Have you been offered AMEX & other gift cards for a bump on Delta Air Lines? Looks sweet to me “BOB”!

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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.

delta paying bumps with prepaid amex cards delta points blog

“Delta Dollars” that is, a Delta bump voucher you got from your latest “bumpertunity” or opportunity to be bumped off a Delta flight are nice but VERY restrictive. How restrictive you ask? Well:

  • They can only be used by YOU (or those with you on same PNR).
  • They can NOT be combined.
  • They expire after one year (another year to fly them).
  • They can ONLY be used to pay for tickets, not extra bits on Delta

So, this Delta “funny money” is nice as it is basically free flying money, but “real” money would be nicer than Delta money. And, for some amazing reasons I can not understand, Delta is testing giving you real money in the form of gift cards. Reader “BOB”, who we all know and love, was kind enough to show not just a photo of the AMEX gift cards he got for a bump, but share what happened to him. I think it is worth a read this weekend!

Last year while lounging in the luxurious LAX Skyclub 3 hrs before my redeye flight to ATL I noticed that the LAX – ATL flight was showing no seats available online. OH YEAH! The Bumpertunity Alert immediately starts to sound!! I then go to the welcome desk and find out that the flight is definitely showing over sold. After having a couple skunky beers or 4 at the club I decide that I had better not waste any time as I had to walk what seems to be 5 miles to get to terminal 6 from terminal 5 for my flight! (I have always been amused how it says “almost there” on the wall at the start of this forever walk through the gerbil tube.)

I then proceed to camp out at the gate agent’s desk 2+ hours early to wait to volunteer for the “bumpertunity”. Interestingly not 5 minutes later another passenger lines up to volunteer. It seems like forever before the gate agents show up and slowly boot up the computers. Naturally myself and the other volunteer had our names put on the paper “list” and proceeded to cling to the desk. During this time we had an opportunity to interact with the Redcoat for the night who was a tenured employee. Turns out the Redcoat is a retired police office and my fellow volunteer is an active police office on a mileage run vacation! They had very interesting stories … which made the long boarding process wait time bearable.

But back to the boarding process – my heart had palpitations when I heard the gate agents request an extra 5 more volunteers! I JUST DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN! Therefore, what seemed to take forever, it came down to the last few passengers when the gate agent said they may not need the extra volunteers. Ruh-Roh! But as it turned out 4 people were given the Bumpertunity! We had assumed all along that the voucher would be for $400 as was the usual … but then the Redcoat said it would be an $800 voucher! BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!

BUT wait – there’s more!!! 🙂

The best Redcoat in the world explains that there is a new test program in a few cities (like you may have seen in MSP recently) where various choices for gift cards are available for choosing instead of having to accept the usual flight vouchers. SHAZAAM! One of the choices is Amex Gift cards! (There were actually a few different gift cards such as Best Buy, Home Depot, and etc. But when I heard AMEX GCs I did not pay attention to the others anyway.) The details were explained to us a couple times after the plane leaves by the gate agents. (By this time in my mind the AMEX GCs had already purchased VDGCs and were then donated to my favorite Bluebird charity) We also received a hotel voucher and 3 food vouchers which were not much use at 12:30 AM+.

Oh and did I mention the immediate upgrade to FC for the early LAX-ATL flight as well? SCORE!

Finally a couple days later an e-mail arrives with the details on how to choose the Gift Cards which then were delivered by express mail a few days later.

The only downside about this little bumping gold mine was that my wife decided she needed half of them to go shopping? She did not seem to care at all that my Bluebird Charity would suffer because of her actions. I think in the future I should only share these stories with Rene when I get gift card bonanzas like this one (what in the world was I thinking). 🙁

As I look back after many Bumpertunities later I really liked that program and wish that Delta would roll it out system wide. Especially because I think that mileage Running may in some ways have morphed into “bumpertunity” running with Delta!

Oh my and thank you BOB! You had me ROARING again and again telling this tale. Yes, from status to AMEX gift cards, I guess there really are ways to get even more value from Delta since $kyRubles are so worthless nowadays!

Now on to my thoughts on this. I am excited to see where this goes. My guess is if they do expand this program it will only be at Delta HUBs not at outside, smaller stations, but I could be wrong on that. Time will tell. Also, if you do have a chance for a higher bump voucher in Delta dollars vs. a lower one in gift cards it may be smarter to take the higher voucher. That really depends on if you are going to fly Delta more or another airline 😉 and want the money from Delta to pay for tickets on THAT airline instead.

