Delta Points answers some readers’ questions ☺ part one

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I really need to every now and then have an “OPEN” Monday to see what is on readers minds. I mean I enjoy sharing what is in my head, but let’s see what is in yours.

John asks: Rene, my wife has a Delta Reserve Personal and I have a Reserve Business. We will spend at least $60K on each giving us each 40K MQM’s[10k new card bonus+30k for spend]. With our flying, I know we’ll both make GM. But, if I understand it, she could gift me some MQM’s and I could make PM and gift her Silver. The question, which is better for two spouses always traveling together: one PM and one FO or is two GM’s better? Also, you mention in this blog that you have two Reserve cards. I thought you once said you have one and your wife has one and you swap about each year. Doesn’t having two Reserve’s mean you will have to go a year with no Reserve or do without the 10K bonus. Thanks.

What a great question(s) John. As you know and talked about, when you have NOT had a Delta Gold, Platinum or Reserve for 365 days, you are eligible to get 10,000 MQM’s when going for the Delta Reserve card (either the  personal  or  business  one). The welcome bonus MUST go to the card holder per the T&C but the bonus, once you spend $30,000 by 31DEC each year, you can send to ANYONE you want who has a Skymiles account.

Also, as you point out John, in the past, I have sent my wife MQM’s or the other way around. This year, and for our current circumstances, just I have Delta AMEX cards (my wife is waiting time period). I suggest for most to consider what cards to HOLD, that is, maybe hold the personal and then next year, hold the business and so on and so on. Now you can tweak this. I tend to work this way. I keep my business Reserve just about forever since they send me so many retention points each year. Plus I have a HUGE credit line on it. I then dump the personal now and then, wait 365 days, and then get it again. This year, I will spend on the two cards enough to get 60,000 MQM’s plus I got and rolled over the 10k from last year when I got the card!

On to your last question. By my making Diamond I can gift my wife Gold Medallion (GM). This is a big step as Skymiles tickets can get upgrades with GM but not when FO (Silver). We can drop down to her level for the upgrade list or split the PNR (person number record or your ticket locator number) and then I will upgrade and she may not (oh she gets the nice seat and I go back to coach)! So up to you if you want to BOTH be GM or gift her FO when you make PM. Depends on how you fly. Do keep in mind that PM get FREE changes to award tickets. This is a HUGE perk I always want to have. Hope this helps!

Andrew asks: What is your favorite Delta Terminal? Favorite Delta lounge? Favorite restaurant and/or place to visit in a Delta Terminal worldwide and at Detroit Metro?

HA! The ones I can get into (ugg – txs KLM). This really is a fun question. As far as a favorite terminal, it has to be the new F in ATL. I am not a big fan of the B/C side one in DTW. It seems to always get very full but is nice when you need to jump on a regional jet. The main one in A in the middle is nice and most times you can find a quiet spot (just above the entrance doors for example) and they have the showers. But, the “wing” clubs at the ends of “A” are often less crowded so if the main one is really full, just jump on the people mover as they dump out right at the clubs. As to restaurants I need to explore more. I just spend too much time in the clubs to try them all. 🙂

Sidd asks: When is the best time to do a mileage run? In the week or weekend? And what is really worth spending for a mileage run? Thanks

I am struggling how to answer this question because so much goes into the answer. What are you looking for? Are you a lower medallion and want the best upgrade shots, then you need to look at THIS post for your answer. Do you work M-F 9-5, then clearly you want to stick to weekends. For me, and again just me, I have week days that are the best for me as my weekends are very full. I also will some days pick flights that cost more or less so I have more or less time in some city. For example, I may want 3 hrs in ATL or LAX or SFO or DTW for a quick trip to dinner or a shower in the Skyclub.

