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Airline fee $250/$200/$100 reimbursement reports: DL only (2020-21)

Old Jan 6, 2020, 1:19 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: rrgg
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.

Reminder: you must enroll and select your airline BEFORE making a reimbursable purchase. http://www.americanexpress.com/airlinechoice -or- "Call the number on the back of your Card to select a qualifying airline."

Credit posting delays range from several business days (typical) to several weeks (seen in Oct 2015). The T&Cs state that it could take up to four weeks, so wait at least that long before worrying, and certainly don't contact Amex prematurely

Caution: effective from 22 June 2019, gift card purchases from Delta do not get reimbursed.

Read this primer first
  • In the Amex Membership Rewards family, both the Consumer and Business versions of the Platinum and Centurion cards qualify for a $200 airline credit. The Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) card is eligible for a $100 airline credit (the Gold credit is going away in 2022). Hilton Aspire AMEX is eligible for a $250 airline credit.
  • You must click here to select Delta as your enrolled airline before you make a reimbursable purchase, else the benefit won't apply. The feature is activated immediately upon airline designation.
  • If you've selected DL in the past and don't wish to change airlines, there's no need to select again; current selection rolls into future years until modified.
  • The T&Cs state the eligible charges, but YMMV, so don't call and ask especially about the fuzzier cases below because that will probably hasten closing of any loopholes.
  • The credit is per account, not per card. If the main account has authorized users with additional cards, eligible charges may still be made on those cards, but they'll count jointly towards the same account limit.
  • Credits are capped per calendar year, meaning you could tap the full amount on Dec 31st and again on Jan 1st in the extreme. Transaction date, not posting date, determines the year. Note: This is not my experience. I purchased Dec 31, 2016, posted Jan 1, 2017 and went against my 2017 credit. (TheMadBrewer)
  • You will get a partial credit to bring your total annual reimbursements to the limit exactly if a qualifying charge takes you past the limit.
  • After four weeks, if you've read this Wiki carefully and posted here seeking assistance but the credit still has not arrived, consider chatting with Amex online. Politely mention the "Delta extras" you thought would be reimbursed within four weeks and they'll handle it.

