American Express Waiving Excise Tax Offset Fees

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American Express announced some good news for cardholders of Membership Rewards earning cards. Normally the credit card issuer charges an excise tax when transferring to miles to U.S. airlines, however this will now be waived.

As a result of COVID-19 and the subsequent CARES Act passed in the United States on March 28, 2020, American Express is temporarily waiving all excise tax offset fees through December 31, 2020.

Membership Rewards airline transfer partners subject to this tax normally include the following U.S. airlines: Delta SkyMiles, jetBlue TrueBlue and Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles.

For context, neither Chase nor Citi charges cardholders to transfer points to their U.S. airline transfer partners, as it’s only American Express that passes this tax onto its cardholders.

There’s no registration needed as the tax has automatically been removed when attempting the transfer. We’re also told that those who have transferred points to one of these airlines earlier this year can expect a refund to their statement, which should appear in the next couple weeks.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to one of their U.S. airline partners, you may want to do so before the end of the year in order to avoid paying the excise fee tax, which is normally charged.

I’d suspect we’ll see some Membership Rewards transfer bonuses in the next several months, so depending on which airline and how much the bonus is, it could make sense to transfer before the end of the year.

To learn more about the Excise Fee normally charged by American Express, see Amex Transfer Partner Fees and How to Avoid for a full overview.

Do you plan on transferring any Membership Rewards points to any of their U.S. airline partners due to the excise fee tax being waived? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

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