As to your last question, what is a run worth? Before anyone gets their feathers “all a flustered”, understand that even doing a MR is a bit crazy. Flying just to fly? Really? But there is more to it than that. I enjoy flying. As a high level medallion I will get a bunch of upgrades. Free food and drinks on the planes. I can work with GoGo WiFi (discounted from Delta.com web site for Delta ONLY use). I get to spend some time with friends along the way. I get to have dinner 5000 miles from my home. This is the non-tangible fun “worth” of a run. Now worth in value; again, this is to me and it will differ from persona to person. For 2013 I will spend under $2000 all-in for all my runs. Most of that was with my own money. I will earn well over 100,000 Skymiles from the runs. So, I am basically buying a business class ticket to Sweden to see my mom for $2000 (well that and a bunch of days of my year on Delta jets). I will get top status with Delta until FEB2015 and have a great head start on my status until FEB2016. I will be able to gift my wife GM status. I will undoubtedly get a few bumps and ETV’s for next year’s runs or positioning flights. I will have lots to blog about and keep my finger on the pulse of Delta. I will have fun! All this has value to me. You pick what if any of this is of value to you!

Kevin asks: Recent international travel gave me a wake up call with my Delta Reserve Amex card in the way of fees….2.7% surcharge. (Ouch after paying hefty annual fee too) I have a Platinum as well and should have used that, as instructed by the Amex contact who could do nothing about the foreign fees. I see you recommend many cards, if you picked one that had no foreign fees from V or MC, while still building travel rewards usable with Delta which one would you go with? Personal or business, new churn to do. Thanks

Oh you know how to make me mad. It makes me CRAZY that all the Delta cards up-charge you on international transactions. My solution is simple. I would use the   Chase INK BOLD   or my  Chase INK Plus, or as a fall back,  the  Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card  since they DO NOT charge international transaction fee’s and Ultimate Rewards points can be used for so much including buying Delta tickets! Depending on how good a flight deal you get (CPM cost per mile) you can, with Diamond Medallion status, trade UR points for Skymiles (if that is what you want to do) via flying and earning points.

So there are a few Q&A for today. I will have more later on and thanks again for all the great Delta questions – René

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11 comments

  1. Rene’ – you should correct the first question – spend $60k on the DL Reserve & you get 30k MQMs, not 40k.

  2. @Mark – no the info and question is correct just maybe worded badly. If you DO NOT have the card, and get it NOW, you get 10k bonus for 1st purchase, then, if you spend $60,000 before 31DEC this year, another 30k MQM. So, the total is 40k. I did add brackets and made it more clear. Txs – Rene

  3. I have a question. Is there any way to get a refund if I purchase an EC seat during booking and then 2 weeks prior to the flight (1 week after booking) switch to a regular seat?

  4. Regarding the foreign fees, the AMEX Platinum not only has no f/x fees, they rebate up to $200.00 in airline fees per year. Just booked award tickets to Brazil and got hit with $183.00 fees and taxes for three tickets — all refunded by AMEX. Nice start to recovering the hefty $450.00/year card fee. But free access to lounges is a huge plus!

  5. HI Rene- this is another very helpful post. Your comments with regards to the first question have me thinking. I’d like to learn more about how to transfer MQM’s between accounts. Is this something specific to Delta Reserve card holders? Is there somewhere I can look for more specifics?

  6. Hi Rene, does Delta allow upgrades on international award tickets?

    Are there other major airlines that do?

  7. @Deltaflyer – Sorta but really NO. If you are a medallion, on an coach award ticket, and they have oversold coach, you may get an upgrade. There are SWU, system wide upgrade, certs but you must pay for the ticket. Bottom line, for Delta and others, just book business class with your Skymiles.

  8. Booking (revenue) flights with UR is poor value in my opinion. Best uses of UR are transfer to Hyatt and United.

  9. @M – it depends. Let’s say you can book a mileage run that nets you 5000 MQM’s. As a DM you would earn a 125% bonus on RDM’s. So, you would earn 11,250 Skymiles. Now, say the ticket all in cost you $150. That would take 12,000 Ultimate rewards points to book. As you can see, you are almost trading even for even plus earning MQM’s on top of that. Again, not saying this is the BEST BEST BEST way to spend UR points, just that you can just about trade even for even if you are DM with Delta.

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