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Update, 12/31: In bad news for procrastinators, United TravelBank funding is down for today. I’d recommend chatting with AMEX to switch your airline to JetBlue and booking JetBlue tickets under $100 each, which are typically refunded as an airline fee. You can then cancel and convert any JetBlue tickets into TravelBank funds that are valid for anyone for 12 months.
Update, 12/28: There’s just a few days left to finish using your credit. United TravelBank is still working and is an excellent way to use up remaining credit, but post how you have or will use your credit.
Update, 3/1: Airline fee credit for United TravelBank funding started working for me again last week! Allow up to 5 days for the credit to post to your account. TravelBank funds are valid for at least 5 years.
Originally posted on 2/3:
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 register for an airline here.
- The Gold card credit is being discontinued after 12/31/21.
- You must have opened your card by 2/3/21 in order to use the 2021 credit.
While Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to use travel credit for anything travel related (or even gas and groceries currently), AMEX is far more restrictive.
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 United, and my AMEX Platinum business card for JetBlue.
I bought a ticket on JetBlue from JFK to Los Angeles for $98.40 and it was reimbursed with the airline fee credit in just 2 days:
After that it was easy to cancel the ticket and refund it 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 and funds can be used for anyone. That policy is currently valid through 2/28/21.
Readers also report that Southwest tickets under $99 are also reimbursed. You can use those funds for a year, though funds can only be used by the passenger.
Last year I tried a $98.10 United flight and that did not get reimbursed, though United cancelled the flight and I was able to get it refunded.
I discovered last year that their TravelBank worked for reimbursement, but unfortunately it now codes as a gift certificate purchase and no longer gets reimbursed.
These are the charges that have been reported to count for airline fee credit:
- Airline tickets of any amount purchased with partial payment on your credit card and partial payment on an airline voucher, gift card, or Travelbank are typically reimbursed.
- Airline tickets under $99 are sometimes reimbursed. JetBlue and Southwest should work best.
- American WiFi monthly plan
- Award redeposit and change fees from airline of your choice.
- Baggage fees from airline of your choice.
- Buying extra miles or mileage multiplier offered with a ticket purchase online or at a kiosk.
- 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.
- $9 Spirit Fare Club Membership.
- United Economy Plus upgrades and Economy Plus Subscriptions.
- United Farelock.
- United WiFi Subscription Purchases And Gifts.
- United WiFi on mainline planes.
- United TravelBank funding.
What airline fees have you been credited for on your AMEX card in 2021?