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.
By now we all should clearly know that, for 98% of us, flying Delta will be the absolute worst possible way to earn Skymiles under the crushing Skymiles2015 that is now just one week away. Delta has shown ZERO willingness to back down on anything we have asked for and this despite American & Alaska’s bold move to not go down the UN-Rewarding UN-Loyalty road like Delta has chosen to stick with (at least for now).
So, that begs the question, what will be the best way to earn Skymiles in 2015 for those of us who WANT to earn them that is. The top way, as it has been for years and years even before Skymiles2015, is point cards and different kinds of spend. For me I can earn a ton via:
- Delta AMEX Reserve cards. As last year, there are SO many ways to earn points via spend. Once I have run my $60,000 for the year I will get 30,000 bonus points. 90,000 Skymiles is the better part of a business class round trip low level award for me to Sweden. Simple. While the Premier Rewards Gold card does give 3x points for buying tickets I may forego the extra points as I want to spend as little as I can on Delta tickets next year. My goal is under $2000 all-in!
- Non-Delta AMEX Platinum cards. As I talked about in this post, this is such a great card to hold and earn points on (as I will touch on later). I have the flexibly to send all I want to Delta and the transfer is just about instant when I need them.
- SPG Personal card & or the SPG Business card. Again a great choice. For every 20,000 I send over to Delta I get a 5,000 point bonus so net out 25,000 for the transfer. Yes, it takes a little while, but still a much better choice than flying.
Skymiles Shopping is one I have largely ignored in years gone by as there are so many times I can get a better return from other portals or deals. However, now that flying is out as a way to earn I have to look at other options and getting points for buying stuff I want / need anyway is going to be nice. Plus I pay for them with one of the cards above and end up with a double dip. #Winning and simple step to earn Skymiles.
Crossover Rewards is the next one that is great for me as I do stay at SPG hotels and it is another one of those just register and forget about it programs. I love those. For each dollar I spend for my SPG stays I end up getting a Skymile. I think you are seeing the trend here – not flying is good! If you are someone who stays a bunch at hotels these points can really grow over a year for an award.
This one again is UBER simple 😉 (yes that was an attempt to be funny). All I have to do is one time enter my membership rewards card, in my case my non-Delta AMEX Platinum card, and I am earning 2x points that I can send to Delta should I want to. If you are someone who often uses UBER you can earn a nice chunk of points this way.
I love programs like Thanks Again where I don’t have to think about them. I just register my card and them I am DONE and just earn whenever a merchant happens to be part of the program. For me, SBN parking and other vendors take part. There are a TON at the ATL airport as well as so many other places. Not only are you earning on say your Delta AMEX but then earning bonus points as well. (Edit – as readers and MJ on Travel points out – GONE as of 15JAN15 🙁 “Thanks AGAIN” Delta for driving yet one more partner away! #TIP at least Alaska Air is a earnings partner 😉 )
For many Skymiles Dining is a real winner too. For me, locally, I have few choices. But out and about in 2015 this can be a way to earn a nice 5x bonus points on dining. For some who dine out often or have business lunches / dinners to pay for this could be a VERY nice addition to your Skymiles earnings for the year.
The last ones to look at now and then are SkyMiles Cruises, other hotels, car & transfer bonus deals when they come along. These are not every day ones but good to think about if needing to top off for an award. Just keep a watch on these types.
So that is my plan. I should say, personally, I have amassed well over 1 million Skymiles and plan to BURN a bunch in 2015 and test just how honest Delta was all this year in promising us more low level awards (and call them out if they do not live up to that promise). At least, by following the above choices, I will have a steady flow of points that are not dependent on buying Delta tickets! And as I have mentioned before, when I do buy 1st class tickets that could have netted me a bunch of Skymiles, I will pick another airline as Delta has not EARNED my loyalty dollars with Skymiles2015 – René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. 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 American Express.