A WARNING: AMEX Travel may be selling Delta consolidator fares!

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Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

earn an extra bonus point when flying delta if you start at amex travel

With the advent of Skymiles2015 Delta has been pushing the Delta AMEX to book to get 2x more Skymiles when buying tickets on Delta.com. I put up a post that you are missing out on an “extra” 2x points if you do that as the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold card pays you 3x on airfare and you can get an extra 1x by booking not on Delta.com but on the AMEX Travel site.

However, there are a few downsides of NOT starting at Delta.com. One is if you have to cancel inside the 24hr-ish mark and get a full refund it is free and simple at Delta.com but a small fee at AMEX Travel. Not a deal breaker but one to be aware of. As long as we are earning FULL credit for trips that is great.

We all know Delta Vacations does NOT pay MQDs as they do use consolidator fares at times to book at the lowest price. Well it seems, at least from AMEX Travel UK, this could also now be the case. Look what James e-mailed me (and told me I could post):

Hi René

Thanks for your blog; I read it every day.

I just thought your readers might like to be reminded of Delta’s “exception fares” which – even today – earn a fraction of the full mileage. I didn’t think I was a miles and points rookie, but I just got caught out with this one.

I booked a ticket (on Delta stock) via American Express Travel Service in the UK. The return fare for LBA-AMS-ATL-DFW was identical to Delta’s own fare but AMEX were running a promotion for bonus MR points so I booked via them. Both Delta and Amex were booking into V class.

I’ve just completed the outbound flights and was horrified to realize that Delta must treat these tickets as one of the “small number of unpublished fares now earn miles at a reduced rate and will not be eligible for bonus miles or MQM promotions.

I’ve booked through agents before and always received full mileage credit. It never crossed my mind that Amex [travel] would be selling these unpublished fares.

Instead of earning 11,262 MQMs / 22,524 redeemable, I’ll end up with just 2,710 MQMs / redeemable. I’m gutted!! It means I can almost certainly kiss good-bye to Gold Medallion status next year.

I don’t know how you’re supposed to tell which agent is selling these unpublished fares – they carry the same booking class letters as Delta’s own. This has made me seriously start to consider a status match to another airline…

Best wishes – James

YIKES! This could be really BAD news kids. But I need more data points. I have talked to many many many flyers who have booked at the USA AMEX Travel site and get full credit as well as using the Ultimate Rewards site to book Delta and got full credit across the board. Have you ever on any of these sites, booking Delta tickets, NOT got full credit you were expecting? What about travel agents or other portals? Please comment and let me and all of us know. – René

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  1. Rene,

    Did the person also book a car or hotel with the flights at the same time? Anecdotal evidence suggests this can cause an issue with OTA’s here in the states. I’ve read several posts on FT where people got the reduced earning but they also had booked a “package” deal with a hotel and/or car. Might be good to follow up.

  2. As a different data point, I got Delta to waive the $200 change fee this morning. I booked the flight over the wrong weekend with a companion pass. So I only had to pay the fare price change on the primary ticket.

  3. @Mel – a very useful point as if we do book directly at Delta.com they are more apt to be at least willing to wave a fee if we ask or ask enough. Txs Mel – Rene

  4. James,

    That is frustrating to hear for sure then. Hopefully it is just a one off bad situation. With gold status you could try and push for full credit, especially if you have documentation showing the fare codes matched exactly.

    On a side note this process shouldn’t be so opaque, it lends itself to bad things for both the consumer and company in the long run.


    Great blog! Thanks for all the work.

  5. @James did you raise this with Delta? I would hope that showing that it was not discounted compared to the Delta fare and there was noting identifying the ticket’s fare code as a consolidator fare would be an unfair business practice and will put your relationship with Delta in jeopardy, they may do something.


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