Update: As of today, United is allowing unlimited funding into your TravelBank account! Just refresh the screen after funding your account to fund it again. I chatted with AMEX to change my cards to United and then loaded up my United TravelBank! Read more about TravelBank in the post below and in this post.
Originally posted on 8/4:
There are 4 AMEX cards that give a credit to use for incidental fees on the airline of your choice.
- The AMEX Hilton Aspire Card offers a $250 annual airline fee credit.
- The AMEX Business Platinum Card offers a $200 annual airline fee credit.
- The AMEX Platinum Card offers a $200 annual airline fee credit.
- The AMEX Gold Card offers a $100 annual airline fee credit.
- You can check to see if you’re targeted to earn 100,000 points for opening a new Platinum card via Cardmatch here by filling out the form and clicking on “Cardmatch special offers”.
You need to register with a specific airline before spending. After you register for an airline you can officially only change your airline in January. However I have had success changing the airline by chatting with AMEX online.
You can choose to register for the following airlines:
Note that if you have a Business Platinum card, the airline you choose will also be the airline that will give you 35% of your points back when redeeming for coach travel. You may want to hold off on spending the $200 until the end of the year if you want to be able to change the airline more easily during the year. You also get back 35% of your points on all airlines in business and first class redemptions without having to register for an airline.
Unfortunately gift cards no longer count for this credit.
But there are plenty of other ways to use your credit.
Tickets under $99 have long been reported to get reimbursement, though those have always been YMMV (Your mileage may vary).
But with airlines like Alaska, JetBlue, and United offering TravelBank credit for when you don’t want to take a flight, it seemed like it was worth trying that out.
Alaska doesn’t fly to Cleveland, so I registered my AMEX Platinum consumer card for JetBlue, and my AMEX Platinum business card for United. If you try this out with other airlines in 2020, let us know how it goes.
I bought a ticket on JetBlue from Newark to San Diego for $98.10 and it was reimbursed with the airline fee credit in just 2 days:
After that it was easy to convert the ticket into JetBlue TravelBank funds thanks to the current free change policy. With JetBlue, those funds are valid for 1 year from the date of redeposit:
But you might want to hold off on doing that. If JetBlue cancels your flight, you may be offered a 20% bonus to accept TravelBank funds instead of a refund! Plus if you wait to cancel you’ll have a longer time period to use your TravelBank funds. Just be sure to cancel before your flight departs!
Things didn’t go as well with my United experiment.
On July 16th I bought a $98.10 from Cleveland to Orlando and it was not reimbursed. Go figure.
I could still convert the ticket into a United Electronic Travel Certificate valid for at least 2 years, but I’m already sitting on a pile of those.
Luckily I made an educated guess that the September 8th flight Cleveland to Orlando would be cancelled, and sure enough United notified me on August 2nd that my flight was cancelled.
I called United and got it refunded:
But all hope was not yet lost for getting United credit.
On July 31st I funded my United TravelBank with $100, which won’t expire for at least 5 years. That purchase also came with a 10% bonus that officially has a short expiration date, but I wrote about how to extend that as well.
Years ago, before United ended TravelBank funding, that purchase used to get reimbursed with the airline fee credit. I wrote when I posted the deal that I wondered if it would work again.
The awesome news is that it does indeed based on my $100 trial:
And on DDF member Aerial Dag’s $250 trial, capped at the $200 Platinum annual reimbursement:
Now the only problem is that it won’t let me fund my account again, but hopefully that option will come back after the 10% promo ends. Alternatively, I could also just fund the TravelBank accounts of other family members as the credit can be used for anyone.
As with any credits that aren’t on the official list, there’s always the chance that they won’t work or get clawed back down the line if they determine that it should not have been credited, YMMV!
These are the charges that have been reported to count for airline fee credit:
- Airline tickets under $99 are sometimes reimbursed.
- Airline tickets purchased with partial payment on your credit card and partial payment on a voucher or gift card are sometimes reimbursed.
- Award redeposit and change fees from airline of your choice.
- Baggage fees from airline of your choice.
- Flight change fees from airline of your choice.
- Food and drinks on the plane from airline of your choice.
- Food and drinks in a club from airline of your choice.
- Lounge access and club pass fees from airline of your choice.
- Phone reservation fees from airline of your choice.
- Pet fees.
- Seat selection fees and Economy Plus fees from airline of your choice.
- Standby fees from airline of your choice.
- AA 500 mile upgrades.
- Delta Skymiles Select.
- $9 Spirit Fare Club Membership.
- United Economy Plus upgrades and Economy Plus Subscriptions.
- United WiFi Subscription Purchases And Gifts.
- United WiFi on mainline planes.
- United TravelBank funding.
- Buying extra miles or mileage multiplier offered with a ticket purchase online or at a kiosk.
What airline fees have you been credited for on your AMEX card?