Rookie Wednesday: All about Delta vouchers – bumps, gift cards & more

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, CreditCards.com and others visit this page.
 
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

 

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.

etv

 

One of the best ways to fly is when someone else is paying for it. Bumpertunites, that is volunteering to give up your seat in exchange for a credit voucher, is a great way of earning “Delta Dollars” to do just that. However these, and other vouchers, come with a great deal of “rules” attached to them so we need to be aware of what kind of “funny money” we are trading in.

The next major point is we are talking rules not laws. Many of the rules are just punishing and down right wrong. There are no reasons for these rules other than to make Delta money and make it hard for you to spend your vouchers (many don’t and they just expire and Delta wins)! So much of this post will talk about ways to break or bend the Delta rules to get what you should have anyway.

First let’s talk about the simple one. Delta gift cards. These are the ones Delta STRONGLY promotes on the Delta.com web site. They do not expire. However, they are easy to lose and are not tracked on the web site. The rules say you can use up to 3 per ticket. If you are booking for two you can work it to use 3 per person and thus use 6 per ticket. How to game this one? Well Delta lets you cancel a ticket you have booked at no fee until midnight the next day. So, let’s say you have 3x$50 vouchers you got some way. You could book a ticket with these, call back and request to have it canceled and just one voucher issued for $150. You have now combined 3 tiny vouchers into one larger one and can now spend that and two more on a ticket.

The next one is a bump voucher. Back “in the day”, that is before 15DEC2011, this was an amazing product. Once you got it, it was like cash. Anyone could spend them and many were sold on EBAY for 75-90% of face value. But that was one of the reasons Delta cracked down on these. They went Draconian and said ONLY the person named on the voucher could use it and ONLY one per ticket could be used. The reality is this can be gamed. If you nicely ask and push you can use one voucher to pay for more than one person if all on the same reservation. You can also, if you push, have more than one voucher in your name applied to others who are flying with you as long as in the same reservation. This way you can use more than one voucher for your trip. I applaud reps for doing this as you are not trying to cheat the airline – just spend their funny money for a trip for you and your family and friends traveling with you. It is a rare situation you can get a rep to apply, like in the situation above, more than one voucher for a ticket for YOU and then cancel and end up with a larger voucher but it is possible to do.

Then you have canceled ticket vouchers. These can be kinda strange. You see if you have to cancel a ticket, you can always ask Delta to issue a credit voucher for you. Why in the world would you do this? Let’s say, for simple math, you have a $200 ticket that has the rules that say no changes. Delta stands firm and says NO NO NO and you will have to pay $200 to change the ticket. So there is no logical financial reason for you to pay this. You can, many times, get Delta to cancel the ticket and just give you a credit for the ticket and thus you are not simply “out” the ticket price as you are re-spending the proceeds only with Delta. These vouchers can come with rules attached that other vouchers don’t. The same thing goes for some PWM tickets from the past that have rules that do not allow earning of points but they should no longer be an issue from this point forward now that all PWMs tickets do earn points.

Lastly you have the time to spend them. Many vouchers have an expiration date of one year, that is you have one year to spend them and an additional one year to fly beyond that expiration date. Is there a way to game this? Sometimes. Let’s say you have a voucher expiring today. What you can do is book a FULLY refundable ticket with the voucher say 10 months from now. Then, when you find something you want to spend those funds on, call and say you want to cancel that refundable ticket and use the credits for this new ticket. Can things go sideways? Maybe but most times the reps will make it work.

Now for some personal thoughts. Again, we are not breaking any LAWS here. We are playing with company money where they make the rules. If they say it is OK, whoever that is at the company, it is OK. It is also mind numbingly stupid to have so many restrictive rules that punish loyal travelers trying to spend money that they have due them from issues or whatever that resulted in a credit voucher of some type being issued. Lastly the name issue. It would not be a hard fix for Delta to allow only those with the same last name to use vouchers. I mean, without pushing reps, it should be AOK for me to use a voucher in my name for my wife or kid (if I had kids that is).

Delta wants these vouchers to go unused; we want them to be redeemed and these are some ways we can get that done! Questions? Fire away – René
.

Gold-Platinum-Reserve Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Cards from American Express®
Click HERE for more info

 

 

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

 

79 comments

  1. Good Post! I find these bump vouchers a pain these days. Not being able to apply them to others and only using one per reservation is a pain. At the end of the day, we did Delta a favor by taking a bump, the lest they can do is allow us to use them to fly someone in our family!

