Posted by Chuck on February 13, 2019
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Published on February 13th, 2019 | by Chuck

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Will American Airlines Gift Cards Trigger the Amex Airline Credit now that they Show as ‘Gift Certificates’?

Numerous reports are coming out that American Airlines changed the way gift card purchases are showing up in the description details. Further, while it’s too early to tell for certain, these newly coded purchases have not been triggering the Amex airline incidental credit.

Previously, the American Airlines gift card and e-gift card purchases showed ‘Misc Fees/Taxes’. Recently, they’ve been showing as ‘Gift Certificate’. The change happened on either February 8th, apparently (a reader emailed me that their 7th purchase was reimbursed). You can also check your purchase and see if it codes as ‘Gift Certificate’ or as ‘Misc Fees/Taxes’ to see whether you are included in the new coding.

If true, the change would affect all Amex airline credits and it would affect all denomination gift cards purchased.

My personal guess is that this is the end of American Airlines gift cards triggering the airline credit and that Amex may be taking steps with a few of the major airlines to have them code their gift card sales differently so that they can exclude them from getting the airline credit. More optimistically, this was just AA acting on their own, and it won’t affect other airlines. Most optimistically, this change won’t affect anything, and the airline credits will post shorting.

For now, other airlines seem to be working fine. For example, data points suggest Delta and Southwest are still triggering the credit. Check all data points in Payments Workshop. Some people have had success in the past with asking Amex via chat to allow them to change their airline in mid-year as a courtesy, that might be helpful to some people now.

Unknown if this change is only an Amex coding change or also Visa/Mastercard; hopefully BofA Premium Rewards and CNB will still work with AA gift cards.

Update: Multiple data points (1, 2) indicate that the change did not affect BofA Premium Rewards purchase on February 8th. And  a reader sent in a screenshot which shows AA gift cards still working for CNB on February 11th; this report confirms the same.)

[Update 3/14/19: It appears that the speculation is indeed correct, and American Airlines gift cards no longer trigger the Amex incidental airline credit.]

Hat tip to Flyertalk members and TPG



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Zamana
Zamana

Bought on Feb 5 and credit posted fine.

Jr
Jr

Can thank Flyertalk and bloggers for this.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I don’t see how it’d be in AA’s best interest to have intentionally done that to not trigger an airline credit.

derria
derria

Give me a break. Amex has know about this for years.

mjonis
mjonis

Well technically it’s a violation of the travel credit anyway, so nobody’s really to blame. It’s a loophole that shouldn’t really be allowed (by the terms), so if it gets closed, then just consider it good luck if you were able to use it for a while. Now, it’d be diff. if the terms actually said you could redeem for gift cards and then suddenly due to an influx of requests, they get rid of it.

Mike
Mike

My guess was the increasing percentage of applications around Nov/Dec and cancellations mid-January right after using the airline credit. Don’t get me wrong I am one of those as well but we can’t really be surprised can we if the number of Aspire and Platinum applications skyrockets in December?

If we all found these boards does anyone really think Amex/Chase/Cap One etc are so dumb they aren’t aware either?

M.
M.

If so, why aren’t they punishing those who bought the gc early January?

JJ
JJ

Pretty simple to prevent this. Don’t let the credit post for a month.

Paul
Paul

Hmm I wonder if AA was asked by credit card companies to make a change

Len
Len

If amex undo aa and southwest, then there is only delta left. At that point, there is no need to even keep their cards any more.

water
water

Well, those no annual fee cards still good though for all sorts of benefits

Jack - NJ
Jack - NJ

Does this affect the citi aa card?

Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

My Amex airline credits havent posted to my Citi AA card yet either, ymmv

Jack - NJ
Jack - NJ

What do you mean amex airline credits to citi? They are completely different cards, no?

Charlie
Charlie

The Citi AA card doesn’t even have an “airline incidentals credit” does it?

Jack - NJ
Jack - NJ

They had a sign up offer for $200 bonus towards AA purchases.

Charlie
Charlie

Were the purchases limited to “incidentals” or could it be any AA purchase?

Yu
Yu

Doc, do you think if this change impacts the reimbursement of AA GC purchase on City National and BOA Premium?

Ron
Ron

I’m curious also if this affects my BofA Premium card.

Matt
Matt

Purchased $100 AA GC on 2/26 and BOA travel credit posted same day.

Debit
Debit

Yup. Need datapoints for this.

Rob
Rob

DP – I charged 250 AA GC to City Nat on 2/6 and still no credit as of today (2/13) past years usually posted 2-3 days later.

Jeff
Jeff

My last set at the beginning of january took close to 1.5 weeks to post.

