Platinum Card Is No Longer Accepting Delta Gift Cards Against Airline Credits; Platinum’s Value is Increasingly Questionable
Image Courtesy: American Express

Platinum Card Is No Longer Accepting Delta Gift Cards Against Airline Credits; Platinum’s Value is Increasingly Questionable

American Express’s Platinum card once gave cardholders a $200 annual credit against airline purchases.   Several years ago, Amex “upgraded” its program by only applying the $200 annual credit against incidentals at a single airline that cardholders needed to specify beforehand.   Savvy cardholders realized from searches on the internet that they would continue to get the full credit by specifying Delta as their chosen airline and purchasing 4 gift cards of $50 each.   (There is also anecdotal evidence that this worked for American Airlines too, but with Delta, it was always certain).   As another new “upgrade” for 2019, Amex is no longer accepting Delta’s $50 gift card charges as an incidental and will charge you their full cost.

Amex seems to just be constantly “upgrading” the Platinum card such that it is becoming harder and harder to see its value against the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and the newly improved Citibank Prestige card.   It is especially remarkable since Amex used to bend over backwards to keep Platinum cardholders happy.

These days, they now charge $550 per year for the card (“upgraded” from $450) and give you small monthly Uber credits that are often not properly credited.   While access to United and American lounge access has been lost (and Delta is no limited to the cardholder only), you do have access to the Centurion lounges, but they are most likely to be more crowded than the terminal itself.   Plus, you may not always be given access and they won’t let in a single cardholder with more than one kid.

Platinum does now give 5 points per dollar for travel booked directly with the airline, but as of January 4, 2019, that has been matched by Citibank’s Prestige card.   Both the Prestige card and Chase’s Sapphire Reserve Card (which only gives 3 points per dollar on airlines) offer better compensation in the event of a flight delay or cancellation.

Of course, Platinum still has their Fine Hotels and Resorts program that can be incredibly valuable, giving you a third or fourth night free and an upgrade to a suite.  But, if you don’t use that program, the Platinum card’s value is increasingly questionable.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to financial literacy and bank transparency. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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  • Giovanni

    March 25, 2019

    I just purchased a $50 Delta Gift card and AMEX refunded me plus the $4.25 they charged me for UPS signature delivery current date March 25 2019

  • Nitish Kannan

    February 20, 2019

    It doesn’t work anymore

  • Michael Karpiel

    January 20, 2019

    I used the 4 $50 DL gift cards in Dec 2018 (I got my AX Plat in early Dec 2018). I also switched to AA for 2019 and got credit for 2 $100 gift cards in mid Jan 2019.

    So I honestly question the source for this article as I've also seem numerous other postings on FB and other sites where the credits are being applied.

  • Lu

    January 09, 2019

    I got my CG refunds from Platinum in December, maybe this was the last.

  • Jeremiah

    January 08, 2019

    This is completely unsubstantiated and unsourced. There are plenty of instances of people on Reddit and Flyertalk getting reimbursed this year.

    Where are you getting this information?

  • Max B

    January 08, 2019

    I purchased 4 $50 Delta GCs on my Schwab card. The charges posted on 01/03/19 and the credits posted on 01/06/19. Not sure if I just made it under the wire or if Schwab hasn't been effected. I made the purchase from a computer as I've heard using a phone or tablet doesn't work.

  • ava

    January 08, 2019

    Didn't get a credit for my experimental purchase of a $50 Delta Gift card in 12/18. Uber isn't much use to me but once or twice a year. I used the Priority pass, and I get $100 back at Saks. I've got TSA and Global entry so no help there. I am seriously considering going back to Gold.

  • Cindy

    January 08, 2019

    I agree with the article! Have been a Platinum card holder for years. Uber is not available in all areas so that part is a joke and if you complain they act like you are the only one. Card and service goes downhill every year.

  • Proof or source

    January 08, 2019

    Can you at least supply some proof or a source for this information? I feel like I actually know less after reading what you wrote...

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