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Just when you think you have covered all the Delta Q&A – think again!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I thought Monday’s post would cover just about all the common questions I seem to often get via e-mail. Little did I see that this would spur a bunch more. So, let’s again try to knock out all the new round of “common” questions (at least now I will have a few good posts to send links to reference so thanks and please keep these question coming – they are great)!

Q/S) I have the Delta (Gold/Platinum/Reserve) card so I get a bag free. I booked an award ticket for my mom and they made her pay for her checked bag – it should have been free right?!
A) She should have paid, sorry. It seems bag fees questions never end. With the Delta AMEX card the up to 9 free bags (you+8 more traveling with you) you must be in the group. The fact that the points came from your Skymiles account is fine, but unless you are on the plane too the others have to pay for their own bags (unless they have their own Delta AMEX card that is).

Q/S) When buying my ticket Delta asked me about award booster to get extra Skymiles for my trip. I do need a few more for an award. Is this a good deal?
A) Almost NEVER! The cost is way too high per point. Having said that, if you cannot get points the other simple way with say a Delta AMEX or the so many other ways to get points, then for say 1000 or so it may work out to get you over the top. Just understand you are way over paying for these points.

Q/S) I am on a non-award ticket, should I split the revenue ticket for a better chance at an upgrade?
A) Maybe but if you do, depending on your partner’s status, one of you may have no shot at an upgrade. What do I mean? Say you are a Platinum Medallion and your partner has no status at all. On a paid ticket, you both, if on the same reservation, have a chance at the 24 hr window to upgrade. But, if you split, you have a chance at the 5 day window all the way until flight and that may work better, but then your partner is stuck in coach (or if you are nice you give then your seat and you ride in back 🙂 ). [edit: reader reports you can still request partner upgrade after split; I have had issues doing it this way in the past but at least know it is possible] Also, just since we are talking splits, on an award under the above condition it could be a good idea to split as you must both be GM+ to have any chance at an upgrade.

Q/S) Can you please tell me how to do a mileage run HUB city like MSP, DTW, ATL? There never seem to be any good deals.
A) I wish I had a penny for each time I got this question. The simple answer is it DOES NOT MATTER where you live. I live in South Bend Indiana. It is $400 to fly anywhere and much much more to start a mileage run from South Bend. You know what, I don’t care. When a good run comes up I book it back to back days! I then, before my 24 hr cancellation window is closed, try to find a way to get from where I live (or for you HUB people from your HUB) to the start city. That is why you should get and USE now and then cards like the Barclays Arrival World Mastercard or the US BANK FlexPerks card (or like me have both) as you can then use these points to not just get you to your start city but also earn miles along the way but not cost you “real” money!

Q/S) Can a medallion help book (i.e. use the elite line) and then book for someone else with THEIR points not the elite’s to get faster/better help?
A) Yes, but don’t abuse this. The elite line, in my experience, has no problem taking the time to book for say your mom or dad or brother or sister. Just be smart about this. While we are talking about this I will knock out another one related to this one.

Q/S) When I log in as an elite I see low level seats but when I go back under my dad’s Skymiles account they are all mid and high award levels. Can I hold them under my account and then call in and book them from their account?
A) Oh such a nice try but no. Elites have greater access to low level awards. Also, holders of the Delta AMEX cards have greater access to low level awards. As soon as your dad’s Skymiles account gets into the mix either or both of these will not apply and the award space will be on their terms not yours. As I talked about in Monday’s Q&A have them consider getting a Delta AMEX and then use pay with miles as an option if the price is right.

Q/S) I was able to get a mixed award ticket coach and business to Europe all at low level (business over the water so it worked out to 100k). But, some of the legs in Europe were coach. Can I, after I book, change those award legs from coach to business class?
A) PM & DM can change all they want free up to 72 hrs before flight so sure just keep checking now and then to see if any part of the trip opens up in business. On a schedule change, on the Delta metal parts, say you were in coach to start from your city to the city you depart from over the water, you should be able to request that one in business and award space should no longer be an issue due to the schedule change. However, no matter what happens, low level space must be open on the partner airlines for you to get those seats even under schedule change issues.

