Last year there were tons of negative changes to the miles/points landscape as banks made obtaining credit cards more difficult, devaluations were rampant and many manufactured spend techniques were killed off. As we saw yesterday, 2017 is not off to a good start either. Therefore, I am recommending anyone who has an American Express airline credit from their Platinum card ($200) or Premier Rewards Gold card ($100) and plans to use them on airline gift cards, should use them as soon as possible.
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 e-gift card purchases as being eligible – usually small amounts such as $50 (Delta) or $100 (Southwest/American/Alaska) or if purchased a part of a registry (United). Right now, we know this is still working as the recent posts to Flyertalk demonstrate (see end of post) but there is no guarantee this will work for all of 2017. 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 2017. I did say the same thing last year & I was obviously wrong but I’d rather lock my credit in to be safe.
As a reminder, you can change your airline selection until the end of January using this link. To show that I follow my own advice, I purchased two $50 Delta e-gift cards yesterday on my PRG card and I am hoping the credits post shortly after (I will update this post once it does).
To be clear, I have absolutely zero inside knowledge that this ‘trick’ to buy airline e-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. I have always had success buying $50 Delta e-gift cards or $100 American Airlines e-gift cards but I would check the latest reports on the Flyertalk threads below before selecting any of those airlines. After all that has changed in the last year or so, I’d rather be months earlier getting my airline gift cards reimbursed than a day late.
Links to FlyerTalk Threads with recent reports of success/failures
Readers, feel free to post your success/failures below!
I’m so glad you posted about this as last December I was scrambling to use the Mileage Plus X app to get a United credit, and it did not work. However, others were doing it at the same time as me and receiving credits. Can you please confirm whether or not that option is dead, and whether there are any other work-arounds than the gift cards purchases? I only fly when I have points, so a gift card wouldn’t be much use to me, unless of course, you can buy points with a gift card.
MPX option is unfortunately dead. For United, read the Flyertalk thread I linked to as people have had success creating a gift registry and having those gift card purchases for the registry count. If you really have no use for the gift card otherwise, I’d recommend switching the airline to American and buying their gift cards to resell them at 81.5% of face. Beats getting nothing from the credit.
I had delta success end of December. Did the same as you for delta again yesterday on my gold. I think the same as you too on my wife and I’s plats on locking in early especially since I can’t change airline after Jan. Last year United was the easy pick. This year I have to plan a little more.
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