I am in love. Now wait I know what you are thinking and just give me a second. I am not talking about my adorable bride of 30 years! No, I am talking about my 2nd love. OK, well maybe 3 or 4th love! Anyway…
What I am babbling on about is how amazingly simple it is, today, to burn points from so many sweet programs that are simple to earn points on to fly Delta as a “cash” or paid ticket. Just think about this list of cards I hold in my wallet right now and all of them can earn you full Delta points when you spend them on Delta tickets:
- US Bank FlexPerks points <-LINK
- Barclays Arrial+ points <-LINK
- City National Bank points <-LINK
…and I could go on and on and on. The point is, it is simply dizzying the amount of points you can now use to simply “pay” for a ticket. You may say “so what”? Let’s dive deeper as the Delta CEO is fond of saying (just in regard to another issue for another post). 😉
The first points, i.e. Membership Rewards, spent when you hold the AMEX Business Platinum card (if you don’t hold this card, you just don’t get how valuable this is), is one of the most amazing programs ever for those who choose Delta as their preferred airline. Getting 50%, yes HALF, of your points back when you book a trip is just spectacular. I stand by my post that these points alone have destroyed Delta SkyMiles award tickets and one day Delta will wake up to this. Let’s move on.
Like any 3rd party points, as long as you work hard to avoid evil BASIC E class fares with Delta, you can spend points you likely earned very cheaply and can fly Delta and enjoy all the perks just like you paid with any other credit card for your flights. I can “make” Chase UR points from cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card that I have earned for almost nothing and enjoy spending them in all kinds of ways including tickets flying Delta.
Then we have US Bank FlexPerks. While these can be frustrating to spend (in a simple way) when you consider that I can earn them for either nothing or for at most 25% of retail to buy Delta tickets and qualify for upgrades and earn full points (as long as you avoid BASIC fares) is just stunning. Oh, and don’t forget I buy a $50 Delta e-Gift card each flight and then call them and get credit for my “incidentals” when I am flying on a FlexPerks ticket. I just love these so much!
It does not get more simple than Barclays Arrival+ points. Not only do you have “true” chip-N-pin for use around the world in automated machines (that works, btw) but charge just about anything travel and then you have 3 months to make the points to pay it back (as long as it is over $100). Again, super simple. I do this!
CNB points are worth about ~1.2 cents each when burning on Delta tickets. Maybe not the best value out of this prestigious group but they have nice bonus offers for spend and this works when I need them to.
Lastly in this list SkyMiles. Being a Delta AMEX card holder I can use PWM or Pay With Miles and earn MQMs for my flights even if I pay for the ticket 100% with SkyMiles. Considering how utterly brutal Delta has been recently slashing the value of SkyMiles this is a feature I have used now and then (but still mostly burn them for business class awards).
So there you are. Clearly I am focused on retaining my Delta elite status. I like buying tickets vs. just awards tickets as when you buy them, even with the points above, you can qualify for upgrades (as long as you avoid BASIC E fares), earn SkyMiles (other than PWM tickets) and all of the above earn 100% MQM elite qualifying points for flying as far as you can. Sweet!
See why I am in love? – René