Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works?


Several American Express cards offer annual airline fee reimbursements.  These reimbursements can go a long way towards easing the sting of the high annual fees charged by personal Amex Platinum and Business Platinum cards and the Hilton Aspire card. Readers often wonder which types of charges will trigger these credits and/or which methods still work. Note that in late 2023, reports indicate credits are taking between 7 and 14 days to post. Don’t panic if you made a purchase 5 or 6 or even 7 days ago and haven’t yet seen any credit or change — the data points in this post provide a solid guideline for what will work. If something is listed as working, it very likely still works; we’ll be sure to change it as soon as we have verified negative datapoints. On that note, reader input is always appreciated. Share your data points in the comments.

What’s new? We have added current data points from both the comments and Flyertalk. Note that recent data points indicate that credits are taking from 7 to 14 days to post (with some data points from Southwest stretching toward 3 weeks). Don’t be afraid of old data points — if there isn’t a newer data point, that generally indicates that nobody had reported that to no longer work (so it probably does).

a woman looking at a wallet

Amex airline fee credits are offered by calendar year.  For example, Platinum cardholders can get up to $200 in fee credits for charges made up until December of this year, and $200 more for charges made next calendar year.

Step 1 is to make sure that you’ve selected a preferred airline here.  Officially, you can change this selection once per year in January (if you don’t change it, your previous selection remains in place). Anecdotally, chat agents are usually willing to help you change your selected airline if you need to do so during the year.

Step 2 is to make qualifying purchases with your airline of choice in order to get reimbursed.

Things you need to know about Amex airline fee credits

A few helpful notes for airline incidental credits:

  1. Be sure to select your chosen airline at least one calendar day before attempting to use the credit. We sometimes see a lag before eligible charges are credited. Waiting for the email confirming that you’ve selected an airline is not always enough.
  2. Wait at least 2 weeks before assuming failure. While credits often post within a few days and/or the benefit counter typically moves before the credits post, there are frequently periods where things post more slowly than usual. Wait at least two weeks before attempting a different charge, contacting Amex, or reporting a negative data point.
  3. Charges are reimbursed based on the date of charge and count toward the allotment for the year in which the charge is dated. For example, a charge that posts to your statement dated December 29, 2022 will count against your 2022 airline incidental credit even if the charge itself doesn’t reimburse until early 2023. However, don’t wait until the very last minute — I once charged United club passes late at night on 12/31 and the charge posted with a 1/1 date and I missed using the airline incidental credits.
  4. While Amex officially says that you can change your airline once each year in January, chat agents are often willing to change it for you if you ask nicely, even mid-year (and sometimes even if you’ve used part of the credit already).

What purchases count… officially?

Eligible incidental fees include:

  • Checked baggage fees (including overweight/oversize)
  • Itinerary change fees
  • Phone reservation fees
  • Pet flight fees
  • Seat assignment fees
  • In-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, headphones)
  • In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet because it’s not charged by the airline)
  • Airport lounge day passes & annual memberships

And, officially, the following purchases are not deemed to be incidental fees:

  • Airline tickets
  • Upgrades
  • Mileage points purchases
  • Mileage points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty free purchases
  • Award tickets

What purchases count… unofficially?

Sometimes purchases of gift cards (update: As of July 2019, gift cards appear to be mostly dead with an occasional exception when the purchase does not code as a gift card), award fees, or even low-cost airfare are reimbursed even though they shouldn’t be.  In some cases there seem to be maximum dollar limits.  The things that work or don’t work vary by airline and over time.  Something that worked in the past won’t necessarily work today.

The following table shows the unofficial stuff that works or doesn’t work with each airline that can be chosen as your preferred airline:

Alaska Airlines

**Note** Since 2022, there have been many reports of Alaska charges not being reimbursed automatically. It seems that many have had success getting charges for premium seat selection and things that ordinarily should be included (like lounge access, onboard purchases, etc) manually credited via the chat function, but only after 2 weeks has passed since the transaction date. Historical Alaska data included below, but beware that you may need to chat and hope for a friendly agent. See more data in this Flyertalk thread.