    As they increase the restrictions, they should increase the dollar amount or let us at least use multiple credit vouchers per ticket. Right now i have a total of 7 in my account. 5 of the 7 are less than$ 75 each, change from other vouchers that might go unused.

  2. My biggest gripe against the bump voucher system is Delta’s Monetization campaign of these (similar to FCM program). Often, when a flight is heavily booked, you get a prompt at the check-in (for me on my FlyDelta app) that asks you to “bid” on a bump voucher, and of course, they take the lowest bids…

  3. Wow! You mean if I have a $250 el cheapo, non-refundable ticket with a $150 change fee, that in most cases, I can cancel the whole thing and get a $250 credit voucher? I did not know that. Maybe a good post might be for you to go over how to understand the various rules that go along with a ticket one purchases. In most cases, it is not in understandable English.

  4. @Don – NO. What I mean is you can just cancel and get a $250 credit. Then spend that later rather than just loose the ticket 100%

  5. Thanks, Rene. When does the example you give NOT work? What language should I look for in the fare rules that tell me I cannot cancel and get a credit? Thanks.

  6. My wife and I still find these useful when used properly. If I have two I can use one on her in the same reservation- per the rules no issues online. I actually took advantage of one way award tix and these vouchers to purchase two business class tickets to Mexico for less then the cost of one out of pocket – even with a one way cash ticket. In the end a minimum value we have is 400 otherwise we pass unless really having nothing to do. I hope to score the sacred 1300 one someday but best I’ve done is 800 on a single and 1000 in a single day.

  7. Two nights ago, very late, I was trying to book a MR. Got to the payment page and was desperately trying to enter more than one Delta GC. Every time I entered the second one, it deleted the first one. After 3 tries, the flights weren’t available anymore. I was kind of steamed, but I figure that MRs always come along.

  8. So we if book a random flight with the 4x $50 GCs we have for some strange reason, must we call to cancel to get this credited as a $200 voucher, or can it be cancelled online to the same effect? I have 8 of these puppies right now so I’m going to try and combine them if I can just for the sake of convenience.

  9. @Jacob – We are gaming the system so yes, book, then call, then ask for just one $150 credit when you cancel. (ie don’t TELL THEM you want to combine – just that you one a credit voucher)!

  10. We are are new to this and received $1,000 vouchers a few months ago for being bumped. We have no problem with the fact that we have to use $1,000 on one ticket (this means a return trip to Europe!). If I understand correctly, I just have to “book” and/or “redeem” the voucher within one year, not travel within one year, is that correct? We are trying to plan our trip and I sure don’t want to make a bunch of plans only to find out that all of the dates have to be changed because I have to travel by the voucher’s expiration date. Thanks!!

  11. Morning… Husband just received a $1000 voucher for volunteering his seat. That $1000 had to be used on 1 flight? Also, can he book just me a rt flight somewhere? Or can he book our family (4 total) flights together on one trip. This stuff is confusing! TIA

  12. @Ron – If you read the T&C in the “book” they printed for you, you will see you can use it for you on as many flights as you want. If you have a $100 flight, you will have $900 left to spend and so on. You must BOOK all of the voucher before 1 year from issue date but can fly 1 year after the expiration date. You can book for someone else flying with you on the exact same flights. Hope this helps!

  13. Trying to combine 4 x $50 delta gift cards- I book a ticket using 3 and then cancel it. If I cancel online, will the system spit back out 3 x $50 dollar certificates? I have to call in?

  14. @Amar – It will most times spit out one. If you call then can cancel and note the ticket then you can use that ticket number as a credit for another flight. Best to do right away aka respend it and other credits at once so you don’t forget you have the credit. Clear?

  15. Got it. I’m going to book a random flight using 3 x 50 credits, immediately cancel it online, get a voucher back for 150, and then book the ticket I really want using 1 x 50 and 1 x 150 vouchers.

    If that doesn’t work I’ll try the call route.

    Appreciate the quick follow up!!

  16. Do you get the Skymiles for purchasing Delta gift cards on Delta.com? Then when you use the gift cards towards a flight, do you get the same Skymiles that you would get if paying with Amex?

  17. @Elaine – Well sorta. If you say pay for the Delta e-Gifts with your Delta AMEX card it will code as a Delta purchase and give you 2x points.
    .
    Then, when you spend the Delta e-Gift card and take the flight you get whatever “X” per your status SkyMiles based on the MDQ price of the ticket.

  18. I’m trying to book s flight for my husband and I using the e certificates and it’s only applying to one ticket? Help! I really hate calling and would love to figure this out on my own.

