Travel Related

A few days late, time for answers to reader questions!

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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.

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I want to apologize for being a few days behind on getting to answer reader questions but I had a really good excuse – I was busy collecting a ton of Ultimate Rewards points via shopping for gift cards at OfficeMax! 🙂

So let’s dive right in and answer your questions.

Q1&2) In a previous posting, I think you said that when one buys a first class ticket on Delta, using “Pay with Miles,” the base fare will count as MQDs. My question is, do the miles also count as MQMs? (2) What is the best way to purchase a first class ticket (using “Pay with miles”) for two people, using each person’s individual Skymiles account? Through the Web site, through our travel agent, or by calling Delta? – Geraldo

Geraldo, great questions. Yes, when you pay for a ticket with Pay with Miles, in 1st class, you will earn, MQMs, MQDs (next year) as well as Skymiles and any class of service bonus as well as I posted on Flyertalk back in April. It truly is a nice perk Delta has opened up for us to use Skymiles in this way.

As to Q2, that is up to you. I like having tickets on the same PNR if at all possible, so that can only be done if you use one Skymiles account. I would not use a travel agent as you are giving them access to your Skymiles account. It is simple for you to book yourself since any flight is wide open.

Q3) Can you explain how to use miles for MQM qualification for first class tickets as u previously mentioned. Or was it using miles that count for MQD. – G.

G, The Pay with Miles is open to anyone who has either a personal or business Delta AMEX card. All you do is book ANY 1st class Delta ticket, and when you go to pay, choose pay with miles and you will get 1 cent credit per Skymile and you will earn as talked about above.

Q4) I bought tickets after the April 2013 new SDC rules took effect which require same fare class for a confirmed (not last minute at the gate before boarding door closes) seat. Have any experience getting the platinum or diamond customer service agents to confirm you on new flight 3 or 4 hours before flight time, rather than waiting at the gate until they “officially” start clearing the standbys? – venice

Venice, if you got a ticket pre-change you can pick either the OLD rules or the NEW rules. It is up to you. Now reps may fight you on this but in that case, hang up, call back, and get one who knows what they are doing. Now a word of warning, say you DO change, reissue and want to change again – clear? – you are NOW under the new rules as the ticket was reissued under the current rules.

Q5) Rene, thanks for offering to answer questions. I am getting ready to book my first award tickets for Italy next year. I have found the flight that I want but when I go to the delta web site and put in that I want to book an award ticket that flight isn’t an option. Will I be able to get the flight I really want if I call delta directly? I did check that all segments are delta so that shouldn’t be the issue. – Kara

Kara, there are times partner flights will not show up on Air France is not showing up anywhere even for Delta reps themselves. I would call and make sure you can find a rep who knows how to search and book Alitalia space if that is what you want and if all Delta flights even less of an issue with a good rep.

Q6) Rene, my understanding is that if I use my Delta Reserve AMEX it will not count as my 25,000 spend toward mdq, I’m retired and that will make it very hard to reach That spend any ideas for me to reach the 25,000 spend? Thanks, Rene for all Your blogs as it helped me retain DM again for 2014! – Rick

Rick, keep in mind that if you meet the $25,000 spend, then MQDs do not matter at all as you are then exempt from MQDs by means of your $25,000 spend level. Having said that, the Delta “rules” as to what will count for “qualified spending” excludes a bunch of nice things. However, many of those things are not supposed to count right now for spend to get the MQM spend bonus but do so my guess is they will count next year too but we just do not know yet. So, by the 1st week of February, when my Delta AMEX statements close, I will have lots of answer for you!

Q7) Any recommendations/suggestions on booking a Round the World award ticket? – Arthur.

Arthur, sure, either get a hold of ADAM and all the stress goes away and he does the work for you for a small fee. Or, get comfy, and call Delta and ask for the “Round the World” desk and spend 3-5hrs with some very nice and helpful reps to get the job done for you.

Q8) Rene, I have a Gold SkyMiles AMEX; can I get a Reserve SkyMiles AMEX for my business and collect the bonus MQM’s and spend bonus or do I have to cancel the Gold for an entire year before applying? – Robert

Robert, you can hold both cards at once. The personal and the business are two different products. You could go (personal-biz) gold-gold, gold-plat, gold-reserve plat-gold, plat-plat, plat-reserve and so on and so on. As long as you have not had a Delta BUSINESS card for 365+ days you are good to go to get the card and the bonus points.

