GAME OVER: No More Airline Gift Card Reimbursements From AmEx On Any Airline

Today flyertalk posted about $50 and $100 Delta Gift Cards are posting as passenger tickets. Yesterday we noted that Southwest was dead as well. On top of all that they killed American Airlines again. Well we done did it for sure, looks like we are all going to have a minibar that looks like this next year:

The game has changed, and I was thinking how the shine is gone on the AmEx Platinum as well as the Hilton Honors Aspire. Not to fret, there are plenty of other banks and cards out there! We gotta move on from AmEx Platinum, it is old and busted. Ironically it has become the most basic bitch card of our entire collection. Let those fake churners flash that thing around! Here was my comment on the whole AmEx Plat situation if you missed it:

I would say more than half of the AD that flash around their annual fee waived platinum that I encounter don’t care to use their Saks Fifth, Uber, or even their gift card for airlines. They do however mindlessly show off the card like it’s the best thing ever, and put every possible charge on it despite it only earning 5x for direct booked airline flights.

Just to have the card is the greatest benefit to many of AmEx Platinum Users. I am sure many of you readers knows a friend that just got it because of the fee waiver, but had no idea they could MAKE $500 a year off the thing!

Hell, I have encountered may FULL $550 annual fee PAYING civilians that don’t use any of these benefits!

This my friend is why AmEx wins even for the handful of super duper churners here. They got pretty much a base of people that have the card for the sake of having the card!

The AmEx platinum is your typical veblen good! The higher the annual fee, the higher the demand, but no one knows why! I just hope I can explain to our AD brethren that it’s just more than a status symbol, but by all means it’s not the only card that I suggest on this site!

TLDR: AmEx Plat, just one of Many, Many Cards you should have!


How should we address our new super chuning wallet? I am planning on finishing up MLA travel club this weekend so I will put it all out there. Here is the current plan:


I am planning on hitting all 5 chase cards first and slip in a double application one day for the Chase Ink while under 5/24 (thanks strugglebus for the suggestion)

Product NameDispositionReturnLink:
Chase Sapphire ReserveAll Travel$300Public
Chase FreedomChange to CSR$300Referral
Chase Freedom UnlimitedChange to CSR$300Referral
Chase United Club Card*A Lounge Access$550Public
Chase Bonvoy BoundlessChange to Ritz$3001 NightReferral
Chase Ink Biz PreferredClose after 80k3x PhoneReferral

U.S. Bank

I would suggest hitting U.S. Bank right after Chase since they are so strict. I would go ahead and spend the $350 and the $200 on a plane ticket and have it reimbursed. You could load all $550 on to Uber to have free uber and Uber eats for the year!

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
AltitudeAll Digital Wallet$325, In Flight WiFiNo
Skypass PremierKorean Airlines$200, KA Lounge PassesNo

American Express Credit Cards

I am almost biased to having 4 Marriott Bonvoy cards and a single Hilton Aspire since the $250 airline credit is no longer usable. The 50k anytime night is better than a weekend night, and the $300 credit can be used for Marriott gift cards online (Thanks Dan for the datapoint). Delta reserve sucks since domestic first sucks. However if you live in Hawaii then the Delta Reserve is a no brainer!

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
Hilton Honors AspireAll Hilton$500, 1 nightYes
Hilton Honors AscendUpgrade to Aspire$500, 1 nightYes
Hilton HonorsUpgrade to Aspire$500, 1 nightYes
Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantAll Marriott$300, 1 nightYes
Marriott Bonvoy BusinessReplace W Brilliant35k NightYes
Delta ReserveAll DeltaComp PassYes

American Express Charge Cards

The only advantage now to multiple Platinums (and subordinate products) is just to get multiple 60k offers for $5k spend. The annual benefit is limited now to $200 on Uber per card as well as $100 on Saks Fifth.

For the business cards the benefit of $200 a year on Dell is useful if you have any dell or things to buy. I would not suggest getting multiple AmEx Platinum cards without bonuses just to multiply this. THere is so much to earn elsewhere!

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500Yes
Gold ChargeGroceries, Upgrade to Pt$500Yes
Green ChargeUpgrade to Pt$500Yes
MS Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500No
CS Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500No
AP Platinum ChargeDirect Airline Booking$500No
Business Platinum$5,000+ Buys, 35% Refund$400Yes
Business Gold$5,000+ Buys, 35% Refund$400Yes
Business Green$5,000+ Buys, 35% Refund$400Yes


I believe this is where it’s at! Planning on hitting every on of their products now. Consistent data points on MLA waivers for AD and spouses. All cards can be upgraded to Multiple Prestige cards that all offer $250 a year for any travel reimbursement! I am not sure the policies on using multiple cards to pay a ticket. We do need data points on gift cards on Prestige getting reimbursed.

