Rookie Wednesday: What Amex card is the best choice to pay for your Delta Amex BOGO cert tickets?

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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.

One of the best perks of both the Delta Amex Platinum card personal (learn more) and business (learn more), as well as the Delta Amex Reserve personal (learn more) and business cards (learn more), are the BOGO certs (buy one get one free – plus tax – see E22 post) you get each year (starting in year two of card membership). They can save you enough each year alone to make holding the card worthwhile.

1st class, C+ or coach on these!

There are other perks to these certs. Some are published, some are not (but work). One published perk is that you can book tickets for anyone with these certs (and it is 100% AOK to do so – again, see E22 post). Want to fly your mom & dad up to see you? Just book it for them.

Another sweet perk is that if you are a medallion, even with the certs applied, you and your +1 on the same reservation ARE now eligible for medallion upgrades. Comfort plus upgrades (if you book main cabin coach seats) tend to clear instantly for Platinums and Diamonds and you still then have a shot at 1st class as well. Oh, and you can now even apply an RU or Regional Upgrade certs to these flights should you wish to do so (yes, this is new-ish fyi)!

But one question that is not talked about much is how to pay for this cert, that is, what card to use. Yes, I know that when you look at the T&C of the certs they clearly state:

“Primary Ticket and Companion ticket must be purchased with your Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express.” – from

…but the fact is you don’t have to. Currently you can pay with any Amex card (in fact anyone’s Amex card – like your mom and dad’s card for example if they are the ones flying up to see you). And this is good why? If you do pay with your Delta Amex card you are only earning 2 SkyMiles per dollar for the spending. That is really sad to get back only about 2 cents in rewards. You can do MUCH better.

Who does not like 5x points?

But what if you are the one flying? What card do I suggest you consider paying for your BOGO flights with? The clearly first choice is the non-Delta Amex Platinum card (learn more) because you can (if you choose Delta as your preferred bonus airline) earn:

5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines.

This way you are, even if you at some point send your Membership Rewards points to Delta getting 5 SkyMiles per dollar spent (points transfer almost instantly to Delta fyi)! What if you do not have this card. What would be another wise choice?

Believe it or not even Amex “branded” cards from other banks qualify to be used as a payment method (#ProTip – be sure to register these type of cards for shopping rewards like Amex “Offers For You”). The Wells Fargo Propel cards (read more) give you 3 points per dollar spent on airline tickets so even choosing this card you are getting 50% more points than using your Delta card!

Lastly, as I am sure many will ask, you can NOT combine payment of the BOGO certs with Delta gift cards (from or other stores) or e-credit vouchers from old tickets or bump vouchers.

The bottom line is the Delta Amex BOGO certs are a sweet part of card membership year after year and can on it’s own be reason alone to hold the Delta Platinum or Reserve cards. But when you go to spend them – make sure you get maximum value in return for your dollars spent! – René




  1. Hey René, you lost me.

    You say “The clearly first choice is the non-Delta Amex Platinum card because you can (if you choose Delta as your preferred bonus airline) earn:5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines.:

    I say, what does choosing Delta as your preferred bonus airline have to do with it? I thought AX Plat gave you 5X with ANY airline?

  2. @Bill G – Any airline in biz class. Any 1 airline you choose in coach (unless that has changed and I missed it! Then even simpler).

  3. Hey Rene,

    If the T&C says you must use the Delta Amex, why do you say it is ok to use any Amex? Don’t you run the risk of having your card cancelled or cert cancelled or some other punitive action?

  4. I pay mine with my Amex Business Platinum Card. Then I call in and have the charge paid for using Amex Membership Rewards Points. And because Delta is my airline of choice, I then get 35% rebate on the points paid. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

  5. No, René, maybe we are talking apples and oranges but biz class has nothing to do with 5X points. Nor does choosing Delta as your preferred bonus airline.

  6. @WantMoreMiles – THERE is the points of picking one airline. With biz card. I will fix post! Thanks @Bill G! My mistake on consumer vs biz card rules!

    Oh, and really nice tip as well. Nice!

  7. What if you have proper status but the instant upgrade doesn’t happen?
    I think X fare still qualifies for upgrade to comfort+, but days after purchase I am still in the back of the plane.

    Would you wait or call?


  8. @RossKoh – I said “tends to” that is most times but not always. There has to be elite upgrade space. There can be times you have to wait list. In those cases I forgo the C+ upgrade request and simply choose 1st class ONLY for upgrade if it opens up and sit in the exit row.

  9. Thanks René
    I have to call, I just noticed there is also just a “-“ where you normally set upgrade preferences.

    Lots of space open, the flight is almost 3 months from now.

  10. $.02 is far from a good value but DL has clearly taken a position that our points are only worth $.01…a penny, 10% of a thin dime, that is insulting.
    Devaluing the value of our value not only sux but it seems like a poor long term strategy unless DL has decided to cherish the very chosen few and give the majority of us the stink eye.
    I just returned from a JFK-LAX-KOA-SEA-JFK run to cover my PL for Next year. If DL keeps disregarding our worth I’m going to look closely at shifting my loyalty to where it is appreciated.

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