  19. @Amanda – Read the T&C. They say to you OR those with you. HUCB and get a rep to apply one to you and one to those with you.

  20. I purchased two e-cred vouchers for first class tickets to anywhere in the lower 48 and Canada from a cherity auction nearly a year ago. I only have a few days to book the tickets or lose them. I was told by a Delta employee off the record that I should book the most expensive tickets I can find then cancel them and I would then have that much “money” to spend whenever I decide where I want to travel.
    Sounds great just not sure if this is worth the risk of being stuck with two first class tickets to somewhere I don’t want to go.

  21. If you book a flight with a voucher and then cancel it, can you use the credits from that to book a flight for someone else?

  22. @Liz – Maybe. It depends on the terms of the new ticket. Also, the old EXP date of the old voucher does come into play.

  23. Hi René, I was so excited to read about your “trick” to combine 3 Gift Cards for one booking and get ONE voucher issued in return when the booking is cancelled.
    Well, I went ahead, used 3 $50 Gift Cards, made a booking and cancelled some time later.
    The agent at the Diamond desk insisted on receiving all the exact numbers and redemption codes so she could send the funds back to the 3 original Gift Cards that were used.
    So I’m back to square one !

    Do you know if this loophole has been closed ?

  24. @Genise – Don’t get a refund. Get a credit for the full ticket. It will be valid for one year for future travel.

  25. @ René: Thanks for your prompt response!
    I politely asked, suggested, basically pushed several times for the credit, but no go. She insisted funds had to go back to the original sources since the cancellation was within the 24-hr cancel-period and that’s what the rules required.
    Did I just have bad luck with the agent ?

  26. @Genise – It can be a HUCB situation to get a full credit inside the 24hr window. I do not think there has been any kind of change but with SNAPP you never know.

  27. I got $800 in Delta dollars and was so excited to plan a fun international trip. Another catch to these seems to be that you can only use them on actual delta flights, not codeshare flights. Can you share the best resource to find a list of all destinations?
    Thanks!

  28. This is such a great read! Quick question: I have a voucher for volunteering to switch an overweight flight. How do I use it? Can I book a flight online and use the voucher (if so, where do I enter it in?) or do i have to go to the airport to book the flight?
    Thank you!

  29. @Brittany – Online is just fine. When you go to pay you can choose other payment and use it or start from the voucher in you MY DELTA and then look at your wallet.

  30. Maybe you have answered this question but just in case you didn’t. I received my first $800 voucher for volunteering to give up my seat. I am looking to book a flight for me and my daughter in November. Am I able to book own flights using just my voucher? Are there any blackout dates when using a voucher?

  31. Hi! I have a Delta companion voucher that will be expiring in September 2016 and have no reason to go anywhere before then. Do I have to book something AND travel before the expiration date?

    I do have a large family trip August 2017 that would be great to use it for if I can extend it that long, the only drawback is that I will be getting another companion ticket for the 2017 year. I will be traveling with multiple children on that trip so I’m curious if there is any way they would let me apply the second companion voucher onto tickets I would already be purchasing for my children? So one main ticket in my name and another main ticket in a child name and then two free.

  32. @Jessica – Yes, must complete travel by expiration date. You can name ANY two people on the planet to fly or even fly one person with two seats if you want.

  33. I have a Delta eCert (eCredit) for me and another in the name of my young son. Is it possible to transfer his into my account so that I can redeem both for a single ticket from my account without a call center fee?

  34. I have 2 vouchers from bumps. One is $1000, one has about $250 left on it after purchasing a flight. I’d like to use both of these to purchase 2 tickets for myself and my mom. I understand that as long as we are on the same reservation I can use my voucher to also buy a ticket for my mom, but will I be able to combine the vouchers to get 2 tickets, each about $625?

  35. @Cynthia – That will be hard. They will pull all they can from the big one. Then, they move on to the next one. Maybe burn most of the big one on you then the small one on mom with you and you have one left for yourself?

  36. I think I may have muddied the water when I asked my question. I started out with 2 bump vouchers, $1000 and $600. I bought 1 ticket for myself for Trip #1 (using $350, leaving $250 of the $600 voucher). Now I would like to buy 2 tickets (me and mom) for Trip #2, using up the remaining $1250. They say you can buy a ticket for someone else traveling on your same reservation. Is the issue with trying to use 2 vouchers on the same reservation?

  37. @Cynthia – There is no issue using one voucher on one person and one on another. The T&C clearly say you can do this and one per person. No problems. Do NOT let them make two itinerary’s for you. Keep them on one.

