyalty programs for over a decade. He has flown close to a million miles, often with points and miles and his family in tow.
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American Express Platinum Baggage Fees
It’s no surprise that the American Express Platinum Card® is loaded with premium benefits. One of the most generous perks of the premium card is an annual statement credit of up to $200 on airline incidental fees. When fully maxed out, this benefit can reduce the card’s $695 annual fee (see rates and fees).
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This credit works on a calendar year basis, which means you have from January 1 to December 31 to use the credit. Additionally, you usually have to select your airline for your year by January 31, although anecdotally, we’ve heard that Amex has been a bit more flexible if you call or chat with a representative.
Generally, it is very easy for a traveler to fully max out the $200 annual airline fee credit over 12 months. However, the past few years have been anything but ordinary. With some travel patterns not quite returning to normal, some may be wondering how to use the Amex Platinum Card’s $200 airline fee credit in 2023.
To stay on top of all your credit card benefits and rewards in 2023, be sure to download the free TPG app.
Today, we’ll walk you through some general rules and some timely use cases. First things first: Note that enrollment is required before you can receive credit for this benefit.
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If you have Amex Platinum, you can click here to select or change your airline preference each January (you must be logged in to access your Amex account). You can also access the airline selection screen by scrolling down to the “Benefits” section of your online account. Either way, you’ll find that you can choose from the following airlines:
Note that Frontier Airlines previously appeared as an option, but is no longer listed online as of January 1, 2023.
Amex has been very lenient about allowing airline selection changes beyond the normal January 31st deadline for those who call or use the online chat feature. There’s no guarantee this will work for you, but it’s worth a try if you want to change your airline at the end of the year and haven’t used any credit yet.
Generally speaking, you can assume that you should choose the airline that you fly with most often. However, automatically selecting your primary airline is not always the best choice. This is because many fees are waived if you have elite status or a cobranded credit card with that airline, so credits may not apply to refund you for checked bag fees or seat selection with that airline.
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For example, imagine you fly United often and also have elite status with that airline, but you fly American a few times each year. In this situation, you may be better served choosing American for your airline fee credit. You can use that credit for things like seat assignments, extra-legroom seats, bag fees, drinks or meals onboard. Note that prior enrollment is required to use this facility.
Designating one of these carriers as your airline of choice can be a smart strategy because they charge extra fees for benefits that come automatically with some other airlines. These include checked and carry-on bags, seat assignments and onboard snacks and beverages. Maximizing the Amex Platinum Airline Fee Credit should be really easy if you designate and fly a carrier that charges a high number of add-on fees.
Generally, the following incidental fees will be paid using Amex Platinum Credit, as long as you make these purchases separately from the airline ticket (so the purchase appears as a separate transaction):
As you can imagine, it’s not difficult for many travelers to use airline fee credits in a typical year.
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For example, you can select Spirit Airlines as your airline and then use the credit to purchase larger front seats or snacks and check bags. Additionally, if you fly with your pet, based on most – but not all – airlines’ pet fees, you can only use your airline fee credit on one or two flights with your pet.
If American Airlines is your airline of choice, see this post on how American Airlines expenses trigger Amex airline fee credits. And here’s a real-world scenario that triggers fee credits on more airlines
The airline must submit the charge under the appropriate merchant code and required service or product identifier for the charge to be recognized as an incidental air travel fee. The terms say six to eight weeks after each charge to post a statement credit to your account (although, in our experience, it’s often faster). If the credit hasn’t posted after that time, you can call the number on the back of the card to get the credit manually authorized for a valid charge.
It’s also worth highlighting the bullet point for “preferred card not charged by the member’s airline”. If you book a ticket with your preferred airline but fly on a partner airline, expect that you won’t be able to use your ancillary credit. Here is an example. Say your preferred airline is United, you book a flight through United’s website, but you actually fly on Air Canada. When you check-in at an Air Canada airport, the checked bag fee is charged by Air Canada — not United — so you can’t use your Amex Platinum accessory credit here.
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As with most things, there are some gray areas when credit works reliably and clear-cut cases when it doesn’t. For example, we’ve heard reports that airfare credits kick in when you pay for part of a Delta ticket with a gift card and then charge the rest to your Amex Platinum. This happens because the remaining airfare becomes an “excess collection” and triggers the refund credit.
Sometimes, other smaller airline ticket purchases and even trigger tax/fee credits on award tickets, such as some small ($50-ish) amounts of future airline travel credit. For example, we’ve seen this work with small United Travelbank purchases.
However, these are off-label uses that may change at any time. Additionally, note that only purchases with your chosen airline will trigger the credit.
The Amex Platinum isn’t the only Amex card that offers an annual airline fee credit (up to a certain amount). The following Amex cards also offer credit (advance enrollment required):
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Hilton Aspire Amex Card information is independently collected by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Details of Airline Fee Credit and Amex Platinum are similar on these cards But there is an important wrinkle to the Business Platinum card. Business Platinum Cardholders receive 35% off any points redeemed for business- or first-class travel on eligible airlines when booked through Amex Travel (up to 1 million points per calendar year) or when using Pay With Points to book their travel Preferred Airline — Same airline associated with $200 in annual airline accessory credits.
For that reason, Business Platinum cardholders may want to select an airline for which they use points to purchase economy tickets for their annual airline credit, which will charge a fee that offsets the credit.
The $200 Amex airline fee credit is one of those use-it-or-lose-it perks that’s only worth what you can.
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Generally, maximizing this airline fee credit is easy if you understand how it works and have a plan for next year. At this point, you should have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work for airline accessory credits on the Amex Platinum Card, and how you can use these credits even if you’re not traveling right away.
Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone, not of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. American Express “precious metal” card, whether gold or platinum has a prestige reputation. Both gold cards and platinum cards offer different benefits to cardholders, and they both have annual fees that are significantly higher than the average credit card fee.
Learn more about the differences between the Amex Gold Card and the Amex Platinum so you can decide which one is right for you.
American Express Gold and Platinum cards are actually “charge” cards rather than “credit” cards, which means you have to pay the bill.
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