In the world of travel credit cards, paying big annual fees can get you big perks. And that’s most prevalent with The Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card, and the American Express® Green Card travel credits issued each calendar year.
These Amex travel credits help offset the cost of annual fees – $150 for the Green Card, $250 for the Gold card (see rates & fees), and $550 for the Platinum card (see rates & fees). It’s a big part of the reason why we urge readers not to write off credit cards just because of the annual fees. Do it right, and you can come out way ahead.
As we say
goodbye good riddance to 2020 and welcome 2021 with open arms, it’s also time to welcome a fresh set of Amex travel credits if you hold any or all of these Amex cards. Read on to learn more about these credits and how to take advantage of them.
Not familiar with the cards? Read our guide to help decide which one is right for you.
Click Here to learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express.
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Gold Card.
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Green Card.
All information about the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by Thrifty Traveler and has not been reviewed by the issuer.
American Express Airline Credits
Each new calendar year, American Express Platinum cardholders get a $200 airline fee credit to be used with their selected airline.
These credits are designed for incidental fees like checked baggage, seat assignment fees, itinerary change fees, guest access at a lounge, or other fees at U.S.-based airlines.
Unfortunately, buying airfare outright generally won’t trigger the credit.
As the terms & conditions below point out, you must enroll and select one qualifying airline each year to use your credit. With a new credit, the time is now to log in and choose your airline. Your choices are as follows:
- United Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- American Airlines
- jetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Alaska Airlines
Whether you’re paying for baggage, seat selections, change fees, or anything else, only one of the airlines mentioned above will trigger these credits, so be sure to log in to your Amex account and select which airline you want to designate. You’ll find this under the “Benefits” tab.
But there are some other creative ways to use these credits, so make sure to read our guide on The Best Ways to Maximize Your Amex Airline Credits.
Uber Credits on the Platinum Card (And Now the Gold Card!)
The American Express Platinum card might put some tighter strings on travel credits, but they make up for it with up to another $200 reserved for trips with Uber or food orders from the Uber Eats platform.
This one’s a bit easier to spend by year’s end, as it’s not given in a $200 lump sum. Instead, you get up to $15 in free Uber rides (or Uber Eats food orders) each month – except one. In December, you can get up to $35 in Uber credits for the final month of the year.
Make sure you’ve added your American Express Platinum Card to your Uber account, as that’s the key to unlocking the monthly credit. It will apply automatically to your ride no matter whether you “pay” with your Platinum card or another card.
And starting in 2021, The Amex Gold Card now has Uber credits of its own. Cardholders will receive $10 each month for a total of $120 a year. This benefit has not started yet, but according to Amex, it will be available “early in 2021.”
This credit is “use it or lose it.” You’ll forfeit any unused balance each month will be forfeited if you don’t use it up.
$100 Off Saks Fifth Avenue for Platinum Cardholders
Each year of Platinum card membership, you get two $50 credits to use at Saks Fifth Avenue.
One $50 credit will be available from Jan. 1 through June 30, with another $50 available July 1 through Dec. 31. Like the other credits available on the Platinum card, you will lose any remaining balance you have after the expiration date. Enrollment is required.
The offer can be used both in-store and online, but per the terms and conditions of this offer, it will not work to purchase gift cards.
Saks Fifth Avenue isn’t the cheapest place to shop, but you should be able to find a few things each year to use your credit on. And make sure to stack any purchase you make with a shopping portal like Rakuten (formerly Ebates) to earn cashback – or American Express points.
Read our post on 7 ways to use your Saks Fifth Avenue credit.
Amex Gold Card Dining Credit
Each year of Amex Gold Card membership, you get $120 worth of dining credits. Each cardholder will be issued $10 each month, and like the other credits from Amex, you will lose any remaining balance you have after the expiration date.
The credits can be used at GrubHub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed.com, and participating Shake Shack locations. This benefit is not available to Amex Platinum or Green cardholders.
Amex Green Card Lounge Buddy Credit
The Amex Green card now offers an annual $100 credit to use at Lounge Buddy, a Priority Pass competitor. Lounge Buddy offers single-use airport lounge access passes starting at just $25 each. That means, the credit can get you into lounges up to four times each calendar year at no additional cost. That makes it a decent option if you don’t have any airport lounge access from another card, like the Platinum Card from American Express.
And like all Amex credits, the balance will not roll over into 2022 if you don’t use the full $100 this year.
$100 in Dell Credits on the Amex Platinum Business Card
There are plenty of reasons for small business owners to open the Business Platinum Card® from American Express. And one of those is the up to $200 credit issued each year for purchases at Dell.com for cardholders.
Similar to how the Saks credit works on the Personal Platinum Card, you will get one $100 credit available from Jan. 1 through June 30, with another $100 available July 1 through Dec. 31 each year. You will lose any remaining balance you have after the expiration date, so be sure to use them up.
And you might be surprised at how many products are available on Dell’s website. It is far from just computers. Think Bose headphones, Google Home & Nest products, and much more. And make sure to stack any purchase you make with a shopping portal like Rakuten (formerly Ebates).
Last May, Amex increased this credit to $200, twice a year ($400 total) as a way to encourage cardholders to keep their cards open as coronavirus wreaked havoc on travel and the economy. To date, Amex has not extended this credit – meaning there will only be $100 available for each half of 2021.
Now is the time to take advantage of the refreshed Amex travel credits on your American Express Membership Rewards earning cards.
But first, make sure to enroll for these credits on the benefits tab of your American Express online account. Using these Amex travel credits is key to taking full advantage of your card membership – no matter which version you have.