Additional Collections/Split Tender -- THIS IS A LOOPHOLE. BE DISCREET

TL;DR: Anything coded as an additional collection (a.k.a. add/collect or a/c), including difference in fare when changing flights, and accepting an FCM offer, also triggers the credit and will be reimbursed, provided that the amount charged to your card is $250 or less (regardless of card type, e.g. there have been reports of full $100 credit for Gold card on a/c over $100 and full $200 credit for Plat on a/c over $200, but always $250 or less)
How to do it: With waived fee for cancellation/changes on non-refundable tickets (due to COVID-19) you get an eCredit when cancelling it, so you can:
  1. Buy a non-refundable ticket with any combination of gift card/eCredit plus your AMEX, again provided that the residual amount charged to your card is $250 or less
  2. After credit has posted, and at least 48 hours after buying it, cancel it (ensure there's no fee for cancelling it) so you get an updated eCredit for the full ticket amount.
    • alternatively, if you buy a ticket far enough in the future, there is no particular need to cancel the ticket, just change it once you have some new dates or itinerary in mind (you can change origin, destination or both)
    • however, note that the waiver of change fees on Basic Economy tickets is ending: https://www.delta.com/us/en/travel-p...sbeforeapril30
    • thus you should use main cabin tickets for this purpose (assuming DL does not extend the BE policy due to omicron etc.)
  3. You can even use the result of (2) as an eCredit to repeat step 1 with a different AMEX card if you have multiples. Note that in this context, changing an unflown future ticket is exactly equivalent to an eCredit in the amount of the ticket's value.
More details:
  • Relevantly, split tender where you partially pay with a gift card, existing credit, VDB voucher etc. and partly charged to your card, are processed by DL as an add/collect and trigger the credit per above.
  • Thus if you anticipate actually buying, say, a $200 DL ticket, you could buy a single $50 gift card, then buy the ticket using $50 GC and $150 on your card (the $150 will be reimbursed). This is just an example; as per the previous bullet there is no reason it needs to be specifically $50, or even a gift card. The "additional collection" is what leads to the credit, the reason why it is "additional" is unimportant.
    • In general, only additional collections less than ~$250 are automatically reimbursed. If you use a $50 gift card to buy a $500 ticket, a $450 additional collection will be generated but it will not be auto-reimbursed by Amex.
    • If you already have gift cards or ecredits in particular denominations that don't line up well with the price of the ticket you want to buy (additional collection will end up being too much to get auto-reimbursed or too little to efficiently use up the fee credit), consider whether you may be able to reach a better outcome by splitting up the purchase -- buying a round trip as two one ways or buying multiple passengers separately. But, note that buying 2 one-ways instead of a round trip can sometimes cost more, making it not worthwhile, and note the caveats about multiple passenger purchases below, as well as considering the risk that buying 2 passengers separately can have negative implications for Medallion upgrades (if applicable) as well as creating the risk that you are separated from your travel companions if there is a flight cancellation.
  • The "additional collection" transaction notation shows up after the transaction posts, on the website only (both desktop and mobile) if you click into a transaction to view the details (it does not appear in the app, or while the purchase is pending)
  • Note that special care is needed when booking tickets for 2 or more people in a single transaction.
    • When booking multiple people in a single transaction on Delta.com, each person's ticket charges to the credit card in a separate transaction, and gift cards are used starting with the first ticket until they are exhausted. So for example if you were booking 2x $210 tickets, for a total transaction of $420, if you used a $200 gift card the charges would post to Amex as a $10 additional collection on the first person and a $210 regular ticket charge for the second person, resulting in only a $10 reimbursement. For the same two tickets if you used a $220 gift card, the first person would be covered entirely by the gift card and the second person's ticket would charge as a $190 additional collection, resulting in a $190 reimbursement.
    • This would work differently if ecredits are used instead of gift cards since ecredits are not transferrable -- ecredits can only be applied to a ticket for a person whose name is on the ecredit; if other people are booked in the same transaction, any leftover ecredit balance will *not* be applied to those other people.
  • Canceling a ticket within the 24-hour[1] risk-free period generally results in funds being returned to where they came from (GC back to GC and CC back to CC) even if the ticket is non-refundable; also, Delta interprets the 24-hour risk free cancellation period generously -- you actually have until midnight of the day following the day of booking (in which time zone is oft-speculated but unclear). Thus, this can work out to nearly 48 hours if the timing is exactly right. Hence the suggestion above to cancel only after 48 hours, or avoid canceling altogether.
  • Caution when buying multiple tickets in a single transaction: for example if you buy two $125 tickets in one transaction (total $250) and use one $100 GC or even two $50 GCs, they will all be applied to the same ticket and you would see one additional collection for $25 on that ticket and a separate "normal" charge for $125 for the second ticket. In this scenario only $25 will be reimbursed (instead of the $150 you might be expecting). In this situation you would need to book the two tickets separately to get the credit on each one.
  • FCM offers may require accepting for the entire trip (vs just one segment) or calling in to up-fare the whole trip (please post data points either way)

Paying for a ticket partially with SkyMiles

NOTE that DL has two different programs for partially paying with SkyMiles, that seem superficially similar, but are quite different
  • Pay With Miles is a feature available to DL-branded AMEX cardholders that lets you pay for part of your ticket using SkyMiles in increments of 5,000 miles = $50. If you use PWM then the remaining amount charged to your card posts as additional collection and will qualify for the fee credit (multiple data points)
  • Miles + Cash is like buying an award ticket but using cash to substitute for some of the miles. As an example, you might be offered a ticket for 40,000 miles + $5.60, or 30,000 miles + $205.60 (these numbers are made up). If you choose the latter option what you are really doing is buying 10,000 miles for $200, then using those 10,000 miles plus 30,000 that you already had to buy the 40,000 ticket + $5.60 in taxes. This will post as two separate transactions, $200 for the miles purchase, and $5.60 for the taxes on the award ticket. The $5.60 will be reimbursed (just like any other award ticket). The $200 seems like it does not get automatically reimbursed, although it may post as "Frequent Flyer Fee/Purchase" in which case you have a pretty good case for getting it credited manually by contacting AMEX.
  • Note: Miles + Cash is usually a terrible value (even for SkyMiles)
  • See the list of FAQs at the bottom of the "Pay With Miles" page for more info (search in particular for "What is the difference between Pay with Miles and Miles + Cash?")

