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I Switched My Delta “Thank You” Cards from Starbucks to Amazon!

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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.

5 dollar amazon gift cards
I love these $5 gift cards!

I really appreciate how hard Delta folks work to take care of me. We all should know (or appreciate the reminder) that they are trained to “Strive for Five” and when you do fill in the surveys that Delta sends you they can get points that become real cash as a thank you from the mothership for the hard work as a team on the flight.

We also know, as Platinum and Diamond Medallions, the JWD or Job Well Done certs that Delta sends us each year as our way of saying thank you for great service has been cut year after year and we cannot request more of them no matter how nice we ask. (By the way, you can give the JWD cert numbers to phone reps as well as the twitter reps on @Delta.)

But I want to do more.

So, I have a sample of the WORD template I use to make a normal 8×10 piece of paper into a thank you card (fold it longways once then sideways once). Then, to make this really easy for you, I order boxes of these envelopes from Staples and they then fit very nicely into them. Here’s a similar alternative available on Amazon.

Then I include one more little thing. In the past, it was a $5 Starbucks gift card but due to the crushing changes to the Starbucks program last month I have vowed to never spend another dollar at Starbucks. So what I can use going forward to give them as a tiny token of my thanks for great service (on-board or elsewhere)? Well everyone uses Amazon nowadays and they also have $5 Amazon thank you cards with free shipping <-LINK

Anyway, I have had readers ask me to remind them now and then about the importance of filing out the Delta surveys, but thought I would also include the way I personally go that one step further to brighten the day of Delta people who make ME smile just about every time I fly! – René


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. You are SO correct Rene they work so hard and have a huge responsibility requiring a plethora of skills
    I met. An FA yesterday who I had flown with on another occasion she was so lovely and warm I believe we should pay it forward and show appreciation
    What a wonderful and useful post
    Thank you !

  2. Rene,

    Do you give cards to the whole crew or just the attendants in you cabin?

    • @SKF – Just those who are working the cabin I am in. In first sometimes only one but often two. In coach, often two who are taking care of me. Clearly for GA or Sky Club folks it is only one normally when they go above and beyond. I tend to spend $300-500 a year depending on how many segments I fly each year.

  3. I’m no huge fan of the changes that SBUX made to their rewards program, but “crushing” is a it much. Yes, if you ONLY do very small purchases it stings. But your example might not be optimal.
    Assuming you spend $400/yr(the mid point of your annual gifts) the math would seem to work like this:
    Old program($400/$5 gift card means 80 swipes(assuming you do ALL of them separately). 80/12(old free drink requirement) means 6 2/3 drinks.
    New program($400 X 2 stars per dollar is 800 stars/125(new star requirement) is 6.4 drinks.
    In your case this would seem better.
    Additionally, you could get all 800 stars in 10 seconds with one simple purchase.
    Finally, since the program changed I’ve numerous 3X and 4X(like after 2 pm etc…) opportunities for “Gold” members(insert Austin Powers joke here). where you could drive your star count much higher.
    As I said, my math might be off, but the changes are not crushing.

    • @Geoff – You miss my point. I hate the changes. So, on both a personal or a business level, I am withdrawing my “loyalty dollars” from SBUX. Maybe my ~$500 in biz spend and few hundred a year in personal spend will not matter but I am guessing I am not the only one who is voting with their wallet. My guess is (and I can see it from reader comments) others are feeling and acting the same about Delta with the award loyalty changes as well.

  4. I see your point completely. I guess I’m kinda lost. I understand the reason to dislike the Delta changes completely.
    Why do you, in particular, hate the Starbucks changes?
    Can I assume you made many much smaller purchases that benefited you under their old program?

    • @Geoff – Yep. I never get more than a “tall” that is a small. Often when we go in my wife get’s whatever she wants then I get mine on another order. Now we just go other places.

  5. A few thoughts …

    * I still buy printed newspapers. I could buy 12 newspapers at Starbucks (for which Starbucks makes practically nothing — retailers typically sell newspapers for very small, if any, markup) and then earn a free drink (which I frequently did — generally a $5 smoothie). This was very lucrative for me and not so great for Starbucks.
    * Under the old program, you got the same reward whether you bought a standard cup of coffee or a $5 smoothie. This doesn’t make any sense. Delta gives you more miles if you buy a first class seat to Europe than if you buy a basic economy seat to Vegas. This is the same type of thing.
    * Under the old program, you were incented to break large transactions into smaller transactions, taking more of the barista’s time and holding up the line. Again, the old program incented the wrong behavior.
    * So given all of this, even though it is negative for me personally, it is very hard for me to argue with Starbucks’ decision. With respect, I do think that it is an overreaction to never go to Starbucks again because they tweaked the rewards program. From Starbucks’ perspective, the new program incentivizes the right things (high margin coffee purchases), not low margin newspaper purchases.

    Amazon, on the other hand, doesn’t even have a loyalty program (unless you consider Amazon Prime — for which you pay dearly — a loyalty program). So you are switching your business to a company with no loyalty program as a protest against a company that rationalized theirs. You’re also switching your business to a company that treats its employees horribly, away from a company that — although certainly imperfect — is doing some positive things for theirs.

    Regardless, I applaud the sentiment. A token of appreciation for the people that take good care of us on the plane goes a long way.

    • @jim – A few hundred, or thousand, who dump Starbucks like me will have an impact. Just watch the stock price and earnings. BTW I hold no SBUX shares now nor do I have plans to buy any for the next few months.

  6. dotti cahill Reply

    I used to giver the certs and also a starbux gift card but may re-think that although they are in most airports!!!

  7. Rene, Starbucks will be fine. The reduced revenue from selling fewer low-margin basic coffee drinks (or newspapers, or very cheap snacks) to people who have figured out how to leverage the program will be offset by the reduced expense of not having to make high-end drinks for free as a reward. There isn’t a major impact on the people that buy the most expensive drinks under this new program, which is what Starbucks is, presumably, most concerned about. This new program provides additional incentive for people to buy higher priced items like bagged coffee, gifts, etc. in the stores. Yes, Starbucks is going to lose a few customers (like you). But this will be offset by lower expenses and possibly additional business from higher margin customers, along with reduced hassle from splitting orders. There are all kinds of opportunities to get discounts at Starbucks (I just got a $10 gift card for free through a Visa Checkout promotion, my employer gives me a birthday gift card each year, I could get 10% off through a Citi Offers for You deal right now, there is a Groupon special several times a year, etc.), and if you stack these with the Rewards program, you can still get very good value. I am neither long nor short Starbucks either; I just think that rationalizing a program that incented less profitable behaviors so that it incents more profitable behaviors is exactly what they should be doing. Points hounds like us love getting something for nothing (or for very little), but the ride never lasts forever. And the bottom line is that I have a pleasant experience 99% of the time I go into a Starbucks, and I’m not willing to lose that due to tweaks of their rewards program.

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