Confirmed: Amex Gold is Losing the $100 Airline Fee Credit in 2022

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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.

In an interesting development first published by TPG—and confirmed by AwardWallet—American Express shared that it's eliminating this Airline Fee Credit on the Amex Gold starting in 2022.

Use your Airline Fee Credit for checked bag fees
Checked baggage fees are one of the most popular ways Amex cardholders receive value for their annual Airline Fee Credits.

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:

What's Changing

  • 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:

  1. choose an airline you know you'll fly, and
  2. 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.

Bottom Line

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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Comments

  • Avatar

    I’ve stopped applying for any of the “premium” Amex cards as the benefits don’t justify the fees anymore and you’re at the mercy of Amex who may determine they don’t think your purchases qualify you for spending bonuses. Too much risk/cost for such little reward.

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    If they replace the credit with a more useful benefit, it will make this card even better.

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      As was predicted here, they did indeed replace it with other benefits, in this case two Uber. So, at least you get to now ask yourself if you think those are more useful to you.

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    So-so credit. Hopefully, they will come up with a better offering. They have to stay competitive.

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    Disappointed, but AMEX airline credits have gotten more difficult to use over time.

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    Although a travel credit is somewhat useless at the moment, I hope American Express are replacing this with something that can be used rather than just stripping value out of this card!

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    I always found a card too expensive for what it offers. There are better ones.

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    Pablo Quilis says:

    At this time it’s not good to lose anything. I hope Amex reconsider do it.

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      It may be more of a refresh than anything. The Gold card is more about food with groceries and dining and the Platinum is more about travel.

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    Hopefully they will replace it with some more meaningful benefit (maybe around dining – given that it gives 4x for grocery and restaurants and $10 per month for Grubhub. Make it an all around “food” card.

    What i DON’T want to see is
    credits for something like loungebuddy (like the one on the AmEx Green card) which is totally useless
    credits for something like Resy which can only promarily be used if you are in one of the big metros (NY, LA)

    Something like 20% back on dining (uptil $100) similar to what they offer as a promo on the gold card could just work. After all their goal should be to make people put the spend on the gold card.

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      Armando J Valerio says:

      Agreed, the 20% back signup benefit was great as you got both 4x rewards and the statement credit. That would actually be an nice improvement as far as I’m concerned.

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      Loungrbuddy would be a terrible replacement. Maybe $10/month for a dining related thing. I think I’d sign up.

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    What I would like to see is a $100 credit toward purchased airfares, not incidental credits. I like my CSR credit card, like getting 3X on grocery spend.

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    Meh, for all the reasons you said, it was a benefit worth hating. That said, it was still a benefit, so this is a negative. But we’ll see what it means long term and for other cards, etc.

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    I am one who loves to hate this fee. It was easy to use when AA gift cards triggered the rebate! Now, I keep it until the end of the year (in case I need it for change fees or pet fees) then use it to buy miles in conjunction with a flight. That has worked in the past with AA. I’m certainly hoping for a general travel credit like Chase offers.

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    Nelson Pirolo says:

    As always, customers are the victims of benefit reductions, while paying the same fees…

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    Hopefully there is a better benefit to come. If they do have a replacement in mind, it’s puzzling they would announce the elimination of the credit without also announcing what will take it’s place. AMEX really needs to step it up. Chase is killing it lately with the revamp to the Freedom line, COVID era credits for the Sapphire line, etc…. and here’s AMEX again gutting what used to be a very good card.

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    Karthikeyan Chidambaram says:

    Just a plain travel credit or dining credit would be great