Rookie Sunday: What are the “great idea” Delta stuff that you do that makes life so much better? Here are mine – what are yours?

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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.

What a great travel idea!

After years and years of Delta flying there are just so many things I just do that become routine. Some of them are once a week, some are set it and forget it stuff but it makes an impact. Most of these are Delta related but others are just smart and this is as good a post to share them as any. Let’s look at my list and see what you think:

1) Weekly check for SCS. What is SCS you ask? Schedule Change Saturday events. They happen almost every single week. We had one just yesterday fyi. This can result in missed connections, seat changes (even if you have many on the same reservation or PNR) and with partner airlines much worse. Every single Sunday AM I check my flights and you should too!

2) Set my Delta Amex close date for 1st of month. Did you know you can call Amex and tell them the day (+/-1) you want your statement to close? Why does this matter? While it really does not matter I find it simpler to have it on the 1st of each month. That way, when it comes to card spend and MQMs etc. (especially at the end of the year) things are just simple. You set this once and forget it and now is a good time to do this i.e. mid year.

Sweet deal – yes please!

3) Check “All” the Amex “Offers for You”. If you are not checking these offers at least once a month you are missing out. I check them each week as some are limited enrollment and I want max value (like the AF / KLM Membership Rewards on my non-Delta Amex business Platinum card). These are mega offers that I value at about a 30% discount and they are just one example. Oh, btw did you know if you have 3rd party cards with Amex logos on them you can check for many more offers HERE? My last tip on these is if you like the old school interface use THIS amex link to view your cards.

4) Check credit reports (at least 1x a year). First off this is free. You can check all 3 credit reporting companies once a year. You can choose to check 1 at a time and wait say 4 months then the next and so on if you want. Do this now please and then grab your phone and set a yearly reminder to check each year.

5) Check points expiration dates. With SkyMiles it is simple as our points do not expire until we do (a.k.a. Delta DieMiles). But with other programs the expiration countdown clock starts right away. It is simple with Award Wallet to load in all your programs and keep track this way. To me the simplest way to extend most of my non-Delta programs is doing some purchase via their shopping portal for something I was going to buy via say TopCashBack or BeFrugal. Sure the rewards may not be as good but it resets my clock and that has real value.

6) Verify stuff (night before flight). I travel with lots of stuff and almost all of them have a battery inside them and I am sure you do as well. There are few things as frustrating as getting on a flight and finding your noise canceling headphones are dead or that you forgot to charge your battery brick and the flight has no power.

7) Confirm everything (night before flight). Did you really book that hotel room you thought you did. Or, did you book at two hotels (yikes). Is your Ground Link reservation all set or are you going to Uber or Lyft and if so have you checked they still serve where you are going? Do you have your Passport (do you need one). What about cash (need some)? Have you printed what you need say for a cruise etc.? All this sounds simple but miss one and you are not going to have a relaxing and enjoyable travel day.

8) Watch Delta flights in my “Feed”. When I fly I am proactive. I am checking so many bits including, if my upgrade has not cleared, if I want to change to a “better” flight. But another thing I do is check my inbound flight. I can often find out little things like the gate it will arrive at or bigger things like a delay that could impact me by tracking not just my flights but my inbound flights as well.

9) Print paper boarding passes. This is the last thing I do and it matters. Why? If you ever do not get Delta (or partner) flight credit having a paper copy matters. Or, when it comes to “bumpertunities” having a paper copy to hand over to a gate agent has helped me score big time vouchers any number of times. Learn to do this folks!

So there is my list I do. All these reduce stress and for me I am having fun as soon as I start my travels – not just at the destination. What do you think of my list? Do you do them all as well? Are there some things you do that I should be doing that I am not? Let me know in the comments below! – René




  1. Some great reminders in this post. Rene, I just booked some flights on China Eastern for a trip to India. Paid $2600 and should net over 8000 MQDs, as all the segments are in class I or J. Do you know how I can add my SkyMiles # to a MU reservation made through an OTA? I can select seats on the MU website and verify the ticket there but nowhere to add FF #s.

  2. Very helpful Rookie Sunday Post!
    I fly every week. For me the most challenging thing about a trip is knowing and remembering what to take. Years ago I created a checklist and saved it on my computer. The day before a trip I edit it if necessary, print it, and put it on a clipboard. It contains everything from boarding passes to M + M’s, to socks. When I place an item into my bag I check it off the list. Works like a charm.

  3. @Mitch – If the OTA will not allow it you will have to go direct to the MU site and get it done. Same with other Skyteam partners i.e. their individual sites.

  4. Thanks, Rene
    I have a soft sided small duffel for my carry-on/luggage, already packed with the toiletry ziplock bag, toothbrush, etc. I just have to pack clothes for each day on the road, and ready to go. To confirm the location of my passport, I have a vinyl “folio” that has my passport and all the plastic cards for car rental and hotel (many of these are saved in the phone, but just in case). Inside this folio, I put the print outs for the hotel/car rental/flight confirmations. These go into the laptop bag, along with all the power cords and bricks. I try to be as consistent and routine as possible, regardless of trip purpose/duration.

  5. I changed my Delta credit cards to close 10 days PRIOR to the end of the month. That way I get a statement around 12/20; I can see exactly how much I have spent on the card in the calendar year, and still have time to top it off with whatever spend I need to reach my $25k thresholds.

  6. Make an advance parking reservation at ATL to avoid it being sold out. This happened over Memorial Day weekend and left me scrambling to find an open lot with just 75 minutes before flight departure time.

  7. Anyone have any suggestions on using the KLM/AF AMEX Offers? Got both on 3 different cards.
    I just got back from my 1st trip to Europe and have never booked on either carrier. I don’t care where I go but would like to take advantage of the offers. Looking for suggestions from DTW.


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