American Express Clawing Back Airline Incidental Credits
Well Amex RAT (rewards abuse team) is back at it again. American Express is clawing back airline incidental credits from 2019. We had warned that we thought this would happen on a podcast episode earlier in the year but we assumed it would be 2020 credits and not 2019 credits. Amex RAT really outdid themselves this time!
American Express has sent out clawback emails to numerous people that essentially says the following (me paraphrasing):
We see that you received a credit from the airline for the same purchase that we gave you a credit on. Because of this we are charging you that credit amount back.
What Does This Mean
This is most likely from people booking seat fees etc. and then ending up canceling the flight and getting a full refund. What it really means is that Amex is not to trifled with in all things. First they nailed Amex Offers, then gift cards for airline incidentals, then yearly credits with Saks and Dell and now back to airline credits. It looks like everything has been shut down for the most part. It is best to play by the rules going forward or risk missing out on the benefits all together.
I have already used most of my airline incidental credits in 2020 on seat fees for upcoming Spirit and Frontier flights (hello big front seat). If you ever fly low cost carriers I think that is an awesome use for these incidental credits. I know there will still be things that will work that shouldn’t but you have to ask yourself if the juice is worth the squeeze going forward.
Amex craves breakage with all of their credits, it is how they pad their bottom line. For the regular folks they end up leaving a lot of money on the table because of this. But we educated folks were able to drain every last ounce of value out of these credits. It is still possible to do that but it is getting harder and harder. I have long said American Express should just reduce their credits but make them easier to use. It is sexier to sell a $200 Uber and Airline credit in your ads though even if they are more difficult to use.
I know a lot of people will be thinking hard about their American Express cards the next time their annual fee charge hits.