Back to SWAG Saturday: Over $100 worth of travel stuff this week!

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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.

lots of swag delta points blog swag saturday giveaway

Time to get back to our good ol’ weekly giveaway. This week I am giving away a bunch of travel stuff I think you will like. All of these things I use from an auto/airplane power inverter plus a 10,000mAh power brick (& a tiny spare 2600mAh one just in case). So what do I want from you for a chance to win?

First, back to the rules that are HERE if you have never ever seen them read them please. Now to what you need to do to qualify to win.

dl points rookie

After 75 weeks of  “Rookie Wednesday”  posts I want to help with ideas you would like to see covered. If you answer one of the topics I have already covered, you cannot win so please come up with something I have not talked about yet for a shot at the great travel swag up for grabs this week. That’s it – have fun! – René

Gold-Platinum-Reserve Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Cards from American Express®
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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. I saw that you covered a few baggage issues, but I didn’t see any baggage recommendations for rookies. Given united’s change of policy and enforcement recently, this may hit delta soon as well. Maybe give your thoughts on which bags are best and also share your experiences about which delta planes/routes tend to fill up fill up the overhead space, and which ones always seem to have enough overhead space.

  2. MSPDeltaDude Reply

    This one was missed in post #37 and currently isn’t active, but I would assume the Hilton/MQM promo will comeback again this fall/winter and you could get write up ready for when it’s released.

  3. I want to better know how to book Virgin to Australia using skymiles.

  4. When I get delta tickets I usually get the linked hertz car rental. Is this a good deal or not? Could you help a rookie out?

  5. Help with making minimum spending requirements for “bonus” miles.

  6. iwantmoremiles Reply

    Besides flying and using credits cards, what other opportunities are there to earn skymiles? I am thinking of things such as investing at Fidelity or getting a debit card.

  7. Marilyn schmugar Reply

    When you MUST take too many or overweight bags, what alternatives are available at or near most airports to ship them home for less than the airlines charge?

  8. I beleive you have both a business and personal Delta card for MQM’s and to waive the MQD. That’s a lot of spend do you use MS or spend that much money. Is it a combination of the two? Plus with other cards is that all MS to make spend. I know your computer business helps but that’s still a lot of spend or you really have a large job between the two.

  9. I would like to see a good discussion of how to keep all of my travel deals organized so that I can prioritize the best airline, hotel, credit card, portals, points, etc. I have so many “schemes” for earning points or $ back or free flights or free nights, that it can be overwhelming. I want my travel to be relaxing, but sometimes this all starts to feel like a lot of work!

  10. When I was a rookie I could’ve used some practical advice on how to pack for the planes I was flying. I hit CRJ’s a lot, and while the Delta website says a certain size carry-on is approved, not so on regionals, so I had to gate valet check, which meant my 35min connection could get really tight. Knowing what I do now, when my first carry-on gave up the ghost (mostly from handlers chucking it off a jet bridge into the plane), I reworked my entire packing strategy and got a bag that fits every where (even in a CRJ).
    So, my idea for a post would be, “what size bag fits where, how, and examples”

    Thanks for the great content!

  11. Michael H.(oldfox) Reply

    Would love some NEW and SIMPLE ways to meet minimum spending requirements other than reloads and Bluebird. I am blocked from getting that famous Bluebird card. Am tired of the same techniques.

  12. GetToThePoints Reply

    A matrix showing extra available benefits of the various programs and the spend to get there

  13. A breakdown from plane to plane where the really good seats are based on flyer feedback. Example, a747 on an international flight, the bulkhead is not the best due to a single pouch for storage for all 3 seats and limited seat width from the stowed video monitor. Tips like that are helpful for picking the best seat.

  14. I recently rented a car and to get the miles they charge you an extra 7.5% to cover their purchase of the miles. How about covering some of the hidden charges that pop up with various partners or how to get around them.

  15. How about what can’t a gate agent or Sky Club agent do that requires a Red Coat to do? This seems to have changed recently with IROPs.

  16. I would like to see you talk about what a traveler can and should do when you are treated poorly by Delta employees…Some of these people need to find employment in a closet, rather than on the front lines of an airline!!!

  17. I still have problems getting the most for my miles when it comes to international travel.

  18. I like your blog but want to know alternative ways that are good to gain points that are not driven by getting a credit card. not all of us have excellent credit right now.