  38. So let me see if I’ve got this right. Let’s say I want to get me a ticket for $600 and mom a ticket for $600. I will have to use the $1000 voucher for one, leaving $400 to use later. I will have to use the $250 voucher on the other ticket and pay the remaining $350 out of pocket (because I can’t use the leftover $400 from the $1000 voucher)

  39. Thanks Rene. Here’s a related question. I’ve got this Delta money to burn (great problem to have). I’m open to going anywhere in the world, sky’s the limit (well, the voucher amount might limit it a little). Since you focus on Delta, are there destinations you know of that are more cost effective to fly on Delta than other airlines? Or is there a search tool that I can use to find Delta destinations within a price range? I tried the Skyscanner map, and did a search for flights under $800. It narrowed the results, but the map still seemed to be showing destinations that cost more than $800. Plus, when I clicked on the destinations with prices under my limit, I sometimes had difficulty finding the actual tickets. I also get tweet notifications from The Flight Deal so hoping some awesome Delta deal might pop up. How do I get the most out of these vouchers?

  40. @Cynthia – A fare war or deal can break out to anywhere at any time. Trying to say “go hear” it is a great deal is all but impossible. Scan the deals and pounce on one when you find it. I burn almost all mine on mileage runs and as it turns out I often bump off of those and replenish my supply that way! 😉

  41. i have about $5000 delta e gift certificates, i have been only been able to check the balance and the status says closed, please what does this mean, and please i will like to know if anybody is interested in using them for less the worth

  42. @fred – If it says closed they are spent. If they are bump vouchers only you can spend them. If they are e-Gift cards you purchased there are sites on the web to sell them if they are valid.

  43. I have credit from a cancelled/unused ticket for over $2000 to be used by March 2017. When checking online, and I think when talking to a rep, they told me that only I can use the credit – ticket only in my name. I probably have no way of using that amount (unless I book something overseas).

    Did I understand you correctly when you said that I could call Delta and ask if I can use a portion of the credit for my spouse, as long as we are on the same reservation?

    If not, what other options do you suggest?

  44. @Jim – Yes as long as you are both on the same reservation you can use for you both! If the rep says no HUCB until you get a smart one! 🙂

  45. Thanks Rene, tried 6 times so far, same answer every single time,”you can’t use credit from a cancelled ticket for anyone else than yourself”.

    I’ll keep trying…where are the smart (understanding) reps? 🙂

  46. @rene hi thanks for the great read! Is there a post or other info I can read on getting a credit for a non refundable ticket? The ticket cost me 400 (370 plus 30 for seat upgrade) of which only 14 dollars was the price of the flight and the rest were taxes. The agent told me it would cost 300 to change ticket (it’s international). Help! I need to change flight and don’t want to lose out on the 400. Would i get better service with AmEx as Delta customer service did nothing for me. Thanks in advance!

  47. @MB – You are stuck but try to HUCB until you can get a rep willing to wave fees and allow you apply what you paid to another flight or for a flight credit coupon for another flight.

  48. i used 3x$50 e-certs online and canceled 15 min later. credits came back to all 3 of the e-certs i used. not sure if i need to wait a little longer. i did book another flight and checked the balance on the e-certs and it still says $50 but it has the e-ticket information tied to it.

  49. @Chris – No. You must call and get all to one credit. They will not like it but can do it. (inside 24 hour cancel window)

  50. I apologize if this was answered already, but I can’t find it. I bought 4x$50 e-gift certificates and had them sent to myself (my own name on the e-gift card). Can I only use those for a ticket in my name, or can I give those to a family member to use? I tried to give them to a friend that had to fly to a funeral and he said they wouldn’t work on his ticket. I want to buy 4 more, but if it can only be used for the name on the e-gift card, I want to be sure I get it right. Also, are the plastic gcs the same? Thanks for your help.

  51. @Jared – Anyone can use them (up to 3x per ticket + a CC). You just send them GC code plus the extra code and they can spend them.

  52. I have the E-credit Voucher and have 5 others on my reservation.. I only see an option for me to use the e-credit next to each person on the reservation, but not on the entire reservation.. I tried applying it to another name on the reservation but it did not let me… how do I book everyone on my reservation under my e-credit??

  53. @Elliot – You can only book for 1 more with you. They must NOT be one the same reservation but MUST be on the exact same flights. You have to call. Have them wave phone fees since online will not work (ie just ask).

  54. I’ve got a electronic credit voucher for volunteering (from delta).

    I know: Delta, KLM and Air France have codeshare flights.