What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on Alaska Airlines?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Award redeposit fee $125 (x 2 passengers) 6/19. Had to call as it did not post automatically (via Flyertalk)
Fare difference Price increase if $9 and $50. 12/20 (ykz1991)
Seat selection • $65 PC seat selection (automatic) 12/20 (safari ari)
• $45 & $49 seat upgrade 12/20 (Grant)
• $149 PC seat selection (via chat). 12/20 (bbmatt)
• $99 PC seat selection (via chat) 12/20 (EddyRoad)
Club Membership 7/19. Had to call to get it to post (Randy)
Split Airfare Purchase
  • 7/2023: Wallet funds + $29.90 charged to Platinum card. (Kyle)
  • 9/6/22: $250 airfare paid with $101 in wallet funds and $149 charged to Aspire card (Summit).
  • $149 ticket paid with $50 gift card and $99 charged to card (Camilla)
Airfare purchase $58.10 & $78.10 saver fares (note previous failure reports below; YMMV) 12/20 (Grant)
  • 11/2023: Four $38.99 upgrades from saver to main, but note that the credit wasn’t automatic. Chat rep credited manually. (Anu)
  • 11/2023: Four $40 seat upgrades from row 9 to row 3 (first). Not automatic – manually credited by chat representative. (Anu)
Change fee 12/2023: $330 in change fees split over two transactions. Manually credited via chat. (Flyertalk)

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Airfare under $100
Via BK250:
• 8/3/19: $63.30, reimbursed 8/7
• 8/9/19: $54.30, not reimbursed
• 8/19/19: $63.30, not reimbursed
• 9/12/19: $68.80, not reimbursed
• 6/22/20: $49, not reimbursed (PeterSFO)
E-gift card • Gift card purchases stopped working summer 2017
• $50 10/28/17

• $25 8/6/17
Split Airfare • $138 two tickets for $69 each on card + $25 Alasksa gift card not reimbursed 1/22 (Lrdx)
• 1/22 (Victor)
In-flight snacks 1/22 (Victor)


What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on American Airlines?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Split airfare purchase $107.60 ticket purchased with $60 flight credit + $47.60 on Platinum card 7/22 (redtop43 on flyertalkbut see negative data point in “What fails” section below also
In-flight food & beverage $18 in drinks 8/22 (FallenPlat on flyertalk)
Seat selection • Main Cabin Extra purchased online ($138). 8/22 (Nick)
• Main Cabin Extra purchased at kiosk. 12/20 (durial)
• First Class upgrade purchased at kiosk 12/20 (durial)
Admirals Club • Day pass 12/20 (durial)
• Food / bar tab 12/20 (durial)
Physical Gift card $50 or less 12/9/17: Note that we are doubtful this still works, but did not uncover a direct data point.
5 Star Service $325 3/21/17
Mileage Multiplier
Unaccompanied minor fee 8/2022 (John)
Award taxes** **Note that award taxes and fees are not consistently reimbursed. See “What fails” for negative data points.
9/2022: $11.20 x 2 (Robert)
Upgrade sticker $0 500 mile sticker 12/20 (Travelfitforaking)
$40 500 mile stickers. 12/20 (festriaqua)
$40.00 500 mile upgrade purchased online 7/26/19 (Will). Also reported by cliburn.
Status Buyback Buyback for Gold status triggered credit (reader report on Youtube)

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Split airfare $200 ticket using $140 trip credit and $60 on Platinum card 9/22 (lowkeyflyer on flyertalk)
E-gift card Gift card purchases stopped working for many around February / March 2019. It just depends on how AA codes the purchase (coded as a gift certificate will not trigger the credit) and we have not been able to determine a way to predict how it will code. We had some positive reports in February, but most data points from mid-February onward have been negative.
$75 close-in fee 7/15/19 (Dan P)
Award taxes Reports here are inconsistent. Most fail, but there are some reports of fees being reimbursed (see this 5/22 report from merlin90 on flyertalk)
8/2022: $64 did not credit (Nick)
6/2022: $5.60 did not credit (Mark)


What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on Delta Air Lines?