  19. I would be interested in knowing how often Medallion members get complimentary upgrades per Delta’s upgrade schedule:

    Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades (Discounted Fares)
    Silver: 1 Day
    Gold: 3 Days
    Platinum: 5 Days
    Diamond: 5 Days with Priority

    I’m a PM and rarely do my upgrades clear at the 5 day mark.

  20. Nishanth Ch Reply

    Way to get past airport security quickly for non-residents/citizens. We don’t get to use PreCheck 🙁

  21. Comparison of spend requirements between United and delta and hope to most effectively meet them

  22. One thing I’ve learned the hard way was what planes to really care about the size of your carry on. No where is there info about the sizes of the overheads. This only comes from experience and other travelers.

  23. Is it ever worth it to buy the extra miles that Delta offers on flights?

  24. I hope delta monitors your blog to see what needs to improve their service to the public.

  25. Any insight as to one way awards and will they be still 12.5K for one ways and/or will availability be limited for one ways rewards.

  26. Let everyone know that the spend amount you see on the AMEX site for your Delta card is for Delta spend and not how much you have sent for the MQM/miles level. I showed over 27k on spend on my Platinum card but it was really just less than 25k by AMEX. I have since upgraded to the Reserve card.

  27. My husband and I have racked up quite a few miles because we end up buying tickets instead of using our miles trying to keep our status every year. One day we hope to take a Delta Round the World Award trip. Can you give us any hints or tricks on that? I’ve looked into it a bit and finding flights is overwhelming!

    And thanks again for all you do. Your blog is AMAZING!

  28. How to ensure that miles flown with a Delta partner will – in fact – BE credited to your Delta account.

  29. I would like to see you cover the best scenarios to use the Pay with Miles option where you still get miles and MODs. Also tips for booking seats on code-share flights on Virgin Atlantic coded Delta.

  30. Transferring Chase UR points to Amtrak to ride the overnight Coast Starlight Express.

  31. What’s the best day of the week/time to book a flight in order to get the vest prices?

  32. Wow, reading through the list of 75 items you have covered, you have not left many stones unturned! Impressive.

    Since I would like to have a valid entry in the drawing, I will suggest this: how to use points or miles for free cruises. You could’ve talked about it and rookie Wednesday number 31, about ultimate rewards points, but you didn’t. For me, cruises are by far the best use of UR points! When it comes to cruises, different travel agencies can offer different “perks” but the price is supposed to be the same, so UR works great.

  33. whether it ever makes sense to book a car and/or hotel at the same time you book a delta flight

  34. who knows the delta email address to which to send mileage credit requests, including partner-flown segments? i do!

  35. “Sweet Spots” (if there are any left) in the award charts for various alliances.

  36. If I’m not going to use or a travel agent, what website do you like to airline comparison shopping? Kayak? Etc..

  37. Rene, very nice swag this week. I would like more rental car alliance blogging. Also, more “in flight essentials” from fellow DP members. What are the must haves i.e. Bose headphones, pillows, electronic devices, apps etc.

    As an example I love gate guru to help me find food in airports I rarely travel. Due to the low quality, price etc the reviews and breakdown by terminal on GG app really help.

  38. I wonder if the Medallion Baggage Tags Delta sends out have value. I mean, the new Silver tags just received have no identifying info (name, #) at all. Wondering what’s the point of using them?

  39. Could you address the problem of not being able to earn airline miles on some routes offered by Delta’s partners? So frustrating! Thank you!!!!!!

  40. dotti cahill Reply

    How to deal with getting airline tix thru amex membership rewards portal.. It seems you do not get all of the flights as you would if used but will get more miles???

  41. SkilledTravel Reply

    When applying for a Delta Amex is it best to start at Gold and upgrade to Platinum and then reserve? Or should you just get the Reserve immediately?

  42. Terry O'Reilly Reply

    How about an article on the “special services” that redcoats can provide to you?

  43. Two ideas I didn’t see in the list. First, any tips involving contacting Delta about Skymiles that didn’t post after your trip. Second, if there are tips regarding taking bumps because of an oversold situation (when is the deal good, are there rules about overnight stays or significant delays, etc). Hope these help!

  44. Matt Brannon Reply

    What are the best ways to build up miles, excluding flying? Which partner programs are worth the effort and cost, just to get the benefit of miles?

