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Happy New Year? Nah – Happy Airline Incidental Credit Day!

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Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

Airline Incidental Credit

How To Use Your Airline Incidental Credit & Why You Should Right Away

A lot of people like to look at the first of the year as a fresh start or turning their story to a new page so to speak.  They like to think of it as a new beginning and a clean slate.  I don’t really care about any of that. I look at it as the airline incidental credit day.  The day where I can rack up hundreds of airline credits again!

RELATED: I Spent How Much!? On Annual Fees In 2019 & My Game Plan For 2020

What’s The Rush To Us Airline Incidental Credit(s)?

Why do I worry about this on day one of the year though?  I do because I like to simplify things and get stuff checked off my list and move on.  No last minute worries wondering if I used my available credits or not (cough cough Shawn!).

There were many such posts in our Facebook Group over the last few days.  People frantic over whether the charge would post in time etc.  Why not take care of it right away and then not have to worry about it?  That is my motto at least.

As for the travel credits on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, US Bank Altitude Reserve and Citi Prestige I don’t worry about those.  They are a true travel credit and have less restrictions and can be dwindled down naturally.

List of Cards

Here is a list of cards with airline incidental fees (if I missed any let me know and I will add them in):

Don’t forget about the Saks Fifth Avenue credit with the Amex Platinum card either. Or the Dell credit with the American Express Business Platinum. Be careful with both of these though and do not purchase gift cards with them.

The Big Front Seat on Spirit is a great way to use your credit.

Where To Search For Data Points

Things have gotten more difficult with the American Express airline incidental since gift cards no longer work.  I wanted to share the best place for data points for each airline, which is Flyertalk:

Be careful using some of the remaining tricks though. We fear that they may be ripe for claw backs in 2021 because of the way Dell & Saks credits were treated in 2020 and 2019.  But that is just a guess on our part.


My suggestion to you is enjoy your New Year, watch some football, eat some pizza and get your airline incidental credit(s) handled.  Nothing like taking care of things right away and not having to worry about them later on down the road.  Then you can book some travel with your newly minted gift cards or even sell them to offset the annual fee.

Anyone else think the same way as me?  Do you get them done in the first few days of the New Year?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. Please revise. The American Express Gold lots it’s $100 incidental credit effective this year. Instead we get a Uber credit of $120 a year ($10 a month) that was phased in last year.

  2. Citi (Expedia voyager) is a disaster. Their reps have no idea how long the credits take to post, whether it’s a calendar or cardholder year, and why my JetBlue and united baggage fees from September haven’t posted. I’ll likely cancel as soon as next AF posts esp since Expedia points are close to worthless

  3. Late in the year (2020) when there was little travel and ability to use the airline credits, I called AMEX to share disappointment and that I was considering cancelling the card due to mot getting/using all of the benefits. I was able to use their substitute offer for the resort credit when they allowed for restaurant purchases, which was a nice substitute. The agent rehashed all the other perks/benefits including that one and told me that they didn’t have anything else to substitute for the airline charges. I expressed my disappointment, they offered me some points and I said I would keep it. Seeing that travel will be restricted into this year, it would be nice if they would offer an alternative place/way to spend and get the credits beside with the airline itself, since the opportunities will be smaller.

    • I think the streaming and cell phone credits plus the PayPal credits this year were their way of doing that. Not sure why they didn’t just make the airline incidental easier to use but that is the route they took for that (at least for the Platinum card).

  4. I selected Frontier (not in your list, but incidental rich) for the Hilton Aspire card. I enrolled in the Discount Den Club for $59.99 and got an Amex credit two days later.

    • I went with Frontier for one of my cards and Spirit for the other since I needed to pay some seat fees 🙂

  5. Does the bank of America premium travel rewards card reset on January 1 or is it on a card member anniversary renewal date?

  6. Does anyone have any tricks to combine and/or use more Delta gift cards? I have a ton of $50 delta gift cards from AMEX travel credits. When booking delta travel the website only allow max of 3 gift cards per ticket. I would love to take 10 gift cards and merge them in to a single $500 cards.

  7. I purchased my $750 credits. I really hope Amex did not make changes again and I end up stuck with these GCs that I’m never going to use (I used miles for travel).

  8. I am thinking about applying for Hilton Aspire CC. I know I can take the $250 Airline credit twice during my first calendar year. Does the same apply for the Aspire $250 Hilton hotel credit? Also, can I use the hotel credit at any Hilton, or is it only for “resorts”?

    • The $250 airline credit can be used twice on the first anniversary year, not calendar year. Meaning you can use it once per calender year but twice before you pay your first annual fee. If you get the card in March 2019 you can use credit from Mar-Dec 2019 & once between Jan-Mar 2020, which only matters if your planning to cancel the card prior to your annual fee as you will not get a 2nd credit between Apr-Dec 2020. For the $250 resort fee thats only once per anniversary year at Hilton Resorts. You can find all Hilton resorts at this link
      The cars also has an annual $100 property credit you can use for 2 night or more stays at Waldorf & Conrad.

    • Happy New Year – that card comes with Travel Credits so I wouldn’t rush to use them like airline incidentals since they are so easy to use. No reason to buy gift cards with them.

  9. What posts as a travel credit for Southwest? I’ve tried purchasing SW giftcards but they never credited as travel.

  10. Reminder if you still have the MB platinum it will go away on 11 Jan so better act quick to use your $200 airline credits & $50 Saks

    • It will just be switched over to Platinum so I think everything will stay the same unless you cancel the card.

      • True if you dont have the vanillaa platinum they should just transfer no rush to use them. In my case I applied for the vanilla platinum in Nov knowing MB was going away (thanks to your blog). Since I applied I had double credits to use (Uber, Airlines, Saks). In my case if I dont use the MB credits before 11 Jan ill lose them with the card since already receive them on the Vanilla platinum.

  11. Used the Saks credit before 1st cup of coffee, and my SWA gift cards delivered to my inbox by 2nd cup. Now to use up Uber credits w/ Uber Eats today. In a rush because I’m dumping my MB Plat before it turns into a reg Plat.

  12. Got $650 all to SW via my 4 cards today. Coupled with my Companion Pass, will easily pay for my fam of 4 trip in September to Florida once those flights are released. Wonderful day indeed!


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