UPDATES: 
  • Updated FlyerTalk's data points reference links for 2022. 

Amex Airline Fee Credit
benefit is getting harder and harder these days to go around it. The reimbursement fee credit is helpful because making good use of it, it essentially offsets the high annual fee on the Amex card that has this airline fee credit benefit.

According to American Express, only incidental air travel fees such as baggage fees, inflight food, and beverages, to name a few, are considered qualified purchases. Any airline gift card or flight ticket purchases are not eligible purchases. It makes this benefit very restrictive to use for people that do not like to check bags or do not often fly to pay for those incidental air travel fees in a year with a specific airline.

In this post, we are putting a list together for known workarounds that trigger the Amex Airline Fee Credit from the points and miles community, mainly FlyerTalk. We monitor FlyerTalk closely to update this post accordingly. Feel free to bookmark this page or subscribe to our blog posts below.


Photo Credit: Amex
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    Selecting A Qualifying Airline for Amex Airline Fee Credit

    First and foremost, you must select one qualifying airline you want. This can be done online, via chat, or call the number on the back of your card. 

    You can only change your airline selection once a year in January, and if you do not change it, the previous year's preferred airline selection remains in place.

    To select a qualifying airline for Amex Airline Fee Credit online, go Here

    What Qualifies for Amex Airline Fee Credit?

    First thing first, according to American Express, only incidental air travel fees are considered qualified purchases. You can find an extensive list of eligible and ineligible charges below. 

    Here are the Amex terms and conditions on airline fee credit:
    Statement Credits: Incidental air travel fees must be charged to the Card Member on the eligible Card Account for the benefit to apply. Incidental air travel fees charged by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. 
    • Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges.  
    • Fees not charged by the Card Member's airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits.  
    • Incidental air travel fees charged prior to selection of a qualifying airline are not eligible for statement credits. 
    • Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees. 
    • The airline must submit the charge under the appropriate merchant code, industry code, or required service or product identifier for the charge to be recognized as an incidental air travel fee.

    Eligible airline fee charge billed AFTER airline section:

    • Airport lounge day passes and annual memberships
    • Change fees
    • Checked baggage fees
    • Early check-in fees
    • In-flight amenity fees (beverages, food, pillows/blankets, and so on)
    • In-flight entertainment fees (excluding wireless internet)
    • Overweight/oversize baggage fees
    • Pet flight fees
    • Phone reservation fees
    • Seat assignment fees
    • Unaccompanied minor fees

    Ineligible airline fee charges include:

    • Eligible airline fee charge billed to the account before airline selection
    • Airfreight
    • Airline tickets
    • Award ticket fees
    • Cancellation fees
    • Charges processed by Merchants other than the airline the Card Member has selected in (for example, in-flight internet services providers such as GoGo)
    • Charges made by airline partner (for example, Card Member purchase tickets on selected airline Delta, but buy food on an Air France flight)
    • Duty-free purchase
    • Frequent Flyer purchase
    • Gift Cards issued by airlines
    • Point transfer fees
    • Trip insurance/baggage insurance
    • Ticket upgrades (including American Airlines Upgrade Stickers)
    • Travel agent fees

    Airlines Workaround That Triggers Amex Airline Fee Reimbursement Credit

    Below is a compilation list of known workaround for a specific airline that triggers Amex airline fee credit provided by the miles and points community at the FlyerTalk.

    Alaska Airlines

    Due to COVID-19, Alaska Airlines allows ticket change and cancellation free of charge before departure. Instead of receiving the refund to your credit card, the credit is deposited into your Alaska Airlines Wallet. The fund in the Wallet is good for one year from the date of the ticket's purchase. 

    • Select Alaska Airlines as your preferred airline first in your Amex account. 
    • Wait a day or so to allow the system to affect your airline selection.
    • Use any credit cards or Alaska's wallet fund to purchase an Alaska Airlines ticket. 
    • After purchasing the ticket, use the right Amex card to pay for a Premium Class seat assignment.
    • The premium class seat assignment definitely qualifies for the Amex airline fee credit because the seat assignment does fall under Amex's incidental air travel fees. 
    • If 24 hours later after you purchase the ticket, you decide to take the trip, that's great. If not, Alaska Airlines allows free changes (except for Saver fare) due to COVID-19. Or you can also cancel the ticket, and all the airfare along with the premium seat assignment fees are credited into your Alaska Airlines Wallet to be used for future travels. 

