Rookie Sunday: Bet you did not know these travel tips that can save you so much (cash, time & more)!

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog 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 featured topic.

I know Rookie Sunday sounds kinda strange after many years of Rookie Wednesday but the idea of breaking down Delta and travel topics is the same. This week a bunch of travel topics you may not know about that could save you cash.

Let’s start with one you really need to think about if you travel even once a month – CLEAR. If you travel with Delta a lot you need to have CLEAR as it is so fast it is like the days when Pre Check 1st arrived. And if your family travels then you should know you can “add up to 3 adult family members for only $50/yr each. Kids under 18 are free”. But take a look at my charge to add my wife above. If not at your renewal date you are prorated for the year. Depending what status your family member may earn next year they may only need to pay for part of a year until they, say become Diamond and get it free.

Reserve card and security. Let’s say you do not have CLEAR or even TSA Pre Check. Did you know simply holding the Delta Amex Reserve card gets you access to the Sky Priority security line (when they have them at an airport). This, plus Sky Club access, can make this card worth holding for some.

Check to see if you have ever had an Amex card before. With Amex limiting a new card bonus offers on personal and business cards to 1x lifetime it is important to know if Amex says you have ever had it before. Just because you have had it does not mean Amex says you have. Always check before you get a new card. Oh, then two more things: A) be sure to support the blog when you do get a card and B) do not MS to get new the new card bonus with Amex!

30 days to get your Amex fee back. Back in the day Amex used to prorate your fee if you canceled at any point during the year – not any longer. Now, when your fee bills, you have 30 days to get it back in full. Thus, you should never be in a rush to cancel until your fee does bill. Then, in the case of the Delta Platinum or Reserve BOGO cert, wait till it hits your My Delta if you do choose to cancel a card as it will not go away even if you do cancel a card.

Check your bag at the gate. This is one we all should know by now but worth pointing out again and again. TSA does not care how big your bag is. If it can fit in the scanner you can bring it to the gate. Yes the airlines may have “thugs” guarding the TSA but they can not stop you if you push it. Once at the gate you can check your “larger than ok for carry-on” bag free with Delta.

Experian app checks your hard pulls. Chase with their nasty 5/24 rule (you can not get many cards if you have had more than 5 hard pulls from ANYWHERE the past 2 years) it is good to know how many pulls you have had. You can use the Experian app to check this free and to track just when the oldest pulls will drop off. Just be sure to set a REALLY good password please.

Shopping portals to reset point expiration. We at Delta are really spoiled that our less than valuable SkyMiles never expire (until we do that is). So many programs, without activity, make your points go pouf! Clearly tracking these with Award Wallet helps but beyond that a simple way to reset the clock on most of these is to buy something that you would normally buy anyway starting at the airline/hotel/whatever shopping portal (most run by the same company btw). All it takes a few tiny points to get your expiration clock reset!

So there is my short list of some of my favorite money and time saving tips. Do you have some of your own? Please let us know in the comments below! – René


PS – Be sure to enter 1x a day this week for a shot at winning a ~$700 twenty five use Gogo pass!





  1. @Rene – wasn’t aware of the free Experian app – very useful! I would of course concur with your admonition to use a crazy-a&@ password when setting up an account as it asked for essentially ALL of one’s SPII. Also, be damn sure it’s the Experian app and not a knockoff – I always check publisher, look at reviews, etc. to make sure it’s legit.

  2. Hi Rene, this is off topic, but “almost Diamond status” flying from MSP to LGA this Sunday morning on Delta. My seat mate in 10C was greeted by the flight attended, her GOLD status was noted and she was offered a bottle of water. Behind me, the flyer in 11B was recognized for her SILVER status and offered a bottle of water. What’s up with that? Some new way to make “frequent flyers” feel valued?

  3. Thank you! You always have “pearls” applicable to all travel.
    I thought with Chase it was the number of (personal) Credit Card accounts opened the last 24 months.

  4. @Kathy B: Generally speaking, (and summarizing from Wikipedia,) a soft pull is not used to make a credit determination and doesn’t count against you — such as using to request your own credit info for personal review. A lender requesting that very same info to make a credit determination, such as when you apply for one of Delta’s AmEx co-branded cards, is considered a hard pull.

    You should talk to a licensed financial advisor if you want to know the full meanings and impacts of each. Full disclosure, I am not one, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night… 🙂

  5. @Mark. Makes sense as u explained it – thanks! I’d seen people reference 5/24 or something similar and couldn’t figure what it meant. Now I get it.

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