I am new to the world of American Express. I signed up to earn the 50,000 point sign up Bonus to use toward airfare for our trip to Portugal next year.
Before signing up for my card, I reviewed the Basic Benefits several times to ensure I would be able to get enough value from the card to offset the Annual Fee. At $250 it is the largest Annual Fee that I have ever agreed to, so I plan to squeeze everything I can out of those benefits.
Digging for Gold – Benefits
Some things, like the Dining Credit are not really of value to me since we don’t have or frequent any of the eligible restaurants. I also don’t find value in the Uber Credit since I still have never taken one.
I will be sure to take advantage of the 4 times points for dining, but may not be able to utilize the 3 times points from booking airfare with the card.
One useful feature that I read, reread and then read again and still was unsure about is the $100 Airline Fee Credit. First I read my new account paperwork, then I scoured the website for clarity on what were qualifying charges. After coming up with nothing, I finally decided to reach out to Amex via an online chat.
The Chat Rep was able to find the information for me quickly. He did agree that the specific list did not seem to be available to users anywhere that he could see. Since he couldn’t email the list to me for later reference, I hand copied the list into my travel notebook.
What is Covered
- Lounge Day Passes or Annual Membership Fees
- Change Fees
- Bag Check Fees
- In Flight Amenities like blankets/pillows/food/beverages
- Over Weight Bag Fees
- Phone Reservation Fees
- Seat Assignment Fees
- Cancellation Fees
What isn’t Covered
- Ticket Purchases
- Award Ticket Fees
- Charges other than by Airline
- Duty Free Purchases
- Gift Cards
- Trip Insurance
- Ticket Upgrades
- Point Transfer Fees
- Travel Agent Fees
One limitation with this credit is that you can only select 1 Airline per year. You are able to change that Airline each January however if you don’t do so, they will continue using your previously selected airline.
I also confirmed with the Chat Rep that if an airline fee is less than $100, the remainder will still be available to apply toward future airline fees. This is great news. I plan to use a small portion of the credit for my Southwest Early bird check In Fee for my upcoming trip to Portland which is only $25. It’s good to know I will still be able to use the considerable balance on other Southwest Fees that I encounter throughout the rest of this year.
The Long and Short of it
Although my primary goal is to earn the sign up bonus points to use for Airfare to Portugal, I have a secondary goal to make sure that I get enough benefit from the card to offset that annual fee. Being familiar with those benefits will help me to do just that.
Anytime you sign up for a new credit card, make sure you really understand what perks are offered and which categories will get you the highest points returns. That will ensure that you get the most bang for your buck.
Dream, Plan, SAVE, Adventure!