The Delta and point things I am doing today & you should look at too.

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2015 is the year Delta will be doing everything it can to look out for Delta. So, we can follow their example and look out for US! I am, after all, not in “love” with Delta (yeah, I have called them my beloved Delta in the past), I just fly them because:

So, with that in mind, time to tinker a bit. As I talked about this past weekend, some of the changes are good for us and this year we need to find ALL the ways we can game the new Skymiles2015 for our MAX benefit. I can confirm to you that as of today, ALL Pay With Miles (PWM) tickets will earn ALL Delta points including Skymiles based on your Delta status multiplier on the base fare (i.e. not taxes and fees) even though the web site results in a bunch of ZEROs when you pick PWM. Maybe Delta IT will fix this one day.

I have a ski trip planned this winter and I chose to spend 32,500 points each for the perfect flight times out of SBN for Lisa and me. This price was a result of the old chart showing “low” for the return legs and “mid” for outbound so 12.5k+20k=32.5k award ticket. But, as you can see from the chart above, with the new 5 tier system, I today found the same seats for 12.5k+17.5k=30k award that is a Level 1+2 total award. Still not the 25k I want, but since I am Diamond (and works for Platinums too), I could simply rebook my ticket and end up saving 5k points. The funny part is the lower my award price goes, the less attractive PWM gets as finding $250-300 tickets to anywhere out of SBN is all but impossible. Bottom line, if you are a PM or DM check all your booked awards for 2015 and see if they are cheaper today and you can redo them for a lower price.

The next thing I will be doing today is spending 4x$50 on my non-Delta AMEX Platinum card. I have already picked Delta as my provider (I could change if I wanted to today since it is a new year) and the “sweet spot” in the past has always been $50 Delta e-Gift cards. I will be sure to report back any issues.

I will be registering my Chase Freedom and DiscoverIT cards for the GROCERY (CF)  & GAS (D-IT) station bonus categories this month. I can then go in and buy $500 VDGCs and even with the fee to activate them come out far ahead with the 5x bonus for Q1-2015 and be done with the spend in one day on both cards. #Winning.

I have already ordered a sizable chunk of AMEX gift cards on my Delta Reserve card before the 2.25% bonus from TopCashBack dropped to 1.5% (still a good deal). The funny thing is my business card order and my personal card order coded differently on AMEX so far. I will be sure to report if there are any bugs but I expect all the spend will count toward my MQD exempt spending for 2015 (I plan to be done for 2015 by month end and be exempt).

If you do not HAVE or HOLD a  Delta AMEX Platinum or Reserve cards, today would be a good day to consider going for them. You can get a jump start on your MQDs for the year and have the card to meet your MQD exempt spending.

BTW, in case you missed it, do look at this post about “not freaking out” about your MQMs showing ZERO today as we wait for rollover to happen. I know we are all just a tiny bit obsessed about our MQM totals and it unnerves me too to see so many 00000’s on “My Delta” but all will be fine in a few days to a week or so. – 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.

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  1. Rene, it doesn’t appear as if Chase Freedom is doing gas station bonus(5%) this quarter. Grocery, Starbucks and movie theaters for 1Q ’15.

  2. I just checked a flight CHI to Lima I booked for my Daughter yesterday. The price dropped from 70,000 miles to 55,000 since yesterday for the exact same flights. Thanks Rene.

  3. I concur that Delta has devalued SkyMiles in a big way but hasten to add that my suspicion was correct. One-way rewards can be useful in certain situations. I just learned that I need to travel MCO-DCA on only a 3-day advance purchase. Luckily, there were some good options. There was a 25,000-mile option if I were willing to leave well before dawn. The important aspect was that, when I returned to the homepage and tried to redeem a one-way fare for just the northbound leg, it truly was half-price of 12,500 miles. For a business traveler who has the occasional last-minute booking with miles to burn, this is helpful flexibility, especially since I likely will use jetBlue True Blue points for the return.

  4. Booked my wife and daughter for an award ticket flight today, ~a week before their trip. 25,000 each, round trip, with several options.

    I don’t like #KeepDescending, but this was a nice start tot eh new year.

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