One of the benefits of having a premium American Express charge card is a yearly Air Travel Credit. If you have an American Express Gold card you get a $100 credit and cardholders of either the Personal or Business Platinum card you get a $200 credit. These credits have often been touted as an easy to way to offset the high annual fees of these cards but I’ve been leery of doing that as I never felt these credits were the same as cash.
Since for as long as I can remember, it’s been possible to skate around the rules of these credits and find ways to use them as cash, most often by buying airline gift cards or gift certificates. Slowly but surely, American Express has been shutting down those loopholes. Who knows if this is the work of the RAT team or not but there’s been a constant push to make you use these credits as intended.
The first thing to go was the trick to use the credits for United flights (but this might as much been United’s doing as AMEX). Just this year the easiest way to cash these credits out for American went away. At that point, I didn’t want to say I told you so but the writing was on the wall. That day has now come as apparently the gift card workaround is now dead for the remaining two airlines, Delta and Southwest.
So if these methods to use credits are gone, what are they good for and which airlines would those benefits be the best for. Turns out, not the airlines you’d think.