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How to use your American Express travel credits
Whether you’re booking a flight or hotel stay, maximize your Amex travel credits.
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What's in this guide?
How do American Express travel credits work?
Amex travel credits are relatively easy to use because you don’t have to apply them yourself. Typically, all you need to do is spend on eligible purchases with your American Express travel card. In two to 12 weeks, Amex will apply a statement credit to your account.
If you want to use property credits, they’ll be applied to your hotel bill as you check out.
What is statement credit?
Statement credit lowers your credit card balance. For example, if your balance is $1,000 and you apply a $200 statement credit, you now owe just $800.
Keep in mind that even if you apply statement credit, you typically must still make your minimum payment.
Types of American Express travel credits
Amex currently offers a few types of travel credits:
For eligible charges with a qualifying airline of your choice.
Qualifying airlines for Amex air travel credits
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
These apply to spending at select dining partners. You’ll get access to your statement credit in monthly increments.
Qualifying partners for Amex dining credits
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Participating Shake Shack locations
These apply to spending within a specified loyalty program — either Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors. You can use these for room rates, as well as incidentals you charge to your room and pay for with your card.
These apply to either Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors, depending on your card. Charge eligible purchases to your room, and your credits will be applied to your bill when you check out.
Unlike hotel credits, resort or property credits don’t apply to room rates.
Like with dining credits, you’ll get access to these credits in monthly increments. You can use these credits for UberEATS as well.
TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credits.
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry get you through airport security lanes faster. Your Amex card may include credits that reimburse you after you apply for one of these programs.
Do travel credits expire?
Yes — you’ll receive a certain amount of travel credits every calendar year, after which they’ll expire. Try to use them by the end of December each year.
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry statement credits don’t expire. However, you’ll only get another one of them four or four and a half years after you’ve used a credit.
How to use your American Express travel credits
Airline fee credits
- Log in to your American Express account, scroll to the Benefits section and select one qualifying airline. Do this before you use your card for airline charges. You can change your qualifying airline once each year in January.
- Make eligible purchases with the qualifying airline. Your travel credits will cover eligible incidental fees. In some cases, gift cards are covered too, but this depends on how each airline codes its transactions. If you’re unsure, call your airline and ask.
- Wait for your statement credit to post. If you’ve made an eligible purchase, your statement credit will post to your account within two to four weeks.
Examples of purchases covered by your airline fee credit
- Checked baggage
- Overweight and oversize baggage charges
- Phone reservation charges
- Seat selection fees
- Pet flight fees
- In-flight amenities (e.g., food, beverages, headphones, etc.)
- In-flight entertainment (not including Wi-Fi)
- Airport lounge access and membership
- Log in to your Amex account and select the applicable card. Click More, then click Benefits. After that, select your dining credit benefit and enroll in the program.
- Use your card for an eligible purchase with a dining partner. Gift cards and merchandise don’t qualify.
- Wait for your statement credit to post. After your eligible purchase, your statement credit will post to your account within two to four weeks.
- Make an eligible purchase with your card at a participating resort. Depending on your card, your hotel credit is valid at Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy properties. Your credit can be applied to room rates, as well as incidentals you charge to your room and pay for with your card.
- Wait for your statement credit to post. After your eligible purchase, your statement credit will post to your account within eight to 12 weeks.
- Book a stay via an approved method. For Hilton Honors, book your room with your card through the loyalty program’s dedicated Amex portal or by calling 855-292-5757. Book a minimum stay of two nights at a participating property.
For Marriott Bonvoy, book your room with your card through the program’s website or by calling 800-450-4442. Book a minimum stay of two nights at a participating property.
- Charge eligible purchases to your room. Your property credit is good for hotel incidentals, but does not cover property fees, taxes, gratuities or room rates.
- Check out. When you check out, your credit will be applied to your bill. Pay with your Amex hotel card.
Eligible properties for Hilton Honors
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad Hotels & Resorts
Eligible properties for Marriott Bonvoy
- The Ritz-Carlton
- St. Regis
- Link your Amex card to your Uber account. To receive credits, your Amex card must be listed as a method of payment.
- Before the end of your Uber fare or before placing your UberEATS order, select Uber Cash as your payment method. Amex credits go to your Uber Cash balance.
How to use your TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit
- Apply for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Pay for your application fee with your Amex card.
- Wait for your statement credit to post. After the application fee is charged to your account, Amex will post a statement credit to your account within eight weeks.
American Express credit cards that offer travel credits
At the time of writing, the following American Express credit cards come with travel credits:
|Card||Travel credits||Annual fee|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$550 (Terms apply, see rates & fees)|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||$595(Terms apply, see rates & fees)|
|American Express® Gold Card||$250 (Terms apply, see rates & fees)|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||$450(Terms apply, see rates & fees)|
|Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card||$450|
|American Express® Green Card||$150 (Terms apply, see rates & fees)|
Please note: All information about American Express® Green Card and Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card has been collected independently by Finder and these cards are not available through this site.
You’ll also find select credits with the American Express® Business Gold Card and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, as well as The Centurion® Card from American Express and its business and corporate versions.
Compare Amex travel rewards cards
Pros and cons of American Express travel credits
Now that you know how Amex travel credits work, let’s weigh a few of the positives and negatives of using them.
- Offset your card’s annual fee. Travel credits can reduce the effective cost of your card, making the card potentially attractive even if the sticker price seems high.
- Cut travel costs. Travel credits are especially useful if you know you’ll travel or spend on certain incidentals.
- Easy to use. Because credits come in the form of statement credit, they’ll automatically be applied to your account.
- No points earned. In contrast to paying with your Amex card, you won’t earn points when you use travel credits to pay for purchases.
- You may need to wait for credits to apply. It may take up to 12 weeks for your statement credit to show up on your account.
- Use it or lose it. Besides TSA PreCheck and Global Entry credits, travel credits don’t roll over year to year. If you don’t use them, you’re essentially paying full price for your card.
Using American Express travel credits can be a great way to get extra value from your credit card. Before using them, understand how they work and what restrictions they carry.
If you’re not sure an Amex product is right for you, consider other travel credit cards.
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