I’m bumping this up to the top of the blog roll as a reminder to make a change by TODAY. You must choose the designated airline for any Platinum card (including the Business Platinum), the American Express Gold (which comes with $100 incidental fee credit), and the Hilton Aspire card (which comes with $250 incidental fee credit) by today as well if you want it to be different than last year’s. 

One of the most valuable benefits of The Platinum Card from American Express is $200 in statement credits for incidental fees with your designated qualifying airline every calendar year. 

In other words, you won’t receive reimbursements on your card statement for incidental travel expenses across the board. You must choose an airline you wish to receive statement credits for, and that is your “designated qualifying airline” all year. Do so here (login required if you’re not already logged in). You can also the call the number on the back of your card to chose your designated qualifying airline if you prefer.

If you just recently opened the Amex Platinum and have not chosen your designated qualifying airline yet, you can do so at any time. If you have had the Platinum Card for a while and had a qualifying designated airline set in 2018, the time window to change it is January. That means Thursday is the last day to change or choose your qualifying airline if you want it to be different than last years.

Unfortunately “incidental travel expenses” don’t include just any charge to an airline, hotel, Uber, etc., like the travel statements credits available on a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You’ll want to be careful about what airline you choose for this reason. More on that below.

How the Travel Credit for the Amex Platinum Cards Work

Amex Platinum cardholders, inclusive of, get $200 in statement credits for incidental fees with your designated qualifying airline every calendar year. In order to get the $200 airline fee credit, you have to choose a single airline on which you will receive credits for fees incurred. Designate that airline from the list of eligible airlines here. Note that this $200 credit is a benefit of all the versions of the Platinum card, including The Business Platinum Card From American Express.

This person needs to spend their Amex travel credit asap!

The airline fee credit is supposed to be for “incidental fees” likes change fees, cancellation fees, and bag fees. The fee credit is not supposed to apply to ticket purchases, miles purchases, or gift card purchases.

highlighted terms and conditions

But American Express’s computers decides whether a certain purchase qualifies for a fee credit, and in the experience of thousands of people, certain airline gift card purchases will result in a statement credit. That makes this benefit like getting $400 in free flights, which almost completely offsets the annual fee in one swoop.

There is a FlyerTalk thread devoted to each airline that you can select for fee reimbursement for people to post their experiences trying to purchase gift cards. One method that tends to work better no matter what airline you choose is smaller charges. Big charges don’t look like incidental fees. So if you’re going the gift card route, buy multiple gift cards in small amounts.

Airline FlyerTalk ThreadGift cards?Other Notes
American AirlinesTypically counting
Alaska AirlinesNot typically countingSome people book flights and then cancel within the free cancellation period (either 24 hrs w/no status, or longer w/status), and get both the actual flight refunded and the airline statement credit
Delta Typically countingRead this post first to learn how exactly to buy gift cards (NOT through the mobile site, this still applies)
Hawaiian AirlinesNot typically countingOnly incidental charges of less than $50 are typically reimbursed
JetBlueDoes not sell gift cardsOnly incidental charges of less than $50 are typically reimbursed
UnitedCan't buy gift cards period at the momentUnited Gift Registry, the only way to buy "gift cards", is down.
SouthwestTypically counting

As you can see, American, Delta, and Southwest are your best bets if you want to do this via gift cards.

Incidental Fee Statement Processing Time

It can take a few weeks for the offsetting statement credit to appear–though it usually takes just a few days. If yours doesn’t appear after a few weeks, you can call the number on the back of your card or initiate an online chat to get your statement credit.

Bottom Line

Choose your designated airline here or call the number on the back of your Amex Platinum to speak with a representative. If you just opened a Platinum Card, you can pick your airline at any time. You’ll only be able to choose it once, and once you have you’re time window to change it is January of each year. You have until Thursday change your existing Amex designated airline. If you don’t, Amex will set it as whatever your choice was last year.

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