Credit Cards

Amex Platinum Tip: Do Your Homework Before Picking a Preferred Airline

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I was one of the unfortunates who signed up for the American Express Platinum Card mere weeks before the announcement the partnership with US Airways and Admiral Clubs would be discontinued after March. Some folks were lucky enough to be offered a statement credit to make up for it, not me.

This took away a bit of my enthusiasm for the card, so I put off picking which airline I could get $200 in fees reimbursed until the last minute. I remembered with two days to spare that the credit is based on the calendar year, not renewal date. So if I wanted to get as much remaining value from the card as I could, I needed to take advantage of the option by December 31.

Not realizing I could select an airline through my online account, I called during one of my layovers on the 30th to designate US Airways. Later that day when I went to the US Airways website, I realized I should have done my homework. Buying gift cards through the airlines often shows up like a fee and qualify for the statement credit. (One Mile At A Time has a helpful post on the likelihood of this going through.)

US Airways Gift Card Purchase

What I didn’t know was US Airways only offers physical gift cards, each with a $15 FedEx shipping fee. So even if those purchases were credited as “fees”, I’d lose $60 for the shipping. I wondered if it was too late to switch airlines and called American Express.

It wasn’t a problem, as it appeared the representative the day before hadn’t actually processed my request! (Note: You’ll receive an email from American Express acknowledging your preferred airline. If you haven’t received one, double check that it went through.)

I then chose American Airlines, which has electronic cards with no fees. It took about 4 days, but credit for each of the $50 gift cards showed up on my statement. Phew.

This is a great benefit to take advantage of, just make sure you do a little research beforehand so you can make the most of it!


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