Every calendar year you are able to get up to a $200 statement credit with the American Express Platinum card. I personally applied for the card at the end of January 2013 and was able to get 100,000 bonus points after meeting the minimum spend requirements.

Since it is a new calendar year you can go ahead and re-claim your $200 airline credit for the airline of your choice. This rebate is supposed to be used for incidental charges, not the cost of purchasing a ticket. To get reimbursed for the charges, you must pay for it with your Amex Platinum card. There is no call needed as you’ll see a statement credit show up to your account within the week after the charge is made. Incidental charges include checked bags, in-flight refreshments, flight-change fees, oversize baggage fees, airport lounge day-passes, pet-kennel fees, and phone reservation fees.

While I know some might rack up quite a bit of these “incidental” fees, I personally do not come close to spending $200/year on these fees. Last week I went ahead and purchased two American Airline gift cards with my Amex and have already been reimbursed by these purchases. I followed the success others had via this FlyerTalk threadAmex states that gift card purchases do not count towards incidental fees, so your success may vary. I suggest just taking a look at the most recent stories on the FlyerTalk thread.

So ultimately, even though I’ve had the card less than a year, I’ve been able to get the $200 airline credit twice – once in 2013 and once in 2014. The card comes with a $450 annual fee (card membership year, not calendar year), so at this point I’ve spent $450, but earned $400 back in statement credits (in total I’ve purchased $400 in American Airline gift cards), 100,000 bonus points, and reimbursed Global Entry that will give you access upon approval for 5 years.

Here is a quick recap of what has worked in the past (based on people’s personal success story on FlyerTalk as well as my personal success).

  • AirTran: Does not sell gift certificates
  • Alaska Airlines: Gift card purchases of $100 or less have been reimbursed
  • American Airlines: Gift cards purchases of $100 or less have been reimbursed (can use up to 8 gift cards per reservation)
  • Delta: eGift Certificate purchases of $50 have been reimbursed (can use 3 eGift Certificates per reservation)
  • Frontier: Not sure
  • JetBlue: No reimbursement for gift card purchases
  • Southwest: Gift card purchases of $200 or less have been reimbursed
  • Spirit: Not sure
  • United: Some have been able to get gift card purchases of $200 or less reimbursed, but not all. Seems as though gift card purchases of $50 have been reimbursed. People have been having better luck purchasing gift cards through their wedding registry site. (gift cards expire 5 years after purchased; only one gift card can be used per reservation)
  • US Airways: Gift card purchases of $200 or less have been reimbursed (unless you are going to use the gift card now, I probably wouldn’t purchase gift cards to use later as who knows what will happen once the merger goes through with American Airlines)

Keep in mind that some airlines charge a shipping fee for gift purchases. American Airlines and Delta, for example, sell virtual gift cards so there is no additional fee tacked on. Also, make sure to check the terms for each gift card purchase as there are different policies per airline – expiration dates, the amount of certificates that can be used per reservation, some are only available for online reservations, etc.

Currently card members may update their airline selection January 15 through February 28, 2014. In the past you only had until the end of January to make this selection. If you want to keep the same airline that you had in the past, no action is required. You can select your airline of choice here. You are entitled to up to $200 in airline reimbursements (for the same airline that has been designated) per account – NOT per card member. If you have additional authorized users on your card, the account can get up to $200 in reimbursed credit TOTAL.

While there is a $450 annual fee, getting $200 towards future travel helps. Although losing US Airways and American Airlines airline lounges is a huge bummer.

What have you used your Amex Platinum airline credit for?

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • dhammer53 said,

    Speaking of UA and the Amex Plat $200 credit… Last year, my account was adjusted by $200 within 3 – 4 days of my single $200 UA gift card purchase.

    This year, there was no adjustment after 3 – 4 days. When I called American Express, they told me I’d have to wait 14 days from the posting date to file a claim?? Ok. I called yesterday and was asked a few questions by the agent. He asked if the $200 on my card was for fees. After I coughed and paused, I said yes. I didn’t like answering his question that way. I was told the adjustment would show up in a few days. Just a heads up to anyone in the same situation.

  • N Pascall said,

    i was able to get full reimbursement from AA in late December and first week of Jan for $200 each time…took 3 days

  • ingvar said,

    Got $200 United GC in 2013, didn’t get reimbursed. I called and “cried” a little and got a $200 credit. Don’t do united!

  • frugalguy said,

    @dhammer53: don’t do that again or suggest anybody to follow you. That’s how a deal is being killed. Once more and more people call AMEX and ask to be reimbursed for what is not supposed to be, it only alerts the bank to close the loophole. This year, the impact looks like only UA GC. Who knows next year. Maybe any GC from all the airlines. It is not that hard to swallow a $200 UA GC considering you have 5 years to spend and you actually didn’t lose anything (but just didn’t earn the “cashback”). Always remember Rule #1 of any loophole deal: don’t call. It is for your own goods and for others’ as well.

  • dhammer53 said,

    Sorry frugal, this isn’t a case of Don’t call the airline. Others are reporting that in 2014, they’re still being credited with $200 for buying UA and AA gift cards.

  • frugalguy said,

    @dhammer53. No, that’s not the case. I myself got reimbursed for buying $200 UA GC this year. I had thought everything would be the same, but it is not. If you read the flyertalk thread. Most, if not everyone, who bought $200 UA GC this year failed to get the reimbursement. The only exception is that if you may small face value GC, say 4*$50 GC. So according to current AMEX system, you should not expect to get reimbursement for a single $200 UA GC. AA gift card might be another story.

  • frugalguy said,

    A typo in the above post: I mean I got reimbursed for $200 UA GC last year but this year I failed. So I had to buy a $200 UA GR instead, which quickly got reimbursed.

  • dhammer53 said,

    My $200 UA gift card credit showed up on my bill over the weekend.

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