other non Gift Card options
  • baggage and other service fees (same day change/standby, change fees, etc.)
  • taxes on award flights (including the $5.60 September 11 security fee)
  • in-flight purchases (EXCEPT wifi) -- although currently nothing available due to COVID?
  • SkyClub access/guest fees (but NOT gift cards purchased at a SC, which are actually activated at a 3rd party web site)
  • mileage boosts (post 2499) trip extras have been discontinued
  • The $59 for Delta Skymiles Select is reimbursed (posts 2180, 2182) SkyMiles Select is no longer available for purchase

these may not credit automatically, but people have had success getting them processed manually after the fact
  • seat purchase fees (if you buy an upgrade and it does not credit automatically and you call in, do not call it an upgrade, call it a seat purchase/assignment fee)
  • premium beverages purchased in the Sky Club (post 462)

(DEAD) eGift Card (eCert) details For other airlines:

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Airline fee $250/$200/$100 reimbursement reports: DL only (2020-21)

Old Jan 4, 2020, 2:52 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: New York, NY, USA
Posts: 12,528
Originally Posted by diesteldorf
........Regarding my $448 refundable ticket from LAX to PDX for November, 2020, I'll just plan to use those funds the next time I book a flight within the next year........
Pretty creative. ^ Can a domestic fully refundable ticket, such as LAX-PDX, be used to purchase an international nonrefundable ticket?
TerryK is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 2:55 pm
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 32
just as another couple data points on the gift card method for 1 gold card and 1 platinum (the platinum card credit is super weird)

Gold Card:
  • Dec 24: bought 1 gift card for $100, and randomly had another gc with $21+ leftover on it.
  • Dec 26: bought a ticket for $352.xx and used both GCs, so total paid on the amex card was $231.xx
  • Dec 27: charge posted as Additional Collection
  • Dec 29: $100 credit posted

Platinum Card:
  • Dec 25: bought 2 gift card for $150 each in 2 separate transactions
  • Dec 26: in 2 separate transactions, bought 2 separate tickets for $352.xx each. on each transaction, used one $150 GC. charged $202.xx on the amex card for each transaction
  • Dec 27: 2 separate charges of $202.xx each posted as Additional Collection
  • Dec 29: $40 (?!?!!) credit posted

why is only $40 posting? its so weird. nothing else so far has posted. anyone else have this issue?
jukaks is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 6:13 pm
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: NYC/ EWR/ PHL
Programs: UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Gold, IHG Platinum
Posts: 2,217
Originally Posted by AlphonsoMango
Planning on cancelling my Plat card in the next 2 weeks or so but have an upcoming flight on DL coming up next week. Mileage boosters still work for reimbursement right? Will the mileage boosters get charged to my card the day I select or the day of the flight?
Any recent data on this?
MarkP24 is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 6:24 pm
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 183
Pardon me if this is already covered. I know this should work from the previous posts but want to make sure. :-)

I am buying a $739 DL ticket with a $500 Delta giftcard and will be putting the remaining $239 on an Amex Plat. This should trigger the $200 DL credit, correct?
llngoc is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 6:25 pm
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Truth or Consequences, NM
Programs: HH Diamond, Marriott Titanium, Hertz President's Circle, UA Silver, Mobile Passport Unobtanium
Posts: 6,199
Originally Posted by jukaks
just as another couple data points on the gift card method for 1 gold card and 1 platinum (the platinum card credit is super weird)

Platinum Card:
  • Dec 25: bought 2 gift card for $150 each in 2 separate transactions
  • Dec 26: in 2 separate transactions, bought 2 separate tickets for $352.xx each. on each transaction, used one $150 GC. charged $202.xx on the amex card for each transaction
  • Dec 27: 2 separate charges of $202.xx each posted as Additional Collection
  • Dec 29: $40 (?!?!!) credit posted

why is only $40 posting? its so weird. nothing else so far has posted. anyone else have this issue?
The fact that you were reimbursed $40 seems to suggest that you have - or AMEX thinks you have - already used $160 of your 2019 annual credit prior to this transaction.
Diplomatico is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 6:26 pm
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,140
Originally Posted by TerryK
Pretty creative. ^ Can a domestic fully refundable ticket, such as LAX-PDX, be used to purchase an international nonrefundable ticket?
Yes, they can. When you change a refundable ticket, the box is checked to search for other refundable tickets, but you can uncheck the box and use the credit for any new flight, refundable or not.
When you change a refundable ticket, you can add up to 3 gift cards and charge the balance on a credit card. So far, amounts under $250 have posted as ADDITIONAL REVENUE COLLECTION and triggered AMEX credits.

