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How to use your American Express airline credit

Enjoy a round-trip flight certificate or get credit for checked baggage or other purchases.

Three American Express credit cards offer airline fee credit, which can help you cover a variety of airline fees such as checked bags or itinerary change fees. To activate it, you must select an eligible airline once every calendar year.

Keep in mind, airline fee credit is not the same as travel credit. The latter covers a variety of travel charges, including flights, not just airline fees.

How to use the Amex airline fee credit

Using the Amex airline fee credit is simple. But you have to set it up first. Here’s how:

  1. Log in to your online account. Select the The Platinum Card® from American Express or another eligible card. Select the Benefits section.
  2. Enroll in the airline fee credit. Find the airline fee credit and select Enroll Now.
  3. Select airline. Choose an eligible airline from the dropdown list and click Submit Selection.

Note: If you chose an airline, it will be your default selection every year until you change it. You can change it once per calendar year, but only in January.

Can authorized users use the airline fee credit?

Yes, authorized users have access to the card’s airline fee credit. But this is not an additional fee credit per cardholder. If the card comes with a $200 airline fee credit, the main cardholder and the authorized users use the same $200.

What can you use it for?

You can use your Amex airline credit toward the following fees:

  • Checked baggage
  • Itinerary change
  • Phone reservation
  • Pet flight
  • Seat assignment
  • In-flight amenities
  • In-flight entertainment (excluding wireless internet)
  • Airport lounge day pass and annual membership

What can you not use it for?

  • Wireless internet
  • Fees with airline alliance partners
  • Airline tickets
  • Upgrades
  • Mileage points purchases
  • Mileage points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty-free purchases
  • Award tickets

List of eligible airlines

You can use your airline fee credit once you select one of these eligible airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

Can you use the Amex airline fee credit without traveling?

During COVID-10, some card providers adjusted their travel credits and allowed them to be used toward everyday purchases, like groceries. But not Amex. You can only use the airline fee credit to cover airline fees.

American Express cards that offer airline fee credit

American Express offers three cards that come with an airline fee credit:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

What is the difference between airline fee credit and travel credit?

The The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with airline fee credit, while the Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with travel credit. Here are a few notable differences between these two types of credits:

Travel credit

You can use travel credit to cover airfare, seat upgrades, airline fees, in-flight Wi-Fi, hotels, cruises and more. During the COVID pandemic, some card providers allowed grocery store purchases and gas to be covered by the card’s travel credit.

Airline fee credit

Available only toward one qualifying airline to cover incidental charges. Eligible charges include airport lounge day passes and annual memberships, booking fees, checked baggage fees, in-flight purchases and entertainment.

Bottom line

American Express credit cards with airline fee credits give you a chance to balance out the annual fee of a premium travel card, while enjoying top-tier benefits and rewards. Just make sure you keep the terms and conditions in mind to get as much value as possible from this perk.

If you’re still choosing a card, you can also compare these Amex options with other credit cards that offer complimentary flights or travel credit to find the right card for your travel style.

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