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!
Successful AA Gift Card Reimbursement
Successful Delta Gift Card Reimbursement
As you can see in the above, I purchased 2x $100 American Airlines e-gift cards on 1/1 with my Business Platinum card while I used my wife’s Premier Rewards Gold card on 1/3 to purchase 2x $50 Delta e-gift cards. Both were credited automatically quite quickly compared to other airline credits I’ve seen posted in past years. If you plan to buy American or Delta gift cards, I highly recommend sticking with $100 e-gift cards for American and definitely only $50 e-gift cards for Delta.
If you want to try it for a different airline, please see the applicable Flyertalk threads below for other airlines.
Update: One note that Ann brought up in the comments – AA will not sell gift cards to NJ residents so you need to chose a different airline if you plan to buy gift cards. So make sure you select your airline with American Express first before buying any gift cards.
United Gift Card Reimbursements
Southwest Gift Card Reimbursements
Alaska Airlines Gift Card Reimbursements
Hawaiian Airlines Gift Card Reimbursements
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).
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.