Q/S) I am sick of never being able to use my Skymiles (SkyPesos, SkyPiles, DieMiles)! There are never any seats and I have a ton of points, 55,000! Is there anything good in the Skymiles Marketplace to buy to cash out and be done!
A) OK deep breath. Again, you need to read the E7 post in the Essentials tab. Next, if it is just too much work, please e-mail ADAM and for his fee you will at least get real value from your Skymiles. If you just don’t want to do that then there can be some value in the Skymiles Marketplace. Look at hotel rooms or car rental. You can, with just a little work, get close to 1 cent per point value. Also look at spending your points at 1 cent each to just buy a ticket. I value my Skymiles at near 2 cents each so I would not do this often. But if you want out, at least get a decent return as you burn them please. (btw 55k is not a ton of points, I am still over 2 million on all programs and desperately trying to spend down under 1 million but there seem to be too many good credit card offers)!

Phew. I think that does it (until I get like another 10 🙂 ). No seriously, if I have not covered a topic you want to know about feel free to comment below (click the word comments and scroll down) or if you have a follow-up question to the above ones. – René


PS – I am doing my best to keep up with e-Mails but am behind.

If I don’t get to you, feel free to e-Mail me again please!

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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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Not sure much a question but I wouldn’t mind seeing a post on booking flights on some if the more obscure Skyteamers with DL miles, like Korean Air and AeroMexico for instance.

  2. On question three, that’s not right. If you’re traveling to the same destination on the same flight, even if on separate PNRs, you can request a companion upgrade.

    I’ve done it with my wife and a business colleague. Wife PVR-MSP (which was a voluntary split so one of us would get upgraded) and colleague MSP-AUS when I saw that F was going to go out with empty seats.

    • @jonathan – I will update but have you never had issues with this? I have had agents say you must be on the same PNR.

  3. Question within a question – if SkyMiles AmEx holders have better access to low-level seats, is that scaled to the card type as it is for Medallion status? (i.e., does a Platinum card get better access than Gold, or Reserve better than Plat?)

  4. @Rene

    I’m three for three with it. I haven’t always gotten the upgrade, but it’s shown up fine in the online reservation.

  5. I received an offer from Delta about Suntrust debit card. when I loked at this offer before when they only paid 0.5/$ spent. I see it is now 1mile/$ spent. With Bluebird and Vanilla debit is it worth looking at?

    • @Craig – yes it can be but not a great win as you are paying 8/10% Vanilla fee to gain each Skymile. Depends on what you value a Skymile. If 2 cents then real value.

  6. Please let people know that the spending limit for 30,000 award miles on AMEX must be completed within 92 days from the time they approve you not when you receive the card. It is in fine print with asterisk, but I feel AMEX [edit] me out of the 30,000 as I was within the 3 months from when I received the card. So AMEX can send the card 85 days after approval according to them. I received my car 4 March and completed the spending 31 May.

  7. Rene, I have maxed my spend for MQM’s on my Delta Amex Reserve and have 40K MQM’s. I have heard I can downgrade to a Platinum card and spend $50K more and get another 20K MQM’s this year. Is this correct and what are the issues for this and next year churn?

  8. I have a Suntrust debit card and my spending gets transferred 1 point/$1. I go to Walmart every payday and load $1000. Easiest way ever!

    My question, Rene, is that I went to find the “low level” awards for a summer flight. I’ve had Amex Delta card since May 1 and I see no difference in points (40K for SLC-GSO). The card is registered on my Skymiles acct. Am I missing something?

    • @Nanacy – as you see on the post the card is only one part of the mix. Status also plays a part. The see the E7 posts in the Essentials tab for more help.

  9. Here’s a question, i thought domestic awards at lo/med/hi were 25/32.5/40 but I just came across some economy class high-level tickets at 60. What gives?

  10. @sonyagenius Reply

    Ditto DBest…I am currently located in Manila. Not only can I not book through the Delta website, but I have to cross-reference the partner site and the Delta site to see if I’ll get any MQM’s. Or I have to go to the skyteam site to see which possible route I can take. Why can’t I just book a flight through the Skyteam site and have them tell me what amount of delta points I will receive? There has to be a better way.

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