Product NameDispositionReturnReferral
Citi PrestigeAll Dining$250, 2x 4th night FreeNo
Citi PremierPC to Prestige$250, 2x 4th night FreeNo
AA ExecutiveOW Lounges$650No
AA PlatinumPC to Prestige$250, 2x 4th night FreeNo

We all knew this day would come since the United Gift registry was shut down years ago. Let’s get over it and gather up some data points regarding gift cards on U.S. Bank Altitude, Skypass Premier, and Citi Prestige.


21 thoughts on “GAME OVER: No More Airline Gift Card Reimbursements From AmEx On Any Airline

  1. wedstuntpuller says:

    Glad I started churning hard the first half of this year… but I am also rethinking what my 5 amex cards are going to be. I was shooting for 4 aspires and 1 bonvoy brilliant… the $250 hilton resort credit and the free anywhere weekend night are still pretty fantastic, the $250 SW gift card was just icing on the cake.

    Unrelated but worth noting, Hilton currently has a buy one point get one free offer up to 80k hilton points. Just got my Hilton Honors basic card and almost met minimum spend after charging $800 for 160k hilton points, and will receive another 80k points after i spend another $200 for a total of 240k points plus the couple thousand points from charging to the card itself.

  2. Rams says:

    My sets of 100 gift cards w Southwest were all credited on my business plat 2x, gold 2x and plat. Purchased on the 19th and took 5 days

  3. Matt says:

    Any DPs on whether buying miles from any airline triggers the credit? I know the 500 mile upgrades with AA do but not sure I need 30 of those as of now.

    • Lauren says:

      That’s smart. Never thought of that. I may try it to see if that works, although I don’t think I will get a lot of miles for $200.

  4. troynewman says:

    What else can we do with all our airline credits other than the minibar? lol

    • wedstuntpuller says:

      Seat upgrades and inflight food. Someone suggested trying to buy miles from the airline but that’s unproven.

      • troynewman says:

        Thanks for the tips! I am curious about buying miles portion. I need to find a new strategy when it comes down to all my airline credits for next year.

  5. Steve says:

    US Bank seems fairly stingy about location. I’m on east coast and they wouldn’t accept my applications. How long do you need to wait before doing PC to Prestige?

    • troynewman says:

      It’s usually one year after your accepted. I wait about 13 months just to play it safe.

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      You got to call and tell them you are military and they will remote open a checking account for you. You would have this open for a month to then apply for U.S. Bank ALtitude

      • Steve says:

        My military checking app online got auto-denied. Lol. Don’t know why.

        • uiucderp2011 says:

          You got to phone it in.

          Military Service Center
          The Military Service Center is available to assist with any of your financial needs and can also answer questions related to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

          The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. Learn More About SCRA.

          For questions about SCRA, please call or email our Military Service Center.

          Call 800-934-9555
          M-F, 7 a.m. – midnight (ET)

          Deployed overseas?
          Call collect: 513-277-5899

  6. Matt says:

    I was able to apply for a US Bank account and the Altitude at the same time via phone from SA, TX. Just have to find the right CSR.

  7. Steve says:

    If anything, judging by the DoC thread many churners are going to drop Amex plat because of this. Maybe without them losing money on so many people, they can hold steady, or even increase some of the benefits?

  8. Terrence says:

    I’m almost tempted to tell you guys to hold on a bit to make sure. There is definitely a few ways to still take advantage of the Amex platinum(just not really worth it lol). I purchased a $436 Delta plane ticket last week using older Delta gift cards. I used 8 total $50 delta gift cards and used my Hilton Aspire to pay the remaining balance of $36. The $36 registered as a passage ticket but I still was credited back the funds 3 days later.

  9. Joe says:

    Any DP if the above works on Southwest too? For example, $50 gift card on a $200 ticket, and AMEX the $150, and get reimbursed?

  10. wedstuntpuller says:

    Another thought for purchase options: Can you buy a bottle of Krug ($200) or whatever else at a Delta Sky Club and have it trigger as a Delta purchase?

    Any DPs from anyone who has ever purchased anything at a Delta Sky Club for what it codes as on your statement?

    • uiucderp2011 says:

      I always use points for sky club since you get 2 cents per point.

      • wedstuntpuller says:

        Yes a better value for sure, but just wondering if delta sky club purchases will get credited back as part of the $200 airline credits for the Platinum… i don’t see too many better ways to spend the credits than mini bottles and food.

        Future DP coming to see if i get credited for upgrading from Comfort+ to First class on my short haul flight from Boston Logan to Richmond next week.

  11. […] Looks like AmEx will not reimburse for any gift card for any airline now. […]

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