Rookie Wednesday: Workarounds for some of Delta’s most irritating rules!

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RenesPoints Rookie

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.

how to get around some of delta air lines rules renespoints blog

All airlines have layers upon layers of rules. When you buy a ticket you are agreeing to the COC or Contract of Carriage that is the contract of what the airline promises to do when you by the air fare to transport you from A-B. But beyond that there are rules for almost every aspect of the interaction with the airline. Delta is good at many things and making up irritating rules is one of the things they do best!

But are there workarounds for these rules? Yes (for many). Some of these workarounds are straight forward while others are not so simple and will require a helping hand either on the other end of the phone or a person dressed in Delta colors. Let’s take a look at a few of these.

3 Gift cards per ticket. This is one of my biggest irritations when other airlines allow unlimited gift cards to buy a ticket. There is no rational reason for this one from Delta. The only simple workaround is to check if your round trip ticket is the same price as 2 one-way tickets. Then apply 3 gift cards to the outbound and 3 to the return allowing the use of 6. There are pros and cons to 2 one-ways vs. a round trip so consider this before you buy.

Expiring vouchers. While gift cards never expire, vouchers have one year to buy and one more year to fly. You MUST book before they expire. The only way to preserve their value beyond that one year (if you don’t have plans to fly) is to book a refundable ticket up to about 1 year out. Then, once you know what you want to fly, call and apply that refundable ticket to the new ticket immediately (i.e. this will NOT reset the original expiration date).

SDC or Same Day Change. If you are stuck in a coach ticket and want to SDC and there is no space in your fare class ask to pay up to the next one that is open and have them waive all the other fees. If it is only say $20-$50 it may be worth it to you to get the other flight confirmed.

No Regional or Global upgrade space. This is one of those you have to ask (beg) kinda things but it can work if you get a good rep. If space is not open explain to the rep that you are a loyal elite and it is shameful Delta will not let you use these. Then ask if they can check all the flights that day from A-B and see if ANY flights have open space. Then get them to waive all fees and change you to those flights and apply the UG certs.

The middle seat “upgrade” in C+. I think the bulk of us feel that any middle seat is not an upgrade and especially a C+ seat. If you get stuck in one of these the simple fix is either to call or tweet to @Delta and ask them to “downgrade” only that flight to coach or Main Cabin then you can again pick whatever seat you want.

So these are my top tips for working around some of the irritating Delta rules. Are there others that bug you that you have not been able to find a solution to? Just comment on the post below and I will see if I can find a fix for you! – René


  1. Another option is to have delta combine the smaller gift cards into one large one. I just had Delta combine a $200, $50, and a $50 into one $300 card on the phone so that I could use the cards along with a voucher that I had. I ended up saving $600 on the flight! It probably helped that I was Diamond though. They had to speak with a supervisor but it was allowed.

  2. @rene – The Diamond rep is actually the one who suggested it! I must have lucked out and had a really good rep!

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