Middle Age Miles

Gift Cards Work for Airline Credit on Updated Amex Gold Card (Data Point)

Amex Gold Card – limited edition rose gold version

This article relates to the updated Amex Gold card, with great new benefits that recently went into effect in early October 2018. You can apply for the Amex Gold card through Middle Age Miles’ referral link. The sign-up offer through this referral link is 50,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points after spending $2,000 within 3 months. This is substantially better than the publicly-available offer of 25,000 MR points.

Executive Summary

Even though it’s contrary to Amex’s express terms, an American Airlines $100 gift card works to trigger the $100 Airline Fee credit on the updated Amex Gold card, as long as you’ve chosen AA as your selected airline.

Details & Analysis

The updated Amex Gold personal card is one of the best pieces of news in the credit card-points-and-miles world in the past few months.  The new card has best-in-class bonus category earning in two important categories where most people spend a lot of money – US restaurants and US supermarkets. The new card’s annual fee is $250, but many people will be able to get value from the card that exceeds this annual fee amount.

Here is the bonus-earning and bonus category structure:

  • 4x MR points at US restaurants
  • 4x MR points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year)
  • 3x MR points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 2x MR points for other purchases made on amextravel.com
  • 1x MR points on everything else

In addition, the updated Amex Gold card comes with 2 statement-credit benefits

  • $10 per month (technically, per statement cycle) to offset purchases at the following restaurants/food services: Grubhub, Seamless. The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Shake Shack (except for Shake Shacks at ballparks, stadiums, airports and racetracks); and
  • $100 per year airline fee credit – select one qualifying airline and receive up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits when incidental fees are charged by that airline to your Amex Gold card.

Here, we’re focused on the $100 per year Airline Fee Credit.  When you get the card, you’ll need to go into the Benefits section of your online account and choose an airline for your fee credit.  You must do this before you’ll receive the Airline Fee Credit benefit.  This benefit is marketed as a statement credit for “incidental fee purchases.”

Here is how Amex describes the benefit, along with the full terms and conditions:

As you can see from the terms, the $100 Airline Fee Credit covers “incidental air travel fees.”  This would be for things like baggage fees, seat upgrades (not class-of-service upgrades), buy-on-board food, and buy-on-board entertainment. The Amex terms expressly exclude “Airline tickets, upgrades [that is, class-of-service upgrades], mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets” (emphasis added).

However, despite what the terms say, Amex has traditionally reimbursed low-value gift cards ($50 or $100) under identical Airline Fee Credit benefit programs on other cards. I can personally vouch for many successful statement credits on Amex cards when purchasing American Airlines gift cards of up to $100.  I’ve also read many successful reports for buying $50 Delta GCs and $50 or $100 Southwest GCs.  [I’ve also read reports of low-priced airfare of under $100 triggering the credit.]

Once we received our new Amex Gold card recently, we decided to test the Airline Fee Credit again by choosing AA as our selected airline and purchasing a $100 AA GC with the card.

We made the purchase on Wednesday, October 10, and 3 days later on Saturday, October 13, we received the $100 statement credit under the Airline Fee Credit benefit.

Between this specific data point and our previous experience and research, we feel confident saying that, for now, purchases of low-value GCs on your selected airline will trigger the Airline Fee Credit benefit on your updated Amex Gold card.  We also feel confident that, for now, low value GCs will continue to trigger the credit when offered on other Amex cards such as the personal Platinum, the Business Platinum, and the Amex Hilton Aspire cards.

This is a valuable benefit and tip, to be able to knock out your entire Airfare Fee Credit at once, and have the proceeds available to use for airfare on your selected airline at your pleasure.

Do you have additional insights or tips on the Amex Airline Fee Credit benefit or other benefits of the updated Amex Gold card? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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2 thoughts on “Gift Cards Work for Airline Credit on Updated Amex Gold Card (Data Point)

    1. Craig Post author

      Hi PM, thanks for the comment. I know this DP is well-known to serious points-and-miles hobbyists, but it’s always nice to have continuing confirmation, especially when something changes (like having the benefit on a new/refreshed card). Also, many Middle Age Miles readers are new to credit cards/points/miles, and I’m always happy if I can teach a person something in the hobby that they didn’t know. Thanks again!

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