  45. I want to know how to be a rookie at the October conference in Chicago without looking like a rookie. I registered and have booked a room down the street at my loyalty hotel. I am having second thoughts because I would be attending by myself and I’m not sure what to expect, etc. You may not have too many rookies there but it might be interesting to see a post to entice more rookies to attend in the future.

  46. I think some information of how the new Skymiles guidelines could impact rookies would be useful.

  47. More tips on how to get the best deals on award tickets can never go amiss.

  48. What about the advantages–and significant savings–that can be had in Europe by purchasing open-jaw tickets on Delta and then using various national (i.e., non-Delta) airlines for the connections? I saved over $200 on a one-way Amsterdam to London hop on British Airways instead of Delta ($109 vs $367) and a friend saved well over $1000 by following that with London-Athens on Olympic rather than continuing on on Delta. We located the cheaper national flights quite easily by using We are both using Delta for our respective flights home to the US. I do not recall this strategy having been mentioned before–tremendously helpful though this blog always is!

  49. Luke Coyne Reply

    What’s the best site (since no look for tickets cheap or to get the most bonus points?

  50. Why not cover tracking your miles and points including the Delta “work around” for Award Wallet?

  51. Ron Harvey Reply

    My suggested topic is: Since the CVS option is no longer available, what is the best (safest) way for manufactured spend?
    Looking forward to October!!

  52. I’d like to offer a suggestion for the Rookie Wednesday posts, in order to enter the drawing for Swag. One thing I find indispensable for travel is the app (for smartphones, tablets, and OSX) called 1Password. It keeps all my credit card and other wallet information together with passwords for each website I use and has a great password generator feature as well. No need to photocopy cards etc with this handy app.

  53. Bernard Levinson Reply

    Pushing back against Delta Reserve changes

    I would like to see some guidance on how to push back against Delta Reserve regarding the changes they introduced, and in particular the major reduction in the benefit of lounge access, now restricting it to card holder alone. I would think that there should be some way of communicating the unfair nature of that change.

  54. Denise Harja Reply

    A post on your “must have” electronic devices to carry on with you and would love a discussion on best noise canceling headphones vs in-ear buds. What’s in your carry-on that allows you to go for all those “voucher collecting” bumps?

  55. Not really a points-topic, but one for rookie travelers: how to request a special meal. Some peeps aren’t even aware that there is an entire menu of special meals available (on flights serving food – usually limited to TPAC or TATL.

    My favorite reason to do it? You get your meal first (so it is piping hot), and I usually finished before my seatmates get theirs, meaning (1) i can get an extra refill of my whiskey or wine or bourbon when my neighbors get their drink service (I get a drink ordered when my food first comes), and (2) while all my neighbors are eating, the lavatory is usually vacant with no line, so I can do anything that needs to be done without being rushed.

  56. How to ask out a cute Delta Flight attendant without coming across as a tool? 🙂

  57. Mrs. Brewin Reply

    I’d like to see how to choose your seat on international code shares. So many times I have booked on KE and does not allow seat selection. Delta 800 numbers says to call KE, KE 800 number says to call Delta. I end up in the back middle.

  58. I’d love some tips for getting the best flight deal without points.

  59. Since Delta does not yet have one way awards, how can you protect the perfect outbound flight (found at a low mileage level) to Australia until you are 360 days out from the date of desired return and able to try to book the return flights? I am not at a medallion level where I will be able to cancel and re-book for free. In days of yore (without any medallion level whatsoever), AA reservation agents would protect the outbound portion of a flight to Europe for me until it was time to book the return leg of the award trip. What is the strategy nowadays?

  60. Steve Collins Reply

    Best webpages to find deals use (other than this great one)

  61. Hidden “gems” in certain airports such as …
    hotels located at the airport or places to sleep
    Places where pets can go potty
    Best Places to eat/Drink
    Any unique finds (stores, places to eat, hang out etc)

  62. So many tips seem to require a lot of credit or capital to lay out, even if only short term. 25K spend per person to get around MQDs. Or $5K spend in 3 months to get a CC bonus. Or 60K spend in a year to get MQMs.

    Well, what about people who don’t spend even 25K all year? Any ways to join the party?

  63. Do you have advice on how to deal with fellow passengers who are being inconsiderate? What is the best way to get them to modify their behavior?