Q9) Can you explain, step by step, how to use/load vanilla cards, including how then to use that to pay, say, your mortgage? And, is this a viable option to get your Amex reserve card $25000 spend given the new 2014 rules? How much is the cost of loading the vanilla card? I’m sure you have a tab on your blog already so I apologize if this is a question I shouldn’t be asking because of that. – Sarah

Sarah, first no need to apologize. Happy to help all I “can” as I have some things I can only share at say a “DO”. First read the post about BlueBird. Next, once you have purchased your Vanilla Reloads with whatever card you want, you send them to BlueBird and just pay whatever, your mortgage or any other bill via the online bill pay from BlueBird just like you would any checking account via their online bill pay feature. As already talked about for 2014 we will see but my guess is yes.

Q10) Can you SDC a leg of a flight. Example MIA-LAX-SFO. could I SDC the LAX-SFO so that I could spend a few hours in LAX before going to SFO? – Noah

Noah, sure. SDC works both ways sooner or later but you can run into reps who will want you to only SDC the total trip, not once it has started. Having said that, I have done it many times so just hang up and call back till you get what you want. Keep in mind space and fare class must be there for the SDC to work

Q11) I know you can rollover any “unused” mqd’s but can you also rollover any “unused” dollars that didn’t get you to the bonus level? I.e. you have to spend $30000 to get 10000 mqds. I’ve charged close to $25000 towards that. If I don’t make that $30000, can I carryover so that I only have to spend $5000 in 2014 and I will get the mqd’s? I’m trying to decide whether to prepay insurance, etc. trying to reach that level but don’t want to waste the dollars in case i don’t get there. – Christine

Christine, I think you meant MQMs rollover as MQDs do NOT rollover as of now and they don’t really start till 2014 anyway. Now, as to spend, no, that does NOT rollover either. Basically after you hit $60,000 in spend there is NO more bonus you can earn so many times it is wise to shift your spend to another card until 01JAN the next year.

Q12) In what order does the million miler status come up during upgrade considerations. Does being a one or two million miler help at all?? – Guy

Guy, Delta million milers status has NO impact whatsoever. The ONLY perk of million miler status is that your status you get annually from having it is MQD exempt. Oh that and Delta employees know you are a million miler so you can maybe ask for things others could not get i.e. they may break rules for a MM they will not break for others.

Q13) One general “newbie” question. Would you please give us some guidelines about when to cancel the credit cards you recommend? I assume we don’t keep all of them forever once we received the bonuses. I know in many cases they have to be canceled for more than one year before we can repurchase them and therefore get the bonuses again. – Doug

Doug, this is a personal issue that is when to cancel. I never ever cancel a Chase card unless I have to have a new one approved. I may downgrade to a no annual fee card but not cancel. Really the same goes for other cards as well. Try to downgrade to a no annual fee card then you can always cancel later if need be to get another approved.

Thanks everyone for your questions and for your patience while I was out and about playing around collecting points rather than answering your questions. Got more, ask away! – René

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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. Chip Douglas Reply

    René, thanks for the great post. One question regarding getting the Delta Reserve personal card. I currently have a Delta platinum biz card and previously held a Delta platinum personal card (which I cancelled approx. 6 months ago). I am interested in the Reserve personal card if I can get the 10k MQM first purchase bonus. The terms (below) seem to imply I am eligible, but maybe I’m not reading them correctly. What do you think?

    This offer is not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any other Consumer Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card account within the last 90 days.

    • @Chip – unless it has been 365+ days you will NOT get the new card bonus. You can get the card again after 90 days but NOT the bonus! You need to wait 6 months more – sorry!

  2. Is it 365+ from date of cancellation or from the end of the billing cycle during which you cancelled?

  3. Also, care to share the details of the gift cards you were stocking up on? I have a bit more spending to do before the end of the year…

  4. Hello René, I will soon have 200K delta points, 100K in my wifes account, 100k in my own. In February we will have a baby. I was thinking of using all 200K on an international flights, and Europe seems to fit the fit the bill since I could do 2 first class tickets for 200K (though I am unsure how much the taxes and fees would be extra since we have the infant).

    First question is, do you know how to determine which routes (from washington dc) fly in planes with lie flat beds?

    Secondly do you have a suggestion for using our 200K? Really its 50K delta points each, but we also have 50K membership reward points each, so I was thinking of just using em all in one shot, since travel once we have the baby will be more difficult and pretty soon ill be cancelling my membership rewards credit card so dont want to loose those points

  5. @Jonathan – the closer you get to 01JUN2014 the better your chance to get full flat seats as after 01JUN2014 all will be full flat but the price for biz will go up to 125k round trip. To find low or saver seats you can look at E7 or or E21 to find the seats.
    Yes do NOT cancel your membership rewards before you move the points out as they will go bye bye.

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