Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
The card benefit of the buy one get one free certificate alone can offset the total cost of holding this card year after year if you use it. There are some strange quirks that you must work with and having flexible airports a.k.a. more than just one to pick from makes it even better.
BTW, if you are today, 10DEC14 thinking about getting this card, either the personal or business AMEX Reserve cards, for the 10,000 bonus MQMs after 1st posted spend, you need to apply NOW (or VERY soon) as there still is time to get the card, get a charge to post, and have the points post THIS YEAR. But if you delay much longer, like past the 15th, there is little guarantee you will get the points in time to count this year.
Back to the topic of the week. As I mentioned, and have used both my personal card one and my business card one is the BOGOF cert that can be used in 1st class or coach (clearly the greatest value is in 1st class).
At the most basic rookie level, just when do we get one. Let me say this clearly: YOU DO NOT GET ONE THE FIRST YEAR! So, this means you will not “technically” get one until the second year. Hang with me on this one for now.
So just when do we get it? In the past it was about 1 month before the fee for year two billed. Now, it is normally 5-10 days after your second year annual fee is billed. For example, if you look at the photo of my Delta certificates page and all the arrows you will see lots of data. It shows:
1) Not shown my billing closing date is the 2nd each month.
2) My BOGOF certificate was issued
3) The expiration of the certificate (must complete trip by this date)
4) If I have used it (open means not used)
5) The cert is not named as ANYONE can use and fly them
6) That it is a companion certificate
Those are all the details. Let’s go over those details and some of the hard facts and some of the “flexible” facts. First, as I already mentioned, the exact date of when it shows up in your account, after the second year of annual fee is billed, will vary a little bit but some have reported as quick as a day or two after the statement was generated. Others almost two weeks. Most should see it inside a week.
The issue date really does not matter much at all as it is the expiration date that is ALL IMPORTANT. You must depart and return before this date – period! So keep that in mind. This one, unlike other certificates, should be used ASAP so do not delay in booking and start looking as soon as you can. This is good for a bunch of reasons. First is, you get it used (btw a WARNING – if you have to cancel YOU DO NOT GET IT BACK). Next, the farther out you book the prices for tickets “tend” to be lower so you will likely get a better price for the trip.
The other bits that matter are that you can book tickets for ANYONE (that is any two people) you want. They do not even have to be related to you. Then along with that bit, officially as I said, you have to pay for the card with the card that it was issued from. In practice, just about any Delta AMEX will do just fine. Plus, AMEX may tell you, if you decide to cancel after it is issued, that it will void the certificate (well really not so much). Once it is in your Delta account it is yours to spend but this is not per the T&C so know this going in. I can promise you that if you book a ticket with it, and then cancel the card, you will NOT have it canceled on you – period!
Lastly, and a bit off topic for this post about when you get it, is some tricks to booking with it. You see this certificate can cost you a bit more than a normal A or I class fare. Why? Sometimes an A or I fare is what’s called an UP fare from coach. But not always. Look at the savings on a direct full flat weekend trip from NYC to LAX below:
As you can see, in this case (not always the case btw) I would be saving a nice chunk of change over just booking this ticket. To be fair and open, I could do a connection in 1st class for just over $1000 EACH via ATL. However, the experience is nothing like the JFK-LAX direct and you have to connect. When you are talking 1st class just price is not always THE issue. Also do notice that the PRIMARY on this BOGOF cert does earn Skymiles, MQMs as well as MQDs – the secondary earns nothing!
So there you are. This is not the ONLY perk from the Delta AMEX Reserve cards but if you use it each year, it can be a simple way to get REAL value out of the card. (not to mention all the MQMs you can earn from it as well as being MQD exempt each year from 25k spend) – René
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