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Update: Less than a week after this news broke, Amex announced the addition of Uber Cash credits and a complimentary Uber Eats Pass.
One of the valuable benefits of the American Express® Gold Card is a $100 Airline Fee Credit. This credit is great if taken at face value: it reimburses incidental airline fees charged to the card. However, the reality of using the credit can be a hassle.
Amex Airline Fee Credit
One of the benefits of several American Express cards—but one we most love to hate—is the Airline Fee Credit. This credit reimburses cardmembers for amounts spent on incidental charges (checked baggage fees, seat upgrades, lounge memberships, etc.). Currently, American Express offers these credits on several products, including:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- The Amex Gold currently offers an annual $100 airline fee credit for an airline of your choosing.
- Starting in January 2022, Amex will no longer provide this benefit for Amex Gold cardholders.
- It is currently unclear how or with what Amex plans to replace this benefit.
We reached out to an Amex spokesperson to confirm this significant change in benefits and received this response:
As we are always looking to evolve our Card benefits and services to best support our Card Members’ needs, the Airline Fee Credit on the American Express® Gold Card will no longer be available at the end of 2021. Current Gold Card Members will be able to continue to use the Airline Fee Credit through December 31, 2021. We will continue to evolve and enhance our Card benefits and services to provide relevant and rich value to our Card Members in the areas they care about most, so stay tuned!
When asked about what cardmembers should expect to replace this benefit, the spokesperson couldn't share anything at this time.
How big of a loss is this?
Like I said before, Amex's Airline Fee Credits are a benefit we love to hate. That's because unlike flexible travel credits offered on other popular travel cards (like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Citi Prestige® Card), Amex's credit restricts you to a much narrower window of purchases. To receive the credit, you have to:
- choose an airline you know you'll fly, and
- make a purchase that qualifies
If you regularly travel with a specific airline and often make eligible purchases, that may not be a problem. However, if you find yourself unable to travel (like many of us currently), this credit easily incurs breakage—or lost value. Consequently, it's not surprising that this credit has its fair share of critics.
At the same time, this credit is one of the primary benefits that Amex uses to justify the $250 annual fee on the Amex Gold (Rates & Fees). So, if Amex plans to keep cardmembers from downgrading or canceling, Amex will need to replace this credit with something else. Personally, I'd love to see a more-flexible travel credit—á la Chase's Sapphire Reserve.
For Amex Gold cardholders, 2021 is the last year you'll receive the $100 airline fee credit. After that, we'll have to re-calculate the card's value proposition (with, hopefully, updated benefits) to see if it's still worth the fee.
Historically, Amex does a good job of making sure cardmembers continue receiving meaningful value from its products. We saw this when the card-issuer released the revamped American Express® Green Card and the refreshed Amex Gold card. Both of these products quickly rose to the top end of our lists of best cards for Travel and Dining purchases, respectively. Now, we'll just have to wait and see what new benefit(s) Amex has in store for the Amex Gold card.
What would you like to see replace the Amex Gold‘s $100 Airline Fee Credit?
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
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