What Works? Recent Reports
Award fees under $200 11/2022 $185 (Bikeguy)
8/22/22: $124.70 (omxfl on flyertalk)
12/2020: $167 12/20 (JDK)
12/9/17: $54.76
Lounge guest pass 5/2022: $39 (Jeff)
Companion Ticket Taxes 8/9/20: $20.20 (Greg)
Mileage Booster 10/2019: $59 (Patrick)
Change Fee
  • 12/16/23: Upgrade to Comfort+ by changing flights (Flyertalk)
  • 12/9/22: Changed ticket to a more expensive one (Greg)
Split Airfare Purchase
  • 12/2023: $100 gift card + $208 charged to Platinum card (Flyertalk)
  • 11/2023: $50 gift card + $198.90 charged to Platinum card. (Ariel Manning)
  • 7/14/23: Multiple tickets split between airline credits plus credit card all posted (Greg)
  • 7/2023: $218.90 ticket split between $88.90 in eCredits and $130 on Platinum card (Toffee)
  • 2/2022: $733 ticket split between $500 gift card + $233 on Platinum card (Satellite)
  • 8/3/22: $297.20 ticket split between $50 gift card and $247.20 on Platinum card triggered $200 incidental credit (SoloDolo on flyertalk)
  • 11/28/21: $91.84 charged to card combined with previous flight credit (Anon)
  • 7/12/21: $198 ticket split between $50 gift card + $148 on Platinum card (Bethany)
  • 7/12/21: $162 ticket split between $50 gift card + $112 on Platinum card triggered remaining $52 of airline fee credit (Bethany)
  • 12/2020 $260 ticket split between $50 gift card + $210 on Aspire + $25 seat selection (Veteran Traveler)
  • 12/2020: $230 ticket split between $50 gift card + $180 on Platinum (Veteran Traveler)
  • 12/2020: $240 ticket split between miles + $190 on card. 12/20 (Dynastar)
In-flight WiFi** 8/2022: Viasat charge triggered the credit (fold on flyertalk), but reports are that GoGo Internet charges will not trigger credit
Airfare 1/20/22: $120 (Mel), but note that Greg has what appears to be a negative data point in 12/2022
Upgrade to Comfort Plus (YMMV) $200 Used the “change flight” function to switch to Comfort Plus 8/22 (hereitgoes)
$169 (Patrick) YMMV: Not automatic, reimbursed via chat 1/21

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Cheap airfare 12/6/22: $78.60. Note that the cost to change to a more expensive ticket type did get reimbursed. (Greg)
Split airfare with pay with miles • 3/24/23: $418.6 ticket: 5000 miles for $50 credit plus $368.90 charged to card did not trigger the credit (Cameron)
4/3/23: split ticket: $252.80 + 5000 miles didn’t work (Greg)
Gift cards over $50
Award fees over $200
eGift cards As per many reports at Flyertalk, this likely died around 6/22/19
Economy Plus Upgrade
7/12/19 (Arlington Traveler)


Frontier is no longer an option to select for Amex airline fee credits.


What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on Hawaiian Airlines?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Airfare under $50
Extra comfort upgrade
Food & beverage on board Success reported 10/18 (via Flyertalk)
Seat upgrade $10 (Michael) 1/21
Split payment for airfare w/ less than $50 charged to the card $29.80 & $44 11/18 (via Flyertalk)
Award taxes

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Gift cards $50 7/19/17 (via Flyertalk)
Airfare over $50 $53 10/17 (via Flyertalk)


What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on JetBlue?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Airfare under $150?
Award taxes / fees
Cancellation fees $75 7/19 (via Flyertalk)
Seat selection $5 11/20 (financialhippie)
Upgrade from Mint to Mint Studio $199 6/22 (fishccy on flyertalk)
Even More Space upgrade $35, $50 1/19 (via Flyertalk)

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Airfare over $150 • $151.10 9/20 (Earthgoeshard)
• $250 1/11/17 (via Flyertalk)
Gift cards They don’t sell them


What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on Spirit Airlines?

