Several credit cards, such as the AMEX Platinum and the Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa, offer a special benefit called Airline Fee Credits. The issuer will reimburse fees charged to the card by airlines (up to $200 or $300 annually, in the examples above).
The fees are supposed to be for airline extras (such as checked bag, oversize bag, and pet fees), and not for airline tickets. However, a trick that some people perform, with success, is to purchase airline gift cards directly from the airline. I’ve successfully purchased American, Delta, and United gift cards and had the airline fee credit reimbursed.
I purchased a few gift cards this year on my Chase Ritz-Carlton card and successfully applied the credits:
Recent news leads me to believe this may be coming to an end soon, or at least may become more difficult to do. The article states that Visa and Mastercard are working with airlines more clearly to delineate what item or category of fee is being purchased. Savvy bank CSRs may notice that the fee you are trying to get reimbursed for is classified as a gift card in the future.
I haven’t heard any reports of this affecting anyone yet, but I’d definitely put it on the list as something to watch out for. And if you are planning on using your 2015 statement credits for gift cards, I think it’s a good idea to do so sooner rather than later in light of this news.