American Express Platinum cardholders receive a $200 annual credit applied to offset fees charged by airlines. Almost no one chooses Spirit, here’s why I did.
United Is My Primary Carrier
I flew United Airlines last year for just over 100,000 miles on about 70 segments almost weekly. I flew another 100,000 miles on various awards or cash tickets from business class on Korean to Spirit airlines on trips to Florida. United secured all of my business flights, but two trips on American. It is the carrier for which I am most loyal and focused.
Why Would I Choose Spirit?
So why choose Spirit? Simple. Spirit charges more fees than any other carrier I fly. United includes so much in my status that it is nearly impossible to utilize the American Express Platinum cardholder credit ($200 per card.)
If United was my chosen airline (as American was in the past) I could utilize the credit to offset the cost of lounge access. But I wouldn’t do that because my two most frequented airports (Pittsburgh and Houston-IAH) either have no United option or better choices (such as the Centurion lounge.) I would enthusiastically spend the credit if I could buy my way into the impressive Polaris lounge but that’s limited to business class long-haul international flights.
I don’t pay for bags, I don’t pay for seat assignments, I could buy upgrades but I am already not utilizing the free options at my disposal well enough.
With Spirit, however, I often pay a number of fees and with flights inexpensive enough, it makes sense to do so.
What Fees Will I Offset
An ideal Spirit flight looks much like the $14.30/each way/passenger I mentioned last week. On many occasions, we need no bags at all, but in some cases, life is easier adding $28 in checked luggage. Though Matthew disagrees, I am a big fan of Spirit’s Big Front Seat. It’s roughly the same seat as any major carrier has in first class, but it’s usually available for just $50 more in each direction.
In a given flight, like the one I booked above, I can fly for $14.30/each way, in the same seat as first class on United, with a bag if I like, on a non-stop (saving me hours.)
The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Capital One Venture both have really easy travel credits to use while the American Express Platinum requires more work. I used to find creative ways to use my annual $200 airline fee credit to ensure I receive the full benefit. I am pleased to get an excellent value for money this year and use my credits fully on flights I want to take even if they are on Spirit.
What do you think? Do you hold the American Express Platinum card? How do you use your airline fee credits? Would you rather a smaller credit but an easier redemption method?