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One great perk that American Express has long offered on its premium products is an annual airline incidental credit. Although you have to select an airline to use the credit on each year, you can actually change it quite simply. Here's how to change your preferred airline for the Amex airline incidental credit.
What is the Amex Airline Incidental Credit?
First, here's a quick overview of what the credit actually is.
The Amex airline incidentals credit is a $200 credit given yearly to cardholders of both The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and The Platinum Card® from American Express (including all varieties of it), and $250 for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
Essentially, you select a specific airline when you apply and receive a new account and then at the beginning of each year. You must enroll in advance and select an airline for the benefit to apply. These are the airlines you can use the credit with:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
You can then use your airline incidentals for the following expenses:
- Airline change fees
- Airport lounge day passes & annual memberships
- Booking fees
- Checked baggage fees
- In-flight fees and entertainment
- Seat assignment fees
Related Content: How to use the Amex Platinum Airlines Travel Credit
The following Amex cards offer an airline incidental credit.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — $200 annual Airline Fee Credit
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express — $200 annual Airline Fee Credit
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card — $250 annual Airline Fee Credit
How to Change Your Preferred Airline
Changing Your Airline Preference in January
Each year in January, you have the opportunity to change the airline you want to use for your incidental credit. If you don't want to change the airline, you can do nothing. The credit will automatically stay with your initial airline selection. You won't lose the credit if you don't re-select an airline each year.
If you want to change your airline preference, it's easiest to do so in January. Even if you've already selected an airline, you can easily change it right on Amex's website. To start, log into your Amex account and browse to the card benefits page. There you'll see the option to “change selected airline”:
By clicking on that option, Amex will open the airline incidental fee page. On this page, you'll have the option to select a different airline:
Changing Your Airline Preference Mid-Year
Let's say that when you first get your new Amex Platinum, you initially select United as your airline. Fast forward to sometime down the road. For whatever reason, you no longer use United and need to switch to American Airlines. However, you still have several months until January rolls around again — which is when you can change it online.
Fortunately, you don't have to wait. To change your designated airline for the incidental credit outside of Amex's window, you'll need to contact American Express and ask a representative to do it for you. The easiest way to do so is via chat.
There are a few ways to chat with American Express. Login to your Amex account and navigate to the account's home page. Sometimes, if you're lucky, the option will pop up in the bottom right corner, and you can go that route. If not, in the upper right corner, click on “help”, and the option to chat will be available there.
At this point, you will be connected to the automated system. Let the system know that you would like to change the airline for your annual airline incidental fee credit. You'll then be prompted to select an option that says “Request to change airline selection.”
Next, you'll be asked if you have used the airline credit for the year. Once you confirm that you have not, you will be given the list of airlines you can change your selection to. Finally, you'll be connected to a representative who will go over several disclosures and confirm the change. And that's it. The entire process should take just a few minutes.
Note that you can't change your preferred airline during the year if you've used the full value of the airline incidental credit for the year.
The American Express airline incidental credit is a great perk that can really help to offset the hefty annual fee of Amex's premium cards. Being able to change it, especially in this era where travel plans are bound to change, makes the deal just a little bit sweeter.
Have you ever had to change your selected airline? How did you find the process?
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