Grant

I think my CNB credits usually take 9-10 days from the day the AA eGC was purchased.

Rob
Rob

Yup, you guys were right, one more day wait and the credit posted today 2/14. So it was 8 days. Whew. Thanks @Grant and @Jeff!

YK3
YK3

I just ran one of my City National Crystal card for this yesterday without knowing about this. I’m very worried, but I will at least be able provide another DP for yall now. Really kicking myself for not doing this as soon as calendar year turned.

Yu
Yu

Would you check in your pending transaction, what the code/description is to this purchase?

payyoutuesday
payyoutuesday

You’ll be fine. My CNB Crystal statement from December included “GFT” in the AA GC transaction description, and I was reimbursed

water
water

I’ll be nice if you could provide DP later

Jp
Jp

BOA Premium DP – $100 AA GC posted 2/11; credit posted 2/15

Yu
Yu

Can you share when did you initially purchase this $100 GC?

Kaung
Kaung

Definitely easier call time renewal times. But people in this hobby travel frequently enough, I believe we can still offset fees and such at least once a year (esp if you’re going to fee heavy European destinations).

Charlie
Charlie

I don’t understand what point you are making. The heavy fees for certain European destinations are included in the ticket prices and have never counted toward the incidentals credit.

Rick
Rick

Yowzers I guess I got real lucky then. Purchased 2x $100 AA eGC on Feb 2, and airline credit posted on Feb 5. Coded as Miscellaneous Tax(S)/Fee(S).So even as recently as 10 days ago it was working.

Someone on Flyertalk mentioned buying $100 AA eGC on Feb 4 and getting credited Feb 8, but someone who bought on Feb 8 had it coded as gift certificate. So looks like something changed between Feb 4 and Feb 8.

Debit
Debit

Getting easier and easier to cancel amex

LC
LC

Everything this good eventually comes to an end… this is why i currently hold 4 platinum version cards, these things never last forever… Whether people want to believe it or not, this game has always been a sprint and not a marathon.

Davy
Davy

Actually, you having 4 Plats is part of why this dies.

Lc
Lc

And… I already got 90+% of the benefits of it. We could go in circles on this forever. Hate to say it but one has to be selfish when it comes to this game or you’ll miss out on opportunities.

Jr
Jr

Agreed.

MIL215
MIL215

Didn’t trigger for mine unfortunately. Fortunately I only did $100.

EyesOnThePoints

No Go For Me Either. Purchased $100.00 Feb 8th, 2019 . Came in as Gift Card. I think this may the End of AA gift card Guys. Was Fun While it Lasted 🙂

ND
ND

I bought AA gift card on Jan 31, coded as Miscellaneous Tax(S)/Fee(S). No credit yet! Spoke to CSR, asked me to wait 2-4 weeks! I hope it gets posted!

Joe S
Joe S

This one will be reimbursed but you’ll have to chat with them after the 4 weeks. It shows up as Misc. Expenses/Fees, but something happened on Jan 31 where lots of credits didn’t post. I’m not sure what to do because I’m in the same boat but it’s on my Aspire and I only did $100, but if I ask to have it credited then I’ll be stuck with another $150 that I can’t use AA GCs for. At least at this moment I could use $250 for Delta in $50 increments if I chat and switch from AA to Delta.

Naota
Naota

It took a few weeks for me the last time. Good luck.

John
John

Same! Bought both of mine on 1/31, coded as tax/fees and no credit yet.

At least we’ll eventually get it!

el_pistolero
el_pistolero

fk….

sdsearch
sdsearch

According to this post yesterday by mia on FlyerTalk, this has happened BEFORE (in 2016) at AA, and then after a while it reverted back:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30769500-post1532.html

So it MAY not be intentional at all.

Neil
Neil

Hope so, thank you for this datapoint!

sunny
sunny

For those of us that haven’t used the credit in 2019 and can still change, does DL or WL credits still work? Trying to salvage some value out of this…

Stuart
Stuart

Amex gold – bought 2x $50 delta on 2/10 got the credit this morning 2/13….I might switch plat and aspire to delta through chat

Fathiss
Fathiss

Odd. I bought two $50 delta gift cards on Gold on 2/6 and still no credit.
I did get two $100 aa gift cards reimbursed on spouse’s platinum in January.

milestogo
milestogo

Same here. Purchased $50 Delta GC on desktop with Amex Gold on 2/1 and no credit yet.

Steven
Steven

Not sure about GC but I paid for WN award taxes on 2/14 and credit posted 2/16. $46.90 and $68.03.

Fathiss
Fathiss

What’s “WN”?

YD
YD

Southwest

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