Have you had the chance to accept gift cards for a Delta bump yet? – René


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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’ve heard the same offer at LGA also. The flight I was on needed 28(!) volunteers because of weight.

  2. Who goes to the airport so early to drink 4 beers (an hour?) and then to wait in line 2+ hours before the gate opens?

  3. Question, (may have addressed on a rookie Wend) when using a Delta voucher towards future flights, do you receive mileage credit or at the very least MQMs for that specific voucher flight?

  4. Just a word of warning for novices at being a volunteer in these situations : As overbooking has become the rule now (almost every flight I’ve had the last 2 years was over-sold), there is almost always a request for volunteers to be bumped. 2x now I was #1 on the list, had to stand aside while everyone boarded (including those running up at the last minute ) and filled the overhead space. Both times they “didn’t need that seat after all” and asked me to gate check my carry-on and board. Personally, I’m done with volunteering. Apparently, it’s quite common for people to book a flight and just not show up. In one case it was 9 people who didn’t show!

  5. @steve

    “Who goes to the airport so early to drink 4 beers (an hour?) and then to wait in line 2+ hours before the gate opens?”

    I was in the middle of a mileage run with a 3.5+ hour layover. Since I like “skunky beer” it was easy to down a few to get “right” for the long wait at the gate for the bump. The only concern that held me to 4 beers was if my fellow volunteer(s) would save my spot in line when the beers took affect!

    If I had known that there was no oversold situation I would have indulged in many more skunk beers to prepare for the long redeye!
    (Heck, the beers are “free” at the Skyclub … right?)

  6. @mbh

    as a DM and MM I find that in cases like you describe space “miraculously” seems to become available …

  7. Tucsonbabe Reply

    I emailed Delta when a companion ticket fare that I was trying to book disappeared when I entered my credit card # and clicked purchase.The fare jumped $68. Since the tickets were for Thanksgiving weekend, i decided to buy them anyway as they were only going to get more expensive.
    In response to my email delta sent me a note of apology and a $70 American Express gift card. It was a welcome resolution to my problem.

  8. Pingback: Delta REV MGT. PR's PVT jets, China & LGA - At least Delta will have "real" 1st class seats! - Delta PointsDelta Points

  9. dotti cahill Reply

    i hope the amex gift cards can hapoen in Jax and Atl our usual airports

  10. I’ve gotten these once. I took a $500 bump and got two $250 AGCs. I didn’t like that they sent two instead of just a single $500. Knowing that, I will probably just do the delta dollars from here on out. Those are as good as cash to me compared to having to buy VDCs to load my Redbird with….Nice gesture by delta though since many would prefer a gift card to delta dollars.

  11. Currently, I’m lounging in a hotel in Queens, NY after having bumped from two flights to MSP from LGA. I’ve made $1800 in Amex Gift Cards, plus this hotel room and transportation to and from the airport. I’m hoping to secure another voucher tomorrow as I believe my flight at 8am is also oversold. Considering turning this into a job to help pay for my master’s degree. 😉

    • @Katie – Snap I want to fly with you! BTW check your card you paid for ticket with. They may offer more perks too if such a long delay! 😉

  12. @rene More perks?? How?! Haha. I believe I booked with my bank card.. Which is just a standard Mastercard debit.

    • @Katie – I would call and let them know you were really delayed and what compensation options are. Hey you may be able to order $500 in room service for breakfast (I suggest a very good champagne if so with some OJ)!

  13. So is it still only MSP, JFK, and LAX that offer the gift cards or do more/less hubs now offer this bump compensation?

  14. Question. How long does Delta usually take to email you about Amex gift cards? Today I accepted a bump for a $500 Amex card, gave ticket agent my name, email address and ph#, but have yet to hear anything and Renee said she head back almost instantly. It’s been 10 hours since my flight. Who can I call/email if I don’t hear back?

    • @DeDe – About 1-2 weeks. It goes quick once you choose them. If you did not get the email link reach out to @Delta on twitter and ask them to resend the link!

  15. Ok. So 1 – 2 weeks for them to send an email with link? Sorry for so many questions, wording in email has me second guessing self.

    • @DeDe – No once you choose what you want 1-2 weeks to send you the gift cards. I would call or tweet or email right away if you have not yet go the link to choose the gift cards. Something has gone wrong.

  16. yes…we took the $800 amex gift card….guess what? when fedex delivered them to us…there was only one $50 gift card in each envelope….

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