Rookie Wednesday: transferring points from another program to Delta Air Lines

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 RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

One question I get a bunch is can I send from this or that program over to Delta. The answer is often yes, but it is just as often not worth it. Why? You lose so much in value that it negates the advantage of topping off your Delta account that way.

You can use this outstanding site http://www.webflyer.com/ to follow the path of how to get points from wherever to Delta if it is even possible. The mileage converter will make it very clear what is possible. It is then up to you to decide if it is worth it for such things as Hotel points and the like.

So those are for the “hard” ones. What about the simple ones? Most of us should know that we can at any time, if we want to, hold both a personal and a business Delta AMEX card and can have both of those cards earn US  Skymiles all to OUR Skymiles account. We can add users to our personal or business Delta AMEX cards and then what they spend (we have to pay the bill for what they spend) will count for our earning Skymiles.

But what else? Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) card, both the  personal card and the  business card, and you can hold both at once, can all be sent to the same SPG account in your name. You can, like with the Delta AMEX card, add users, and the spend on those cards will go your SPG account. SPG has a very nice perk, while it does take a few weeks to send SPG points to Delta, when you send 20,000 points in one transaction, you will receive at Delta.com 25,000 total. That is, they will give you an extra 5,000 Skymiles for the transaction. So, for example, if you sent over 4 batches of 20,000 points (or one 80,000 if you wish), you would at Delta receive 100,000, that is enough for a low level business class seat to Europe.

Another way is Membership Rewards points. These can be sent over at a 1:1 ratio, that is, each MR point you send will net you one Delta Skymile. There have been very nice promotions in the past where you could earn 25%, 50% or even 100% bonus Skymiles when you did these types of transfers and even sometimes bonus Medallion Qualifying points on top of that. The points will transfer almost instantly so that is a big perk of this program.

I hope you see the pattern here. If you want MAX value, you will have to stay in the AMEX family. Now, do keep in mind, you can SPEND many other types of points and FLY on Delta and earn Delta Skymiles that way. From the outstanding 40,000 point Barclaycard Arrival card to the Chase Ultimate Rewards points to US Bank FlexPerks just to name a few. But you cannot TRANSFER these points over to Delta directly like with the ones talked about above.

Skybonus is also a nice perk/program but those points CANNOT be sent to Delta Skymiles either. They can be redeemed for Delta travel perks such as free trips or upgrades and such, but Skybonus is a separate program itself, so do keep that in mind.

Either way, if you ever are confused about what points you can send to Delta, bookmark this post as a guide to remind you if you have a round on the way for April or whenever and want to make sure your choice can get you as many Skymiles as you need for that next big trip! – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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13 comments

  1. I never understood why skybonus is so separate. You should at least be able to transfer over. Just opinion.
    Thanks for the post.

  2. @Minos – simple, I take 3 trips a year to Sweden, all at low level business, and many other readers also, by reading the tips on the blog, do the same(well not to Sweden but Europe). Delta’s full flat product is one of the best as is service and Skyclubs and on and on! So, and i have done this too, sending over some MR or SPG etc can be just what is needed to get to the 100,000 point goal to book! – Rene

  3. Rene, I’m sorry if this is a little off topic, but you did mention the Amex cards. My wife recently got the Personal Reserve. She’s the type who actually reads the Cardmember Agreement. She found it says for Skymiles “Eligible purchases do NOT include:”. In the list was mentioned “Purchases or reloading of prepaid cards.” Does this mean all those Vanilla Reloads I’ve been putting into my Bluebird account won’t help? – John

  4. @johnHace – So one would think things like AMEX gift cards would not count too. But, in practice, Vanilla, gift cards, the lot, all do count. I run a TON of them each month. So far, every single one had counted fine. At this point, all is fine. But they do have an out if they ever want to change it. – Rene

  5. How often do they run those bonuses for the membership rewards transfers to skymiles? For my first churn ever (last month), one of my cards was an Amex Premier rewards card where I get 50k MR points after $1000 spend. I was stoked when I found out I could transfer 1:1 for skymiles, but now I’m even more stoked if you say they occasionally run bonuses. I’d love to turn those 50k MR points into 75k-100k skymiles (unless you know of better ways to use MR points, then I’m all ears too).

  6. @JohnHace – It all depends on how the merchant codes the sale. If they code it as “Reload or Prepaid cards”, then it won’t count. That said, most don’t do that. They just go by their more generic merchant description. If you feel concerned about it, add a few “other” items on your reload purchase, then it will code differently 😉

  7. I have a question about the American Express Gold Business Card and the American Express Premier Rewards card. I recently applied for both cards which had a signup bonus of 50,000 points each when the first $1,000.00 was spent within 3 months. I received both cards without problems, spent the $1,000.00 immediately. American express is only giving me one 50,000 signup bonus because they said “in the fine print that is all you can receive”. I never saw this information in all the travel blogs I read. I could have missed it, but I certainly would not have applied for both cards if I had known this information.

    I really do enjoy reading your blog and using the information you provide. You are a great asset to the travel points industry and certainly do appreciate everything you do! Many Thanks for your advice!

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