 Purchase type Recent Reports
Savers Club
Big Front Seat
Partial Airfare $6 (Rest using airline credit) 12/20 (Joe Y)

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Ticket purchase $52.80 1/20 (optimilez2016)
Bags bundled with ticket purchase 1/20 (and a couple previous DPs) (s.k.d)
Big Front Seat via Upgrade Bid 7/2023: Report from Flyertalk


Note: In 2023, credits for Southwest charges have been posting slowly, with some data points stretching as long as 3 weeks from the charge date. If you’re nervous about whether a charge is going to post, you could always consider making another charge for a fully refundable “anytime” fare under $109. Then, if your originally-intended use of the credit works, cancel your backup anytime fare for a refund. If your originally intended use fails, the sub-$109 airfare purchase will likely work. Inter-island Hawaii flights are a good place to look for those types of prices.

What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on Southwest Airlines?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Airfare under $109
Early bird check-in • 1/2022: $20 (Chris)
• 5/14/20: $20 (Greg)
• 9/11/19: $50 (Norm)
Award Fees
  • 12/2023: $11.20 (via Flyertalk)
  • 7/2023: Two international tickets with taxes of $108.95 on each. (Happy_Harry)
  • 1/2022: $97.76 (Dee)
  • 12/2020: $11.20 (Beth)
  • 11/2020 $70.34 (Greg)
A1-A15 boarding 12/2019: $40 (Sdin123)
Split payment for airfare w/ under $100 charged to card
  • 11/2023: Flight credit + Platinum charge of less than $100. Credits took 9 days. (Aaron)
  • 10/2019: $96 Used a gift card to pay part of the airfare ($42) and paid $96 remainder on Amex Gold. Got $96 credit. (Marshall Davis) Jason reported success too.
In-flight beverage 11/19 (veeRobb)
Itinerary change 5/13/22: $5 & $3.02 (Nick)
5/17/20: $66.50 (Greg)

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
On-board Wi-Fi $8 charge posted, but was not credited (2/18)
$185 e-Gift card Charge posted 6/22/18, no reimbursement as of 7/9/18 (Katie)
All e-Gift cards Stopped working in June 2019 (via Flyertalk). A recent data point suggests that they may have worked since then for manual credit.
Split payment for airfare w/ $100 or more charged to card $155 (7/19) via Flyertalk
Airfare over $109 $117.14 (via Flyertalk)


**Note that you may need to wait until the next business day after selecting United as your qualifying airline. Since TravelBank works as of 12/22, most of the other uses are less interesting.

What works to trigger Amex airline incidental credits on United Airlines?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Standard stuff Economy Plus, United Club, Pet Fee, Same Day Flight Change (Note: A charge for United Club one-time passes on December 31st posted with a date of January 1st and missed using the annual credit – Nick)
Seat upgrade Made through kiosk 11/18 (Ambrosio)
Economy+ seat $132 12/23/21 (Elizabeth)
6/22/19 from Flyertalk and also $175 for transatlantic Economy+ seat in 2/19 (SKJL).$84 each (x 2) 2/20 (Matthew)
United TravelBank Note that TravelBank has stopped working and started working again several times over the past few years, so it’s always worth checking back for any new DPs here before making a purchase.
In-flight WiFi 12/19/22: $8 in-flight WiFi (Nick)
11/2020 (atat)
In-flight F&B
  • 11/26/23: $10 snacks x 4
  • 12/18/22: $10.99 snack box (Nick)

What fails?

Purchase type Recent Reports
Upgrade from economy to first class
$175 charge on 12/27/2018 may have been too large to look like a fee
Split payment with GC and airfare under $100 $50.19 partial ticket payment did not trigger credit 3/26/22 (Captain Greg)
MileagePlus X App Purchases
United Gift Registry This doesn’t really fail — it’s just no longer available
Award Fees This appears to have stopped working according to a DP from JB in San Diego from October 2019.
Gift Card
$99 Upgrade Fee 2016


Please report your results!

