Issues With American Express Airline Incidental Credits for Delta
Are there Amex gift card issues? It seems like something has changed with the American Express airline reimbursement fee, specifically with how it’s triggered from Delta gift card purchases in Amex’s internal coding.
We mentioned back in February that some data points showed issues with receiving the American Express airline fee credit when purchasing gift cards. Then, the issues seemed to have improved.
Now, it looks like there are new Amex gift card issues, this time with Delta. I have run into my own issues, but in the interest of not inducing panic, I spent time conducting some experiments. It look like I’m not alone in this issue, given the number of recent comments on this thread on FlyerTalk.
If you have data points to share, we’d love to hear them.
Background on Amex and gift cards
American Express allows some cards (such as the Platinum, Business Platinum, and personal Gold card) to choose a preferred airline and receive credits for certain purchases. Among those purchases are things like bag fees and seat upgrades, but we’ve also known that certain airlines’ gift card purchases will trigger this credit from Amex and others won’t. Selecting an airline which sells gift cards that trigger this reimbursement is a way to get a “free” gift card, essentially.
Earlier this month, I opened the American Express Gold card and selected Delta as my preferred airline, due to past experience with using Delta as my airline with the Business Platinum card. Here’s how that Delta gift card purchase coded with my Business Platinum card in January:
A few days later, here’s how the credit showed up in my account:
Changes and new gift card issues
Imagine my surprise when I made a purchase in the same way but saw it code much differently this month.
This purchase coded entirely differently, including GC in the title, which obviously stands for “gift card”. This purchase hasn’t triggered the reimbursement yet, and I have a feeling it’s not going to.
In the interest of science and collecting data, I turned on a VPN and set my location to Atlanta (home of Delta) and used a different browser, including “private browsing”. I bought another gift card, and it shows up this way on my account.
This one is showing closer to the old ones from my Business Platinum reimbursement back in January, so I was feeling hopeful. A week later, and the reimbursement still hasn’t shown up in my account, so I reached out to Amex via chat.
I asked some general questions to confirm that they see Delta as my chosen airline, when can I expect reimbursement, and whether a reimbursement is processing.
Seeking clarity from Amex on the issues
I feel like I didn’t get any direct confirmation, but here’s what I got from the Amex chat rep earlier today:
There’s nothing new in that list about what fees are/are not covered, and the chat rep probably doesn’t have the authority to issue credits. He also mentioned that it’s automatic via their system, so it has to be recognized by some kind of coding.
At this point, I’m collecting data. Has anyone else purchased gift cards to trigger the Amex airline reimbursement fee within the past month? If so, here’s some data that would be interesting:
- Have you bought gift cards and received the Amex airline reimbursement within the past month?
- What airline did you choose?
- What value of gift cards did you purchase (ex: $50, $100)?
- How did you purchase them (browser, app, phone)?
- Did you use any special settings (private browsing, VPN, etc.)?
- How long did it take to receive the credit?
- How did the gift cards code / item display title on your billing statement?
The chat rep said it can take up to 14 business days to receive my credit, so there’s still “waiting” required, but I’m wondering what has changed, given that it was so fast earlier this year with my Business Platinum card.
If you have any recent data points to share, we’d love to hear them. There’s also chatter about similar issues with Southwest, but I can’t confirm or deny those, since I didn’t choose Southwest as my preferred airline on any of my cards. If anything is changing with Amex or with Delta & Southwest on this, it will be good information to share, so others can know.