My Advice: Use Your 2016 American Express Airline Credit Now

Update: Credits are posting as expected. See this post for more details.

Earlier this week I posted one final reminder to use your 2015 American Express Airline credit whether it be for $200 (Platinum cards) or $100 (Premier Rewards Gold card). Now that 2016 is here you can now change your airline selection (if you so chose) but I am advocating to use the 2016 credits NOW if you plan to buy airline gift cards. I have always had success buying $50 Delta gift cards or $100 American Airlines gift cards but I would check the latest reports on the Flyertalk threads for United, Southwest and Alaska Airlines before selecting any of those airlines.

My argument is a simple one. It is widely known that airline gift cards are not eligible for the airline credit per the terms & conditions. However for years, the automated system American Express uses to determine what is eligible has nonetheless processed certain gift card purchases as being eligible – usually small amounts such as $50 (Delta) or $100 (Southwest/American) or if purchased a part of a registry (United). Right now, we know this is still working as the recent posts to Flyertalk demonstrate but there is no guarantee this will work for all of 2016. I have no inside knowledge to this but I do think there is a non-zero chance American Express changes this at some point in 2016. 

To show that I follow my own advice, I purchased these two $100 American Airline gift cards yesterday on 1/1 and I am hoping the credits post shortly after (I will update this post once it does).

Amex Pending Charges

To be clear, I have absolutely zero inside knowledge that this ‘trick’ to buy airline gift cards and have them be eligible for the airline credit will end soon. In fact, it probably won’t end this year as that chance is quite small (but not zero either) in my opinion. After the technical issue earlier this year in which people feared American Express had caught on to this trick, I’d rather be months earlier getting my airline gift cards reimbursed than a day late.

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11 thoughts on “My Advice: Use Your 2016 American Express Airline Credit Now

  1. In November I applied for the Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card for the sole reason of the gift card benefit, no annual fee (first year), Global Entry rebate, and the SPG Gold status. This is probably the 5th Platinum card that I have had over the last 8 years. When it’s all said and done before the annual fee is due, I will have made $400 in gift card purchases (already done!) renewed by Global entry ($100), and stayed a few SPG properties. I’d say making $500 on this card before the annual fee is due is a great deal! I’m putting my spending elsewhere.

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  2. Being that the card was issued through Amerprise instead of AMEX, is that the reason you were able to get multiples? I always heard AMEX had a one and done policy.

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  3. I’m not so sure the trick is still working with AA. First $100 purchase worked in June, another $100 in July did not. Then I procrastinated till December 21, and still waiting for the next attempt. I know there have been positive flyertalk reports, but there you go.

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  4. I got an error message as AA has decided to not deliver gift cards to the NJ residents.

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  5. […] One of my first posts of 2016 recommended that anyone who generally buys airline gift cards to take advantage of the annual airline credit on the American Express Platinum ($200) or Premier Rewards Gold ($100) card should do so now, rather than taking a chance that American Express kills this option at some point in 2016. While reports on Flyertalk have generally been positive about this ‘trick’ still working, I can confirm firsthand that $100 American Airlines e-gift cards and $50 Delta e-gift cards are working. Not only are they working but American Express is crediting them in record time – only one or two days! […]

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  6. My wife and I each have the Amex Platinum cards. On 12/31/15 we both bought Southwest Gift Cards. Two, $100 cards on mine and she bought a $200 gc on hers. Both were reimbursed on 1/3/16. =)

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