American Express (U.S.) charge card holders can use an annual Airline Credit that comes with Gold ($100) and Platinum ($200) cards but many might be in a difficult situation to use it right now.
Since I haven’t used up the credit of one of my cards yet that I plan to downgrade next month I decided to just charge something and hoped it gets reimbursed, in this case 5000 miles from the United Airlines Award Accelerator.
American Express offers this Airline Fee Credit in the form of a reimbursement after transactions are charged and posted to the eligible card account.
A few weeks ago I wrote about considering if it’s really worth it to upkeep many premium cards throughout the year. I have Amex charge cards issued in several countries but feel that I’m not getting much value from my U.S. based account at the moment.
The Gold Card will go away this year and probably be downgraded to Green which comes with a credit for CLEAR that’s at least somewhat useful. I’m simply not in the U.S. often enough to make use of the monthly restaurant credit and was only able to use 2x $10 at the Cheesecake factory within the current membership year.
Since gift cards reportedly no longer work I decided to buy 5000 United Mileage Plus miles at $125 during a recent booking via the Award Accelerator function and charged it to my Amex card.
I was always successful in automatically getting airline tickets reimbursed that cost less than $100 but given the current situation there is really no way to book anything so buying some miles that book as a fee was the next best thing.
I don’t like the inflexibility of the Amex Airline credit and that played a large part in my decision to get rid of it for the following year. At least the Chase CSR credit is a fully flexible travel credit and they really interpret “Travel” very loosely such as including public transport tickets, taxis, Uber/Grab etc. The Chase credit is pretty much as good as cash while with Amex you always have to jiggle around.
In previous years it was always possible to buy some gift cards but they have found it necessary to crack down on that option as well. If you’re elite member with the airline or buy premium tickets there are simply no “fees” you have to pay so this credit is obsolete. This mileage purchase wasn’t my favorite option as I think it’s overpriced but better than nothing.