Published on July 4th, 2019 | by William Charles134
American Express Incidental Reimbursement Issues (Southwest & Delta)
Update 7/4/19: A USCreditCardGuide101 reader purchased 5 Delta $50 gift cards at the same time on June 23rd, 2019. Two of these were reimbursed on June 25th, 2019. That makes me think something funky is going on.
Some American Express cards offer a reimbursement for airline incidentals (e.g baggage, inflight entertainment/food), despite the terms clearly saying that gift cards are excluded some of these purchases work. In February American Airlines changed how gift card purchases were coded and this stopped these purchases from working, although there was an update saying that these purchases were now working again (still waiting for more datapoints on that to confirm one way or the other).
It seems that on or around June 22nd or 23rd both Delta & Southwest gift cards have stopped issuing the credit. This sort of thing has happened before (one & two). What’s odd this time is that people who have made qualifying incidental purchases have been reimbursed (for example somebody purchased SW early bird and a gift card on the same day and only early bird was refunded). We did a post on Southwest giftcards in particular not working earlier, but those issues seem to have resolved but are now occurring again.
Keep in mind it looks like these issues started happening on June 22nd or 23rd, but there are datapoints of earlier gift cards not being reimbursed as well. It’s also worth remembering that Delta gift cards need to be purchased on desktop, otherwise they are processed by cashstar and are never reimbursed.
I feel like something like this, or similar to this happens once every year or so. The fact that American Airlines gift cards look like they have stopped working earlier in the year and the fact that other changes are being reimbursed does make me think that this time it might be different (although I do think that every time this happens – I’m a bit of a pessimist sometimes). My recommendation would be to just sit tight and wait for now and see if reimbursements start coming through again or not. If American Express is truly cracking down on airline incidentals, the value proposition changes and makes these cards even less attractive.