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How to use your Amex airline fee credit

American Express annual airline fee credits reset each calendar year. Use them before you lose them!

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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express offers premium travel benefits on many cards, including annual airline fee credits. The catch is that these credits reset each calendar year, so it's important you use them before the reset.

Eligible cardholders can benefit from annual airline fee credits up to $250 to cover incidentals, such as seat upgrades, checked bags and in-flight refreshments. The Amex cards that offer these credits often come with steep annual fees, so it's important to use the full benefit in order to offset those costs.

The good news: You can book future travel and use the credit now. For example, if you're planning a vacation for next year, you can purchase the flight and add any checked bags or seat upgrades to your reservation now, therefore using your annual airline fee credit to offset the cost of incidentals.

Amex cards that offer annual airline fee credits

How to check the status of your airline fee credit

Checking whether you have any credit left is simple and best done via americanexpress.com instead of the Amex app:

  1. Log in to your Amex account
  2. Navigate to "Benefits"
  3. Scroll below "All Benefits" or select "Travel" to find the airline fee credit, which will read something like "$200 Airline Fee Credit"
  4. Expect to see either the credit you have remaining or a statement saying you used the full credit

Note: Before you can take advantage of the credit, you have to select an airline to benefit from this perk. You should do this before you book your travel.

Check progress on other credits

While you're checking your airline fee credit balance, consider checking any other credits that expire at the end of the year. Enrollment may be required to take full advantage of the credits.

  • American Express® Gold Card: Monthly $10 credit toward eligible dining at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the U.S. annually (Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only); up to $25 back each month on eligible Equinox memberships, up to $300 annually (enrollment required); up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership; up to $20 in statement credits each month ($240 annually) when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times (enrollment required) Terms apply for all benefits.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Unlock over $1,000 in value per year for statement credits on select purchases with your card, including up to $400 with Dell Technologies (up to $200 semi-annually), up to $360 with Indeed, up to $150 with Adobe, up to $120 on wireless telephone purchases and $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. Enrollment required.

Don't miss: I saved $350 on my vacation by paying with the Amex Gold Card—here's how you can, too

Information about the Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.