    Some people receive automatic airline fee reimbursement from the points and miles community with the above-mentioned premium seat assignment. Still, some have to contact Amex to request the credit to be manually applied. If you don't see automatic airline fee credit 14 days after the charge is posted to your account, you can contact Amex through chat/phone. If you contact them before 14 days, they will simply tell you to wait until 14 days are up because they can manually apply the airline fee credit for you only after the 14-day mark. 

    Please note that you must refer to the charge as "seat assignment fee," not seat upgrade fee because an upgrade is not an eligible charge for the airline fee credit. 

    Data Point Reference: FlyerTalk (Alaska)

    JetBlue Airways

    • Select JetBlue Airways as your preferred airline first in your Amex account. 
    • Wait a day or so to allow the system to affect your airline selection.
    • Purchase a JetBlue ticket that has an airfare under $99. Any flight ticket that has airfare above $99 will not work. 
    • Be sure to purchase the ticket with the right Amex card. 
    • If you are going to use that JetBlue ticket, great! If not, after 24 hours of purchase, you can cancel the ticket and receive the refund in the form of the TravelBank fund that is good for one year from the date of deposit (thanks to the current free change and cancellation policy, except for Blue Basic fare)
    • Allow some time for the Amex system to process your purchase and the fee reimbursement. It generally takes 2-4 days after the charge is posted to your account. 

    Here's a timeline example:
    • January 10 - Purchased JetBlue ticket for $98.86.
    • January 10 - Amex account shows Pending JetBlue Airways $98.86. 
    • January 10 - Purchase is successfully charged and posted as JETBLUE AIRWAYS. 
    • January 12 - Amex airline fee of $98.86 reimbursed. 

    Data Points Reference: FlyerTalk (JetBlue)

    Delta Air Lines

    • Select Delta Air Lines as your preferred airline first in your Amex account. 
    • Wait a day or so to allow the system to affect your airline selection.
    • When you purchase a Delta ticket, be sure to pay a portion of the airfare with a Delta gift card or Delta eCredit and charge the remaining balance to your Amex card. This "additional collection" will trigger the Amex airline fee credit if the amount is $250 or less. 

    For example:
    • October 25 - Purchase a $280 ticket with a $50 Delta gift card and charge the remaining $230.20 to the Amex card. 
    • October 26 - Check the transaction posted as "additional collection."
    • October 27 - $200 airline fee credit posted.

    Your timeline may be different. Allow some time for the Amex system to process your purchase and the fee reimbursement. It generally takes 2-4 days after the charge is posted.

    Data Points Reference: FlyerTalk (Delta)

    Southwest Airlines

    • Select Southwest Airlines as your preferred airline first in your Amex account. 
    • Wait a day or so to allow the system to affect your airline selection.
    • Purchase a Southwest ticket that has an airfare under $100. Any flight ticket that has airfare above $100 will not work. Use Southwest's helpful low-fare calendar to help search for those less than $ 100 tickets. 
    • Be sure to purchase the ticket with the right Amex card. 
    • If you are going to use that Southwest ticket, great! If not, after 24 hours of purchase, you can cancel the ticket and receive the refund in the form of the travel fund that is good for one year from the date of purchase. I do not recommend canceling the ticket right inside the 24 hours window because the refund will go back to your Amex card, and there's a chance Amex may claw back that credit in the future.
    • Allow some time for the Amex system to process your purchase and the fee reimbursement. It generally takes 2-4 days after the charge is posted to your account. 

    Here's a timeline example:
    • January 3 - Purchased Southwest ticket for $79.86.
    • January 3 - Amex account shows Pending Southwest Airlines $79.86. 
    • January 3 - Purchase is successfully charged and posted as SOUTHWEST AIRLINES DALLAS TX. 
    • January 5 - Amex airline fee of $79.86 reimbursed. 

    Data Points Reference: FlyerTalk (Southwest)

    United Airlines

    • Be sure to select United Airlines as your preferred airline first in your Amex account. 
    • Wait a day or so to allow the system to affect your airline selection.
    • Use that Amex card to purchase United travel cash known as TravelBank Here. Any amount will do. 
    • Allow some time for the Amex system to process your purchase and the fee reimbursement. Be patient and do not call Amex to inquire about this. See an example timeline in the screenshot below. 

    Amex Airline Fee Credit for United Airlines

    Please note that United TravelBank Cash expires 5 years after it's purchased. You can view the expiration date on each of your TravelBank cash: 
    • Log into your United account.
    • Click on the View My United button. 
    • Click on the View details link under the TravelBank section. 

    Data Point Reference: FlyerTalk (United)