My Secret to Scoring a $6,000 Delta Bump Voucher (hint: I accidentally played chicken & won)!

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The above Delta Airbus 330-200 was the bird I was supposed to fly on but did not. But before I get too far along I need to share some background because when it comes to bumps, or “bumpertunites” as I call them, with Delta there is so much that goes into that cat-n-mouse game of you earning the most you can versus the airline wanting to pay you as little as possible.

This was a quick trip over to see family in Sweden began with my booking what turned out to be my very last 125,000 SkyMiles Level 1 round trip award. I had, using all the tools I know how to employ, booked via a very creative leg-by-leg route that heavily relied on Delta partners since we all know finding Level 1 awards is exceedingly hard to accomplish (lots at bat crazy prices but who does that with even half a brain)! Little did I know that later on booking rather simple to find partner awards would cost me MUCH more than a Delta One award!

$70+tax to Europe? Yes please Delta!

But when a $70 round trip fare popped up (plus a ton in tax and junk fees) and my soon to harvest 2018 Diamond Choice Benefit Global Upgrades available, I canceled these hard won SkyMiles award tickets in favor of paying for the trip. Plus, I had a $1,000 bump voucher in my “My Delta” just waiting to be burned and earning distance based elite MQM points all the way to Sweden and back and doing it in Delta One was hard to say no to.

There was one tiny issue. The flight I had chosen was not at all the one I wanted. I wanted a late night flight as my preference for flights to Europe is eat a carb heavy dinner before flight and just go right to sleep when we go “wheels up” and not wake up until I either have to or for breakfast just before landing. 5-6 hours of sleep going toward Europe is sweet to me. But again, there was no Global Upgrade space on any flight other than the early 4 PM flight. I went with what I could get under the circumstances.

I can get another one later!

Now I have a lot, and I mean a LOT, of advice on how to maximize your chance at a Delta bump. Even this morning’s Rookie Wednesday post touched on, when a flight is really oversold, if you should consider taking a bump when Delta calls you and begs you to give up your seat. This can be nice but then again you can miss out on much more (or get nothing cuz someone else jumped on the offer). Normally I would have printed extra boarding passes, checked load levels, checked at the Sky Club if my flight was oversold, got to the gate early and on and on to improve my chance at, not just bumping, but being 1st on the list when they want a volunteer (or 2) to get off the flight.

This was a vacation trip and I did none of these things I should have.

In the long run, my being totally lazy and doing nothing as I should worked out smashingly. In a way, I “played chicken” with Delta and won big time, albeit accidentally. Just what am I talking about?

6k in vouchers – not bad at all Delta!

If you really want to try to score anything remotely like the now worldwide advertised $10,000 bump voucher then you have to push it. How? Resist the urge to say YES when the bump number gets bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER! You simply board the flight and then, with seat belt release ready, be prepared to jump out of your seat and run up to the boarding door when the gate agent comes on-board begging for someone, anyone, to get off the flight for a large voucher in return for moving fast so they can get the flight out on time.

That is what I did, all by accident! 😉

You see one of the reasons the offer was this high was they needed folks to bump out of business class, and since I was not on the later flight I wanted to be on (due to no Global Upgrade space as you saw earlier) I found myself in the perfect position for my wife and I to surrender our Delta One seats and, you guessed it, be put on the later flight we wanted to be on in the first place! But wait, there’s more…

Great way to kill some time in DTW

To help relieve the stress of having to rush off the jet like that, with surprised Delta One passengers lamenting our 6+ hour wait for the next fight, we first enjoyed some refreshing time at BeRelax in DTW right next to the main DTW A Sky Club.

Thank you Delta! Now I can sleep on-board!

After that, it was off to the end of the concourse for dinner (naturally paid for by Delta) at Gorden Biersch since I wanted to be ready to fall right asleep when we took off on this much later flight!

What to take from this little adventure? Is it smart to “play chicken” with Delta and toss all my advice out the window when it comes to bumps? Honestly had I had my “game face” on and on any normal day I would have done all the things I normally do. I would have offered at the gate to give up our seats for $2,000 (the max now a gate agent can offer) rather than wait to see if they would push it to $3,000 on-board (it takes a Red Coat or higher to give out 2-10k vouchers btw).

But if you ever happen to see the gate agent come on-board, and you hear the word oversold, be ready to move like a gazelle and enjoy the results of your on-board bumpertunity! 🙂  – Rene


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  1. Rookie question:
    Any checked luggage? If so, does that luggage travel on without you?

  2. bumpertunity vouchers are like getting an insurance check to cover your loses and therefore are not taxable either.

  3. Rookie question:
    If luggage is checked and you’re bumped, does luggage travel on without you?

  4. @JS – It is always best, for better bump chances, to go carry-on. Having said that, on international flights, they will pull your bags most times and send on your flight.

  5. So, if I am reading this correctly, $6,000 Delta Bump Voucher is actually $3,000 Delta Bump Voucher for you and your wife. Am I correct?

  6. @Gary70 – Yep! If I was willing to sit tight and wait maybe it would have gone up to 6k each but then again maybe not. I am more than thrilled with 6k total. Plus, I can spend both vouchers on both of us as long as we are flying together (and often do).

  7. @rene that is nice chunk of money. I would be happy with $2000 each, but we usually traveling with small kids and I don’t want to deal with 4-6 hour delay with them (god bless them) 🙂

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