February 9, 2017

$200 Alaska Airlines Gift Certificate With Amex Platinum Credit Card

Either Personal or Business American Express Platinum credit card is a premium card for frequent flyers out there. The annual fee of this card is very steep $450, but it provides a lot of travel benefits from free wifi in the air to hotel status and airport lounge access. One of those benefits includes the annual $200 airline fee credit, and thus makes the annual fee of this card becomes $250. Our topic today is to focus on that airline fee credit.

According to American Express, that $200 airline fee credit can be used for the following charges by the qualifying airline:

"Select a qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 a year in statement credits when incidental fees, such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, are charged by the airline."

What this means is that, first you pick an airline by January 31st of each year, then for any incidental fees that you pay with your Amex Platinum Card to that airline, you will receive up to $200 in statement credit.

If you play this game by the rule, chances are each year, you might be trying very hard to spend that $200 just to spend it to take advantage of that benefit. Why you torture yourself like that? Instead, here's one trick that you can use to work around that rule.

Introducing Airlines Gift Registry/Certificate
Couple years ago, I used that $200 statement credit for United's gift registry send to myself, and got reimbursed fine by American Express. Gift registry has nothing to do with incidental fees, but it puts $200 credit into my United account and it does not have expiration date.

I also used it for Alaska Airline's gift certificate. With Alaska Airlines though, you don't want to purchase a full $200 gift certificate made to yourself. Instead, you want to make a small purchase such as $50 or $100 gift certificate each time. It is known that if you do entire $200 on Alaska Airlines gift certificate, you won't be able to get back the $200 statement credit from American Express. In my case, I did not want to do 4 times of $50 gift certificate, so I did $100 twice and sure enough I got the $100 statement credits twice from American Express. I now have used up my annual $200 statement credit benefit, and have $200 credit in Alaska Airlines that will never expire to use for future Alaska Airlines flights.

To get $200 statement credits from American Express by purchasing Alaska Airlines gift certificate:
  1. Make sure your airline selection with American Express is Alaska Airlines. Link
  2. Purchase the gift certificate from Alaska Airlines. Link
Incidentals can happen and sometimes you want to pay for checking your bags to the destination. But the important questions are: Are those fees really going to cost you at least $200 per year? Are you going to really use those services and pay at least $200 per year on unforeseeable incidental fees? Do you want to stress out when the end of year is approaching and you are still trying to spend at least $200, so that you can take advantage of that statement credit benefit to cover the expensive $450 annual fee of the credit card?

To me, I'd rather pay for those fees when the incidentals actually happens. For now, I just want to save myself from stress and simply purchase airlines gift credits that will never expire and use those credits for any future flights.

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