  64. What happens to miles if we cancel a reservation that was purchased with miles?

  65. I would actually cover leveraging airport programs to earn even more miles (While small on earning compared to all the other main ones, extra miles are extra miles)

  66. I think you are doing a great job with Rookie Wednesday. It seems you read my mind when I have a question, so so far, so good!

  67. How about a discussion of when to seek out a Redcoat or use the gate agent. What can each of them do or not do for you.

  68. An in depth discussion on the ins and outs of booking an “Around the World” ticket in Business/First using Sky miles.

  69. christopher Reply

    alternative ways to ship/send overweight bags when you’re moving from a city to another

  70. I would like to see a thorough blog post covering getting desirable seating assignments on delta’s international partner airlines.

  71. An Excel sheet that list airline & routing options based on departure city and destination ( with required miles ).

  72. How to get the best value when redeeming miles/points with various programs. Both for Delta (Pay with Points vs. Award Travel) as well as Amex Membership Rewards, Barclay Arrival, US Bank FlexPerks, Chase Ultimate Rewards, apital One Venture. Thanks for helping all of us out!

  73. Info on how to find good (safe!) low cost carriers to book connecting flights overseas. It seems that I am able to find award flights to “near” my desired destination, just need to add a leg.

  74. Tips for flying with Skyteam partners (crediting points, upgrades, award tix, lounge access, etc.)

  75. I would be interested in your ideas (forecast) for the best ways to leverage BB accounts now that CVS will no longer accept credit cards. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the various options depending on which cards one has, how close one is to a Walmart, etc?

  76. How about some ideas for travel to places that Delta serves but we might not think about.

  77. I wanted to know why seats can be changed so drastically on equipment change and how to get your seat back! I lost an aisle econ comfort and ended up 10 rows back in the middle all in the span of 3 hours!

  78. Phil Davis Reply

    I would like to know if it is possible to have a Delta Reserve Business card if one is not self employed? The MQMs are nice bonus and I already have a personal Delta Reserve card. Twice the MQMs per year would be great if I can meet the spending requirements.

  79. Don in ATL Reply

    You have done a bunch of posts about how to do a MR. I understand how to use the ITA Matrix Search engine. But I’m still mystified as to how you hone in on a city pair that is a good (less than 4 CPM) MR. Do you start with one DL city (say BOS), then do every single possible place one could fly to on DL, then go to the next city (say BTV) and again check every single possible city of where you can fly to on DL from Burlington. In other words, is it just labor intensive, checking every single city pair in the DL system until you find a decent MR? Or is there some intelligent guessing for a starting point before you go to the ITA Matirx? Thanks.

  80. I want to know your “game plan”!!! When i decide i want to go somewhere…this is how i get it done!! i always start here and then go to there and double check for lower prices here and then skip to here and back again. You know what i mean…what’s your “strategy’? Travel plans are a moving target and evolving from start to completion. C’mon man…what’s the “game plan”?

  81. It would be helpful for me if you shared your list of “got to have” list of items you bring on all your travels.

  82. VoucherVulture Reply

    Be sure to ask your credit cards for extra points, and spend bonuses at the 6 month and 9 month points after your application. That gives you time to fufill a bonus and then still decide whether to renew and pay an annual fee or not. If you have been spending heavily on a card, there is a good that you will be offered another year of waived fees on a card. We spent heavily on my wife’s Barclay Arrival card and she got another year of fee waived. I did not spend much on mine and was not offered a fee waiver so it got cancelled.

  83. I could use a list of “approved and recommended” people who could help me plan a trip using my frequent flyer miles and wouldn’t charge me a ton to do it. I would like someone to “walk me through the process”…someone who understands all the airline codes and has walked the path before me.

  84. I’d like to see a rookie post on how you start/manage your blog.

  85. How about a rookie Wednesday on tech packing (what to take, what to skip) and how to do a smaller bag of tech/nice to haves that you keep with you in your seat on a long flight. Kind of a go bag type thing.

  86. I would like to also see some inexpensive, multisegment runs from a hub city to anywhere and return.

  87. The best way(s) to find maps of airports, especially via apps or online. Also, the best way to use the Delta app when flying on WiFi-equipped flights, e.g., to check on flight details such as arrival time and gate #.

