Posted by William Charles on July 4, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on July 4th, 2019 | by William Charles

134

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 (onetwo). 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.

Datapoints

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.

More datapoints are available in the individual Flyertalk threads: Delta | Southwest

My Thoughts

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.

Hat tip to MtM & /r/churning



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Sevillada
Sevillada

Mine (Southwest) is from 23rd 🙁

Kasey
Kasey

SW award fees haven’t been refunded from 21st and 27th for me

Alex
Alex

That’s a good sign, right? Those should be covered under the terms, no?

I’d say it switched over on the 21st, as I have two southwest gcs reimbursed from a purchase on 6/20, and then another two (different card) purchased 6/21 that are still not reimbursed.

LC
LC

i am thinking this also happened to a delta flgiht of mine. $60+ should have been refunded. going to give it some time then will reach out to amex on that since those were part of the terms (not gaming system in that instance)

Mike
Mike

Another nail in the coffin. I am NOT keeping my card come renewal.

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

Don’t be ignorant, nothing is for certain yet.

Steve F
Steve F

Yikes! Harsh man.

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

Harsh but true. People love to spew bullshit before all the facts, that’s how misinformation spreads.

Dublin
Dublin

Says the man named legal bank robber

Jon
Jon

How are legitimate data points misinformation lol?

You might think its gonna change but that doesn’t mean you’re right

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

Jon
Datapoints are just simply that… datapoints. It’s inconclusive so far. Jumping to conclusions is dumb.

Jon
Jon

Be that as it may I think the ignorant comment was OTT

Fathiss
Fathiss

Data points are what lead to conclusions. In this case the data points to date lead to an obvious conclusion: using your credit to purchase gift cards in expectation of reimbursement is very risky.

Brad
Brad

AFAIK american air gift cards are not working.

Blake
Blake

Mine from the 23rd hasn’t posted yet has same code spdr as my ones I used on June 18th that worked right away on second card

John
John

Does anyone know if I book a South West flight with Points and I purchase early bird, and then I cancel do I get a full refund on the earlybird or only as a credit back?

DWT
DWT

I believe that unfortunately, EarlyBird is non-refundable (even as a credit)

chris
chris

Thats why CSR and prestige’s travel credit is better. With Amex, its always like they just don’t want to give you that credit.

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

It’s not that they don’t want you to give the credit it’s that they put it out for incidentals and want it to be used as intended.

rwalle
rwalle

If you really want people to use the benefits, why does Amex put so many restrictions on the credits? Why does Amex even requirement to choose a certain airline, and you cannot change that after Jan 31 every year? What is the point? I am just so tired of Amex “credits”, especially those monthly reimbursements. I’d happily cancel my card next year, stop constantly wondering if I have used this month’s dining credit, and use my time elsewhere.

Kevin
Kevin

Well that’s the thing, cards like the Amex Platinum make the most sense for people who fly a lot and can frequently utilize the 5x on airfare, Centurion lounge, etc. to offset the annual fee. Those same people are the ones with airline status who aren’t paying for checked bags, seat upgrades, drinks onboard, and other incidentals.

The use Amex intends is if you often use the 5x and the lounges, you don’t use the $200 credit, and vice-versa. Tying you to a single airline reinforces the point that they don’t want to make it particularly easy.

aubergine
aubergine

The heavy traveler should set the incidentals credit to a carrier they don’t have status with. Even a road warrior has to fly a non preferred airline sometimes, and in that case, with no status, having some credits around to cover baggage, change fees, seat selection can be handy.

crimsonpride123
crimsonpride123

As an additional AA data point, I purchased a $50 GC with a Hilton Aspire on 06/27. It posted as a Gift Certificate purchase with no sign of a reimbursement yet.

Debit
Debit

Why would american airlines kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Who in their right mind would buy their gift cards or miles otherwise, the bloggers from boarding area persistently pushing them notwithstanding.

What about reimbursement for other cards? Is CNB still working for AA?

Tony
Tony

6/25 2X $100 SW Gift Cards
As of 7/1…No SW credit yet

So nothing yet for me. Doubtful this will get reimbursed since the average turnaround time seems to be about 3 days. Will update if/when I receive the credit.

Al
Al

Datapoint: I just purchased 3 SWA gift cards on my Hilton Aspire for $50-75 on June 17, was reimbursed on June 21. Just in time, apparently.

Al
Al

All of the non-reimbursed datapoints for SWA that I’ve seen are for $100 gift cards. Is it possible they’ve lowered the threshold down to $75 or $50?

Chuck

I think the issue began on the 21st or 22nd.

Gotverb
Gotverb

That’s a negative I did a 50$ and haven’t been reimbursed aspire 6/22 posted 6/24

Sofia
Sofia

Perhaps someone mentions this to the Amex rep, and Amex begins to look into this….. 🙁 Hopefully not…..

carlos
carlos

Is American Airlines still a travel partner? It does not show for me.

Charlie
Charlie

American has never been a travel partner. But that doesn’t matter if you are buying gift cards.

Anastasia
Anastasia

I purchased $50 Delta GC on 6/25 (posted on 6/26), got reimbursed on 6/29.
https://imgur.com/c2SUQW5

chong786
chong786

that is the $50 statement credit offer for delta-cobrand card not the incidental credit for regular gold or plat card..

purchasing gcs for delta-cobrand card sc are still working..

Anastasia
Anastasia

Oh, I see. I missed the “incidental reimbursements” part in the title and the post didn’t mention specific cards.
Can’t edit my post now

AmexSucks
AmexSucks

You are an idiot.

LC
LC

downvote option plz lol

Simon
Simon

Paid pet fee for Delta on 26th and reimbursement credited 29th as DP for non-GCs working.

Tom G
Tom G

Can you share how the pet fee coded on your statement?

Simon
Simon

https://imgur.com/4EcIH4u

Specifically says ‘Animal Transport Charge’

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