    Is it possible to book at Air France a flight (the flight is a Delta flight, but cheaper at AF!) and use the dollars of my electronic credit voucher?

  55. Rene, what a wonderful and thorough post. Here’s the scenario, I need to book my mother in law and my parents on a flight. My mother in law has (2) two $200 vouchers that she received from being bumped off of 2 flights last year. I called Delta and asked if i could create one reservation and use the (2) $200 vouchers to pay for the three tickets. The agent at the Diamond desk said no, it can only be applied to the named passenger, my mother in law and i cannot combine them to pay for the whole reservation. The tickets were $150 each one way, so $450 in total. I would be responsible for paying the additional $50. Since i have multiple $50 e-credits i would assume i could use one to pay the remaining balance.

    How can i use her (2) two $200 vouchers to pay for one reservation? And can i use the $50 e-credit to pay the remaining balance?

    Thanks!

  56. @Dennis – It is really hard and you may have to HUCB but I have, in the past, had Delta use two voucher on one ticket. After that I would pay with a credit card the final bits.

  57. Rene, HUCB totally worked. It also helps that i’m a Delta Diamond and have a long history with the company. Thank you!!! Tickets booked!

  58. Rene – I have a $200 remaining Delta credit on a bump voucher. It expires next month. I have no travel plans in the near future. To extend the expiry date, can I book a fully refundable ticket and then cancel it a few weeks later? Will the voucher lose any value by doing this?

  59. @Scott – It becomes a YMMV because if you try to cancel the refundable it must go back to expired voucher and is then dead (at that time). If you can instantly re-use refundable for another ticket then maybe yes they will do it. Or they will say sorry gone and then even HUCB will not work as they will have squished it. Best call book something you KNOW you will fly over next year.

  60. I Have a question, I have a $600 paper voucher for giving up my seat, can I use this voucher with a vacation package through Delta that includes a hotel stay? Wanting to go to Vegas in April for my son’s 21st birthday so I’m not sure if booking vacation voucher through Delta will include airfare AND hotel?? Please help if anybody knows

  61. One more experience for the record… I called Delta to book a flight for me + spouse + kids using a bump voucher. Each ticket was roughly $200 and I was very explicit that I only wanted to book if I could apply the entire $600 voucher (by reason of other airlines being less expensive). Long story short, the rep. took the information for every passenger, then put me on hold, then took info for one of the passengers again, then put me on hold, then came back and said the credit could only be applied to me and she had already transacted my ticket. I pushed back that the terms and conditions allow it to be applied to others on the flight, but she said the system was giving her an error and it couldn’t be done. After a bit more pushback, she said she could cancel my ticket and put the refund back on my voucher. I agreed to this. I just checked the voucher value… so far the credit hasn’t appeared (maybe it takes a day or two, similar to a credit card refund?).

    Anyone had a similar experience? Should I try again or is it a lost cause?

  62. My husband has a $1200 voucher for giving up a seat over a year ago. We had booked a new trip before it was due to expire but then that trip was cancelled due to an airport “event” that took place and the full credit was refunded back into his account (thankfully!). We asked for an extension to rebook a new trip a few months later and they have given us “45 days”. They have told us that not only do we have to book the ticket before the new expiration date, but that the entire trip must be completed and we must return home by the new expiration date as well. This seems a bit odd to me… Could this be genuinely true? It seems like we should be able to book our round trip tickets and at least leave to/begin our trip by the new expiration date, and that whenever we returned shouldn’t be a problem since there would already be a seat issued to us. I can’t imagine Delta stopping us on the day we were to fly home as if our tickets were no longer valid if it were booked/”paid” in advance of the expiration date. I hope this makes sense, hahaha! —In short; can we book a roundtrip ticket that leaves before our given expiration date, but returns after the date.—

  63. How can i transfer my sons canceled ticket voucher to my other son who flies all
    The time? Help please. They gave me a
    Corporate number to call

  64. @Kellie – Check the T&C of the credit voucher in your “My Delta” but chance you can do what you want is almost zero.

  65. Hi Rene,

    I think this was asked before, but I didn’t understand your reply fully.

    I have $500 eCredit that expires in a couple of weeks, and can’t travel before expiration date, is there anything that can be done to preserve some of the value (I’m willing to lose $200 fee)?

  66. @Sam – Officially no. Best choice is to know what you are going to fly and book that up to 1 year past the voucher EXP date. If not, you can gamble and book a fully refundable and try to use that ticket again but YMMV. If you do the latter it will NOT again NOT extend the EXP date and if you were to try to cancel the refundable and re-use it you would have to do so at the same time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *