AMEX Annual Airline Fee Credit

Each year, AMEX Gold & Platinum cardholders get $100/$200 toward “incidental” flight expenses with a designated airline. These credits are supposed to be for seat selection, on-board purchases, cancellation fees, etc. But there is a trick to use those credits another way: small denomination gift cards purchased directly from some of the airlines will code as incidental purchases that get refunded! You essentially are getting a free $100 or $200 credit to use on your next flight - it's a great benefit of these cards. AMEX doesn't tell you about this and won't admit to it, so don't call and ask them about it - it's a gap in their coding.

A couple things to keep in mind:
1) If you haven't already designated your airline, make sure you do this through the AMEX website before you make the gift card purchase.
2) Don't wait too long. If you don't make this purchase before the end of the year, you'll miss out completely!

To designate your airline (if you haven't already done so), log into your American Express account, click on Benefits, and you'll see the box to designate your airline.

Three airlines will code gift cards as incidental purchases:
Note: Purchase the gift cards individually. For instance, buy four $50 cards in four separate transactions, not in one $200 transaction.

American: $50 Gift Cards are tracking. $100 Gift Cards are usually tracking. Click HERE to purchase.  

Southwest: $50 works. $100 may not. Click HERE to purchase.

Delta: Gift cards up to $50 should work. Click HERE to purchase. 

Sorry, this trick will not work if you have designated United, Alaska, Hawaiian or JetBlue as your airline with American Express. You can update your airline selection in January next year.