How to Use Your $200 American Express Airline Incidental Credit

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American Express Platinum Card Airline CreditThe American Express Platinum card is by far one of the most perk-filled credit cards available. Yes, it does come with a hefty $450 yearly fee, but if you make use of everything this card has to offer, the fee doesn’t seem quite as large.

The primary monetary benefit Amex offers with this card is a $200 credit towards airline incidentals. That’s an awesome benefit that can help justify the yearly fee, however, using it is a bit challenging. The tricky part about this benefit is that they don’t give it to you up front and they don’t exactly tell you what all it covers. Well they tell you, but it’s buried deep in the terms and conditions that no one reads.

If you have an American Express Platinum, Business Platinum, Centurion, or Business Centurion card, here is how you take advantage of your yearly airline incidental credit.

What Qualifies

Here is what American Express says qualifies for the credit reimbursement:

  • Baggage fees
  • Change fees
  • Seat assignment fees
  • Phone reservation fees
  • Pet fees
  • Airport lounge day fees
  • In-flight amenity fees such as beverages, food, headphones, ect.
  • In-flight entertainment fees

Here is what American Express says doesn’t qualify:

  • Airline tickets
  • Upgrades
  • Mileage points purchases
  • Mileage points transfer fees
  • Gift cards
  • Duty free purchases
  • Registry purchases
  • Award tickets
  • In-flight wireless Internet
  • Anything (merchant) coded incorrectly

How to Maximize the Credit

Even though American Express explicitly says that gift cards are excluded, often times they will still credit your account for the purchase. Based on Flyertalk, many people have been successful buying four $50 gift cards for their favorite airlines and being reimbursed. I, however, prefer the registry method.

The registry method works similarly to the gift card method, except for the fact that you can make the full $200 credit in one purchase. In the next section, I’ll show you just how to take advantage of this method.

How to Use Your Credit

Disclaimer: The following method worked for me and many other members of flyertalk, however, there is no guarantee that it will work for you. Based on American Express’s terms, buying gift cards and adding money to a registry technically do not count towards receiving the credit. Because of this, make sure you can risk the $200 if it does not get reimbursed. I also suggest taking a look at the Flyertalk threads for up to date information regarding fee reimbursements, before following these methods.

  1. Go to and select your airline of choice if you have not done that already this year. You can only select one airline and you can only change the airline in January. *It’s very important that you complete this step first!
    American Express Platinum Airline ChoiceI selected United, but you can select whatever airline you would like.
    Airline Choice Amex
  2. Go to United’s (or whatever airline’s) registry creator and create your registry. If you prefer to go the gift card route, this is where you would purchase four $50 gift cards.
  3. Once you have your registry created, you will get a link to it in an email. Otherwise, you can go to the link above and search for it. Once you find your registry, it’s very easy to add $200 to it, just follow the onscreen directions.Contribute to Gift Registry of Individual | United Airlines
  4. The charge should show up in your pending charges right away, however, the credit will likely not show up for 4-7 business days after making the purchase.My Charge:American Express United Airlines ChargeMy Credit:American Express United Airlines Fee ReimbursementMy Charge Info:
    American Express United Fee Remibursement


Q: Is the $200 incidentals credit once per calendar year or once per membership year?
A: It’s once per calendar year, so you can basically get two $200 credits per membership year depending on when you signed up. For example, I signed up in June of 2014, so I will get a $200 credit for 2014 and one for 2015 even if I close my account in 2015.

Q: Why should I purchase four $50 gift cards instead of one $200 gift card?
A: Many people have been successfully reimbursed for $50 gift cards. $200 gift cards, however, are commonly not reimbursed.

Q: Where can I find up to date information on Flyertalk about peoples experiences getting reimbursed?
A: You can check out this thread. It has links to threads devoted to reimbursements for each airline.

If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments.

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