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There are consequences to the new year for loyalty programs and credit cards. There is a new airline fee credit with American Express for those with eligible cards. It is possible to get hundreds of dollars of value per year based on the cards that I have.

A lot of people have just reset their Amex airline fee credits, so I wanted to talk about the current state of the Amex airline fee credits.

An annual airline fee credit is a benefit of several American Express cards. Benefits like this help offset the annual fees on cards, and the credit is intended to be used towards airline fees.

The validity is based on the calendar year for all American Express cards. It is not like other cards where it is based on your cardmember year.

Airline fee credits are valid for January 1 through December 31, but it is a "use it or lose it" situation.

One of the following airlines can be designated as your airline of choice.

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
You could designate Frontier as your airline for the Amex fee credit

There are three premium cards that offer airline fee credit.

The annual airline credit can only be used for purchases made with airlines.

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.

There is no guarantee that this will continue, but some items have been reimbursed in the past.

There are threads on the American Express forum dedicated to reimbursement reports for each airline. It's possible to find inspiration on some of the best uses, as you might be surprised by what some people have found.

Baggage fees, award ticket fees, change and cancelation fees, seat assignment fees, lounge passes, inflight food and beverage purchases, and other items can be reimbursed.

Lounge passes could be reimbursed with airline fee credits

If you designate an airline for this benefit, your eligible airline purchase should be automatically reimbursed.

If you want to change your airline, you can do so in January.

To verify or select your airline, log into your Amex account and select an eligible card, and then click on the benefits tab at the top of the page.

Go to the “Benefits” tab on Amex’s website

Click on the section that lists the airline fee credit benefit if you want to change it.

You can change your selected airline

You can scroll down and see the selection of airlines that you can choose from.

Page for changing Amex airline fee credit selection
Airline choices for Amex airline fee credit

A tracker that shows how much credit you have used so far this year should be on the benefits page.

Amex airline fee credit tracker

If you designate an airline last year, it will be the default one this year, so you don't have to do anything. If you haven't designated an airline in the past or want to change it, you'll want to change it.

When you redeem your points with the "Pay With Points" feature on the Business Platinum Card from American Express, you'll get a 35% discount. You will want to make a good choice.

Readers often comment on how it is time for Amex to update the benefit. It is interesting to see how much less restrictive travel credits are on other premium credit cards.

The Amex credit only applies to fees, which is why it is so restrictive.

I think it is important to acknowledge that the Amex Platinum offers an incredible number of credits, and that these benefits are designed to have a lot of breakage, or else the economics wouldn't work out.

The intent is likely to be that not all card members maximize each of the perks. All of the benefits are likely to be restricted by design. I don't think Amex will replace a $200 airline credit with a flat $200 airline credit.

I don't like when the year resets in terms of elite status, but I enjoy getting new annual airline fee credits thanks to the Amex cards I have. If you have any of the above Amex cards, you can designate your airline of choice and take advantage of your 2023 credits.

How are you going to use your airline fee credits?

The rates and fees can be found in the links. The Platinum Card from American Express has rates and fees.