  88. Mike Palmer Reply

    How about some information about securing premium seats on Skyteam partner (and Virgin) airlines for Skymiles elite fliers. For instance it is possible for PM (and maybe GM) to secure the premium coach seats upstairs on AF 747s. Much more comfortable than being downstairs with the rest.

  89. Barb Thompson Reply

    I have 2 AMEX cards- the Costco AMEX which I receive annual percentage check back 1% on most purchases. Last year I earned $120 check- my other is Delta AMEX that I got in order to get the free 30,000 miles bonus. It has an annual fee which is due in September. Am I ahead to just drop the Delta AMEX and only use the Costco AMEX (no fee). I am not a big spender – am single Mom trying to get the best deal. Or is getting miles the better deal even with the annual fee? Which way should I go come September? Thanks.

  90. Perhaps talk a bit about using the Delta Jet card for everyday flights. Is this still relevant? when would this be a good deal? (assuming you redeem for more than just yourself)


  91. Meeting spend requirements that doesn’t involve reloads or bluebird. Sometimes that seems like a lot of work especially if you don’t live in an area where you can purchase reloads with. Credit card.

  92. Strategies for identifying flights where you have a higher likelihood of getting bumped and how to negotiate the best cash/voucher/etc.

  93. More information on ways to earn miles that don’t involve credit cards and also, if using miles for anything other than flights is ever a good value and if so, when.

  94. Would like to get opinions related to the SkyMiles Dining program. Is it worth joining the program? Is this a good way of getting extra miles?

  95. I’d like to read about the few times you decide you want to fly something other than DL and why.
    Also, can you skirt MQD the first time by status challenging?

  96. Since it seems like you’ve been to most of the destinations referenced, the best attractions & activites at each mileage run endpoint

  97. My suggestion: how and IF you should use the dreaded “pay with dollars and miles” option particularly when you’re traveling with a companion or your family.

    Alternately, how to link your reservations when you’re traveling on a MQM paid ticket and your family are all traveling on miles tickets

  98. Jason Wilson Reply

    I’d like to see two different discussions:

    With the new Skymiles 15 upcoming, I’d like to see a comparison of the new program with other programs. Also, I’d like to see a discussion of what constitutes a good mileage run when cards bonus miles aren’t involved in the equation.

  99. Thomas Zook Reply

    I just got a business Delta card since AMEX will soon no longer allow a second bonus. Buying Vanilla reload cards with AMEX to quickly get the minimum card spend is also disappearing. CVS no longer allows it.

    I would like to know a new workaround for the Vanilla reload. Supposedly Spartan Stores still allow credit card purchases, but I’ve not yet found a Spartan Store carrying them.

    Thanks, Rene

  100. International upgrades post, old SWUs, New regional/global, miles, and what other ways might there be are to upgrade to BE on international purchased fares on DL and skyteam partners along with rates/options and how to book (like can waitlist with Delta, but not KLM/AF) etc…

  101. I’d like to see a rookie post on how to start, run, and make money writing a blog.

  102. Best use of miles for a Delta around the world award trip in Europe and Asia in BE.

  103. an update for rookies on the “redeposit rules” for skymiles, the costs involved depending on your status or no status, family members redeposit rules if related to a flyer that has status etc. Thanks

  104. phill gold Reply

    I didnt see you discussing the FREE (or near to it) lounge access with Skyguide program.


  105. I recommend you have a post on how to maximize your upgrade chances. Complimentary that is rather than instruments such as SWU or RUC/GUC.


  106. deltasegmentfly Reply

    A post on why it sometimes makes sense to price out each direction and buy one way tickets and pay a premium for first class on some directions.

    I recently had a business trip where I had to go TRI-PSP (ATL-SLC stopovers) and then PSP-SF and then SF-TRI (Atl stopover). I priced each as a one way ticket and compared Coach to first class. By doing this I was able to Fly First class for everything but PSP-SF for $200 extra.
    What did that get me?

    An extra 2635 MQM and a extra 2635 skymiles worth around $50. So net cost $150 to fly first class and earn some extra MQM’s.

    Which because of Rene I think I may qualify this year on MQM’s instead of segments! Love the blog!

    Many other readers had some nice ideas and I think some of the rookie posts could use an “updating” based upon current facts.

  107. Would like to see tips on how to take advantage of long layovers (for ex, 10 hrs between flights)

  108. How about setting up and using “Delta Vacations” and redeeming miles there.

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