American Express

Amex Waiving Excise Transfer Fees to Domestic Airlines

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A little known thing that American Express does with its Membership Rewards program is charge a small excise fee when you transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to a domestic (US-based) airline.

amex excise fee waived

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The Amex Excise Fee for Domestic Airline Transfers

Normally, you’ll pay $0.60 per 1,000 points transferred to domestic airline miles from Amex Membership Rewards, up to a maximum of $99. So a 100,000 point transfer to Delta, for example, would cost you $60.

It covers a government excise tax charged to Amex, although none of the other US banks pass along this fee, so it’s a bit of a mystery why Amex choose to charge members for this.

This means that you’ll pay this fee on transfers from American Express membership Rewards to Delta, Hawaiian, and JetBlue.


This Excise Fee is Waived Through the Rest of 2020

I do know many people that transfer from Amex to Delta and, sometimes, to Hawaiian (useful for a longhaul US-Hawaii flight when they have Business Class Saver awards). JetBlue is almost never worthwhile.

Travel with Grant discovered that Amex will be waiving these fees as an unexpected benefit of the CARES Act.

“As a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent CARES Act passed in the United States on Mar. 28, 2020, we are temporarily waiving all excise tax offset fees on point transfers to [airline] through Dec. 31, 2020.”

delta amex transfer excise fee

jetblue amex transfer excise fee hawaiian amex transfer excise fee

It’s Retroactive to any 2020 Transfer

If you made a transfer to Delta, Hawaiian, or JetBlue in 2020, you’ll be getting a refund of this fee.

Also see: Credit cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points.



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