If you try any unofficial options, please let us know via the comments whether it worked. Tell us the date of purchase, what you purchased, the dollar amount, and whether or not you were reimbursed.  Please do not report purchases that are officially reimbursed unless you do not get the credit.

What to do if you’re not reimbursed?

First, double check that you picked the airline in question as your preferred airline.  If you did not, then Amex won’t reimburse you (but they have been known to make an exception if you call and say that you forgot to set your preferred airline).

If you do not get reimbursed for things that are officially allowed (checked bags, change fees, lounge fees, etc.), then contact Amex for help.  If you do not get reimbursed for things that are not officially allowed (gift cards, award fees, airfare, etc.) do not contact Amex.  You weren’t really supposed to get reimbursed for those anyway.

Other cards that offer fee reimbursements

Quite a few other cards offer airline fee reimbursements.  We’d like to setup pages like this for each of them.  For example, see: Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa airline fee credits: What works?

If you have experience earning or not earning airline fee credits with other cards, we’d like to hear that too!  Please comment below with your experience, but please make sure to include the card name and airline in your comment. Here are some that have been reported:

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite 7/30/17 $54.86 Delta award fee reimbursed 8/3/17 (Greg)
CNB Crystal Visa Infinite 6/1/18 $56.02 Southwest fee to change from anytime to Business Select (Justice Jen)
CNB Crystal Visa Infinite 2019-Feb-14 $50 AA eGC — reimbursed 2019-Feb-20 (Jeph36)
CNB Crystal Visa Infinite 2019-Feb-20 $200 AA eGC — reimbursed 2019-Feb-27 (Jeph36)
CNB Crystal Visa Infinite (P2) 2019-Mar-03 $250 AA eGC — reimbursed 2019-Mar-13 (Jeph36)
PenFed Pathfinder 2019-Mar-04 $100 AA eGC — reimbursed 2019-Jun-06 (Jeph36)

Previous Post Updates

Update 1/18/21: Reports indicate that United Travel Bank purchases are once again dead. Click to skip to the rest of the “Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements” post.

Update 12/15/20: Recent data points added for most airlines. As a general piece of advice, don’t panic if a few days pass and you aren’t yet reimbursed. If there are positive data points in the chart, there is a good chance that it still works. Sometimes reimbursement happens in 2 or 3 days, sometimes 2 or 3 weeks. Report your data points in the comments. Thanks!

Update 7/22/19: Added many data points. eGift cards no longer consistently work with any airline, though a number of other options remain or have since been found. Added a table of contents below for convenience so you can find your chosen airline. Please add your data points in the comments (but wait a few weeks to be sure your credit posts or doesn’t post before reporting it as alive/dead).

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4/7/24 UA Travel Bank $100 – credited 4/10/24
4/12/24 UA Travel Bank $100 – credited 4/15/24
Amex Platinum Business

[…] on Alaska Airlines in January and the credits had not posted in the following 2 months.  I went to Frequent Miler’s Amex Airline Fee Reimbursements. What still works? post and scrolled down to the Alaska Airlines section.  There was a note that […]


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2x United wifi day pass for EWR-HND credited. Charged to United directly.


United Travel bank purchase 100 on 1/23 and no credit as of 2/18

Last edited 2 months ago by Mike
Daniel A

DP: Amex Platinum vanilla. United Bank $100 1/10/24, credit 1/19/24. United Bank $100 1/23/24, credit 2/1/24.


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Abraham perez

01/19/24 – SW split payment $94.74 on Amex, $30.58 on flight credit
01/28/24 – $94.74 airline credit


I’m considering using my $300 Capital Venture X credit to book a couple Spirit tickets.
Would I be able to utilize the $200 amex credit for baggage and/or seats when checking in via the Spirit app/site? I assume I would but I haven’t booked with a third party like that for quite a while. It’s a spendy flight back from miami on a sunday otherwise I avoid spirit


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Purchased $50 United Travel Bank 8 Jan 24 using the Hilton Aspire card & got reimbursed 16 Jan 24.


United travel bank (2x $100) purchased on 1/1/24 and reimbursed on 1/10/24, for Plat Morgan Stanley and similar timeline for Business Platinum.