Using your Amex travel fee reimbursement for gift cards

One of the gimmicks credit cards use to help you offset their high annual fees is they offer an "airline fee reimbursement". The hope is to get you to sorta lop that $100 credit off your perception of the card's annual fee. But of course if they make it hard enough to use the credit, they get to keep this money you thought was yours. 

For example, Amex makes you choose a single airline where these fees will be reimbursable. You can only change your choice once a year. Airfare itself on that airline doesn't count (the idea is that Amex is helping you offset all of those pesky baggage and Premium Economy upgrade fees, not the flight itself). 

Well I chose Delta as my airline and it's getting near the end of the year and I haven't used the $100. I'd read online that you could actually buy a Delta gift card and this would count toward your credit. Long story short: American Express does NOT consider Delta gift cards bought from as airline fees. Ugh.

I recently got a Chase Sapphire Reserve and the one thing that took me from "maybe" to "hell yes" was the fact that Chase made their $300 annual travel credit super simple to redeem. Are you listening, Amex? 

A couple of other quick things:
  • I booked an Aeromexico flight (on their 787 service!) as a partner award through Delta and the $45 co-pay was reimbursed by Amex. So their credits aren't entirely useless.
  • When I bought the gift certificate online, I didn't know that you have to wait fully 72 hours before you can redeem it. 


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