Considering Amex eliminated the gift card loopholes the middle of 2019, I wanted to try and get value from my credits ASAP, since Amex may make additional changes during 2020.
diesteldorf is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 9:05 pm
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 12
would purchasing a $277 REFUNDABLE flight and using $50 GC triggers my amex plat credit? I have purchased and cancelled tkts < $200 and got reimbursed. I am just not sure about anything > $250 and cancelling ...
Waaj is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 9:22 pm
Join Date: May 2013
Location: RMS
Programs: DL Plat, UA Gold, Bonvoy Titanium, Hilton Credit Card Diamond
Posts: 8,888
Data-point: Reimbursement was posted on posting date rather than transaction date.

I had $98 remaining on my 2019 credit on my Aspire. Purchased a $200 ticket on Dec 31 using $50 GC (Dumb of me to wait that long, I know). Transaction posted Jan 1 as additional collection of $150. $150 credit posted Jan 3 and benefit tracker shows $100 remaining for 2020.

I don’t think there’s much I can do since I was getting around the T&Cs. I don’t intend to bring this to AMEX’s attention.
mattp1987 is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 9:45 pm
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Mexico City
Programs: Hyatt Explorist, Hilton Gold, Marriot Gold, IHG Silver, Choice Platinum, Wyndham Gold
Posts: 3,998
Originally Posted by Global Adventurer
Several months ago I purchased two egift cards and the notice stated 72 hours, but the egift card I purchased today has the following note:

"Gift cards may be redeemed for any Delta-marketed flight worldwide by visiting www.delta.com or by calling 1-800-221-1212. Gift Cards may not be redeemed within twenty-four (24) hours after the time of purchase."

I'll see what happens tomorrow.
Just quoting myself: That e-gift card I purchased yesterday indeed was activated today, 24 hours after purchase.

I applied it to a $180 Delta flight on my Platinum card, which should be reimbursed in the next few days
Global Adventurer is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 10:08 pm
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 52
Originally Posted by Odinson
Just bought $224 after GC. Hope nothing changed.

Meter moved......You have used all of your $200 Airline Fee Credit for this year. It will renew again starting Jan 2021
Odinson is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2020, 10:40 pm
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 5
I am planning on closing my AmEx gold card in the next couple weeks. How would it work if I buy a refundable ticket for later in the year for the credit and then get a refund a couple months later? Would AmEx still be able to claw back my credit or will they send me the refund check? Has anybody experienced this before?
pkg133 is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2020, 4:16 am
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 4
Tried this too. Thanks!

Paid $50 from GC, ~$200 from Plat, modified to another flight with $200 additional from Biz Plat and modified again to pay $300 additional with the Ritz.
Will share back DPs when posted; now sitting on a refundable fare in 11/20 that I don't intend to take with around ~$750 value.
an847150205 is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2020, 8:40 am
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 140
I'm looking to liquidate a $100 credit from my Amex Gold that i need to cancel by 1/8. For delta, one thing i could is buy a refundable fare, use delta gift cards to being it down below $100, and then it should trigger the credit. If i were to cancel the flight later, how does the refund work? Let's say i buy a $199 flight and use a $100 Delta GC. Can i choose for $99 to go back to my card and $100 go back to a non expiring GC? Could i choose a different option where it goes to a travel bank? If there's a travel bank option, does that option have a one year expiration date?
bradpitch92 is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2020, 9:41 am
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 71
Taxes seem to be reimbursed just fine with the credit, but I'm looking to book an award flight for 3 to Jamaica and the taxes there are pretty high. Each ticket would have $146 in taxes. If I select DL as the airline for the Aspire, it should reimburse $250 of the $438 in taxes, right? I'd be buying this all on one reservation.
briggek8717 is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2020, 9:41 am
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: NYC
Programs: AA Gold, US Silver, Starwood Gold, Starbucks Gold
Posts: 336
EDIT: Changed immediately after I posted

Another DP:

Jan 1 (~10am Eastern) - Changed airline selection to Delta, booked 4 tickets with 1x $50 GC each and $105-205 charged
Jan 2 - transactions posted as Additional Collections
Jan 5 (~11:30am Eastern) - 1x meter moved, 3x airline credit reimbursed ($200, $100, $105).

Last edited by midnightinharlem; Jan 5, 2020 at 9:46 am
midnightinharlem is offline  

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