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.
It seems each frequent flyer program is different. Who can book and who can you book for or a myriad of other questions. So today let’s try to knock out some of the most common questions about booking award seats with Delta.
First the simple ones. Anyone can book for anyone with their SkyMiles. You can book for you, your wife / +1 your neighbor or a friend. You do not have to be flying with the person you booked the award for. The latter is really only ever an issue ever if Delta thinks you in some way were “brokering” that is, selling an award ticket. That is a NO-NO and can result in the traveler’s ticket being voided and your account even being closed and your points deleted.
The real neat part about booking awards, as a Platinum or a Diamond, is you get unlimited free changes up to 72 hours before flight. Even if you book for someone else out of your account those tickets can be changed for free too. Do note however, unless you are on the itinerary with them, elite perks do NOT carry over to those you get the ticket for. That means no upgrades, no free bags and so on for whoever you booked the tickets for.
What about Pay with Miles (PWM) tickets? If you do have any of the Delta CO-branded AMEX credit cards you can use the PWM feature. You can book tickets for others, but just like with a normal award ticket. One little tip, unless the person you have purchased a ticket for is Gold Medallion or higher they will NOT be eligible for a shot at a complimentary medallion upgrade (even if you are with them). Some do split such a reservation, then “LINK” them so hopefully one of you will upgrade and if there are issues, since the reservations are linked, both will change the same way.
What if you have a Delta AMEX card? Do those you book an award or a PWM tickets for get your free bag waiver, that is, your first checked bag free? No, unless you are traveling with them, or they have a Delta AMEX card of their own, they will have to pay for a checked bag. Now as I have talked about before, there are many ways to get a really decent sized bag onboard or checked free at the gate should you wish to do that.
What about calling for changes? Once the ticket is issued either you or the persons on the reservation can call or if they have a SkyMiles number log in and make changes including flights and seats etc. Do keep in mind if there are changes in points needed for new or different routes or segments the primary will need to call as no one else can spend your SkyMiles even if on the same itinerary.
What about cancellations? This one can be tricky and please we warned about this one. Say you are a Gold medallion and book a seat for a friend. You only pay the tax for the ticket and that’s it. However, later your friend decides to cancel or change the ticket – unless they make specific arrangements – your credit card will be the one billed for these fees. So please warn them up front about this (unless you are just that generous)!
What about seats? Technically if your friend you are booking for is not, say, a Diamond or Platinum then they should not get Comfort+ seats free. However, the reality is if you do call for them generally it will happen. That is not to say they can not get moved out of those seats if there is an equipment change, but then you can call again and get it done. I would think a Gold inside the 72 hour mark or a Silver inside the 24 hour mark could get the same done if a seat is open. If your friend is with you there are no issues getting Comfort+ within the rules of your status.
What about other things like TSA Precheck or priority screening or boarding? These things do NOT carry over and are for you. The only way they would get some of these perks is if you happen to book them a business class award ticket and in that case they get all the perks any other business class traveler would get (but NOT TSA Precheck even if you are with them).
The last one I wanted to touch on is the frustration so many seem to have with finding low level award seats. Please take the time to review all of the E7 posts in the “Essentials Tab“. If that does not work for you, don’t over spend your points, just let Adam do the work for you. You will thank me later! 🙂
That just about sums up most of the common rookie type Delta award booking question I get either via e-mail or on the ASK Rene tab. Did I miss any you want to know all about – fire away! – René
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