Tips for The Platinum Card ® from American Express $200 Airline Rebate

I’ve previously blogged about how I thought the $450 annual fee for the The Platinum Card ® from American Express was insane. I also thought anyone who would pay $450 for the card was too full of herself.

However, after having the card for nearly a year, I’d like to say that the annual fee really is quite reasonable when you’re able to take full advantage of the benefits.

How to Get Your $200 The Platinum Card ® from American Express Airline Rebate in Cash

The Perk

Each calendar year, The Platinum Card ® from American Express card holders can select an airline and credit up to $200 with that airline.  The credited fees will be reimbursed up to the allowable $200 per year.

When you get the Platinum card, you can designate an airline like American, AirTran, Alaska, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, Jet Blue, Spirit, Southwest, United, and US Airways.

When I got the card, I knew that I could purchase gift cards and those amounts would be reimbursed.  I’ve personally confirmed that when I bought a $50 American Airlines gift card, a $50 credit appeared on my card.

However, what I did not know is that there is a way to get the $200 in cash instead of airline gift cards.

How to Get $200 Credit in Cash with the The Platinum Card ® from American Express

  1. Sign up for the The Platinum Card ® from American Express and designate your airline.  In my case, I designated American Airlines.
  2. Sign up for Sky Guide Executive Privileges Club for $19.99 for a year.
  3. Next time you fly on your designated airline, go to the airline lounge, but pay for a day pass.  The cost is $50.  Important Update: As of 2013 you can only be reimbursed for one airline lounge pass per month.
  4. When you get home, file a Sky Guide Executive Privileges Club reimbursement form, and you’ll get a check for $50.
  5. Watch your activity, and you should see a $50 statement credit post for the $50 you spent.
  6. If you do this 4x in a year, you’ll end up with $200 worth of checks, and you’ll also have been reimbursed your $200 that you spent at the lounges.
I can personally verify that this method works.  I discovered it by accident when I paid for lounge access at JFK earlier this year.

How to Maximize the $200 Cash Opportunity

The $200 airline credit with American express is per calendar year.  However, the annual fee for the card only posts every year from when you signed up for the card.  This means that within a year of having the card you should be able to get $400 in cash back to offset the $450 annual fee.
John gets the Platinum card on July 1st, 2012.  He then pays a $450 annual fee.
  • On August 1st, he visits a lounge and ends up with a $50 check.
  • On September 1st, he visits a lounge and gets a $50 check.
  • On October 1st, he visits a lounge and receives a $50 reminbursemnt check.
  • On September 1st, he visits a lounge and files with Sky Guide to get a $50 check.
By the end of 2012, John now has $200 in checks and no charges on his Platinum card.  However, in 2013, he gets a fresh $200 airline credit.
  • February 1st, he visits a lounge and charges the $50 on his Platinum card.  After filing the claim, he gets a $50 check.
  • March 1st, he does this again and gets a $50 check.
  • April 1st, the process is repeated for another $50.
  • May 1st, he makes his fourth and final visit to a lounge and charges his final $50 on the Platinum card.
He now has $400 worth of checks back for his $450 annual fee.  This has effectively reduced the one year annual fee to $50.
On June 15th, John calls and cancels the Platinum card before he is charged another annual fee.
If you’d rather just get gift cards, that is easy too.  I bought enough $50 American Airlines electronic gift cards to max out my $200 American Airlines incidental reimbursement charges for 2012.

What Platinum Benefits Can You Enjoy for Only $50 for a Year?

Membership Rewards Sign Up Bonus.

The current sign up bonus is 25,000 American Express Membership Rewards after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of Card membership.

If you search around or wait patiently, you ought to be able to get a better offer.

Last year, I got my 50,000 points and transfered them to British Airways during a 50% transfer bonus.  My net bonus was 75,000 British Airways Avois.  I’ll easily get $750 worth of value out of those points.

Unlimited Lounge Access 

When traveling in the States, you can get free access into American, Delta, and US Airways lounges.  American allows you to enter with one guest and children under 18 free of charge.  US Airways has the same policy and even allows you to enter if you’re flying a different airline. (We got free lounge access – even when flying Southwest.) Delta allows you to bring a spouse, but I never tried entering with my kids.

When traveling overseas, you can enter any Priority Pass Select lounge.  The primary card holder is free, and a guest costs $27 per admission. Different lounges have differing policies on children, so be sure to ask when you arrive at a lounge.

Starwood Gold 

While having Starwood Gold, I was given lounge access in Kuala Lampur and Buenos Aires.  This is not a listed benefit, but a benefit that some hotels will give Gold members.  The free internet benefit also saved us heaps of money during our 2012 travels.

Global Entry

Global Entry costs $100, but if you pay the fee with your American Express Platinum card, you’ll get it for nothing.  American Express reimburses the application cost if you pay with your Platinum card.

This means it is possible to pay the $450 and easily get $500 out of the fee if you don’t already have Global Entry.

Platinum Fine Hotel Benefits

When you book select hotels through this program, you get benefits like a late checkout, breakfast, hotel credit, and a room upgrade if available.

I just checked rates for an upcoming hotel stay in Denver, and I was offered a $100 food and beverage credit at the Four Seasons Denver.  The only problem is that I’m too cheap to pay $295 per night.  It’s still a good deal, because on the Four Seasons website, $295 is the lowest rate without the $100 food and beverage credit.


  1. Sandy says

    Hi Craig, this is completely revolutionary!! Please excuse the fact that I tend to digest information like this slowly…..but correct me if I’m misunderstanding your method. It sounds like the total of $200 cash reimbursed from Sky Guide membership by visiting lounges 4X is independent of the $200 airline credit from AMEX Platinum Charge Card. Am I understanding this correctly? And can this $200 cash back from Sky Guide be perpetual if I decide to keep my AMEX Plat. for another year or more? Thank you.

    • says


      Thanks for asking!

      Yes, you are correct.
      When you charge $50 on your AMEX Platinum card at an eligible lounge you’ll get a $50 credit. Basically you paid $0 to enter the lounge. However, if you get reimbursed from Sky Guide you’ll get a second reimbursement of $50. That puts you up $50 for entering the lounge.
      Every calendar year you can do this up to $200.

      My plan is to rotate Platinum cards so that I can get $400 refunded per card and also get the sign up bonus.

      • Kurtis says

        I don’t think Craig is saying that the $50 X 4 reimbursement for Sky Guide lounge access is independent of the $200 airline credit. That is just one of several ways to receive one’s airline credit. The unique thing is that this method turns the credit into cash!

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