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My Favorite Delta Tips you may or may not know about that can save you money and points!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Love free points – you?

One of the main reasons I started blogging almost 8 years ago was to have a platform to share what is in my head and to teach. As a Delta flyer this is always needed because Delta is not focused on finding the best for you but on extracting the most from you (while couching this in the marketing spin of “choice”)! So today I thought I would share some of the bits rattling around my brain.

The first one is a simple one but one I bet most folks just don’t think about, that is, starting a stopwatch (use an app or this free online one when door opens) because if that watch hits 20+ minutes (and you don’t have your bags yet) it takes less than a minute to get 2500 free SkyMiles from Delta. My favorite part of this is what Delta tells us on the Delta bag claim automation page that says: “Requests should only be submitted after your flight.” Funny Delta! 🙂

Here is another one. While I am no fan of spending miles to upgrade i.e. allowing Delta to sway you to burn miles rather than to wait for a free upgrade – if you are going to do this why over pay? We all know Delta will publish what it costs but this price may or may not really be the price if you play around. For example, if you do a new ticket search you may come up with one price. Click on it and it may show another price. But here is a secret most do not know about, if you already have a coach ticket price booked and walk through the “change ticket” choice many times you will find an even lower price than any of the other options you just looked at! Neat right (and maybe a bit unethical, Delta)?

Broken stuff. When you fly Delta you expect all the stuff they advertise to work. I mean IFE, power, a working tray table etc. If you had known something would be busted would you not have moved to another seat or booked another flight (I would have)? So, keep in mind either the Delta flight attendants hand units can make points right away to try to make up for your issue. If they say no @Delta on twitter or a quick complaint on can result in some number of points as an I am sorry.

Re-booking (or at least checking for re-booking). If you book a SkyMiles ticket and then forget about it until time to fly you just don’t get it. If you check the same flights, at least once a week, you will likely find a lower priced award ticket than when you booked. Even if you are not an elite with free changes (ie no change fee) there will likely be a schedule change to allow you to get a free change and save points. Learn this one – please!

Lyft. I tend to Uber most times because I get such a flood of free Uber credits via creative spending techniques. But, since FreeBrid does work with both Uber and Lyft, and you can earn Delta SkyMiles with Lyft rides, why not now and then! Since SkyMiles ticket prices “Keep Climbing” we need all we can and this is one way.

[really selective] SkyMiles shopping choices. 9.9 times out of ten I will take CASH via TopCashBack over the chance to earn bonus SkyMiles via their shopping portal. But there can be the few really carefully researched selective opportunities that will yield a better return than cash. I get the fact that I am really reaching on this one but it is worth a click or two to check before you simply go with your default (most times better) cash option.

There is one thing I will never ever do (unless Amex wakes up and changes things). I never ever pay for my Delta tickets with my Delta Amex cards. Earning 2x points is just a joke when I can earn so much more on cards like my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Amex needs to start offering, at least, 5x points for Delta ticket purchases (10x would be even better).

Also I have jumped out of SkyMiles dining as IMO the iDine cash option is a stronger proposition (stacked with all the ones that work as well) vs earning SkyMiles.

What do you think of all of the above? Are you practicing them all? Do you have other steps you take to earn more? Tell us in the comments below! – René



Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. Rene, Have you considered buying your cruises through Skymile Cruises. Sometimes there are some very nice skymile bonues. I no longer typically fly Delta, but United works well for my situation. I picked up 40K United miles by having a United card and getting a balcony. I didn’t even have to pay for the cruise with the mileage plus, but did pay a portion with Reserve card, and the balance with the Arrival Plus (which I no longer have.) Just some things for thought.

  2. Michael R Karpiel Reply

    Rene – In regards to the baggage guarantee I had a scenario at LAX where the regular bags came down first so I had to wait for my Sky Priority tagged bags. Even though my bags came down within the 20 minutes, the DL agent gave me the card and I contacted DL and received the baggage bonus miles.

  3. Regarding not charging Delta tickets on AMEX cards. I have been using my Delta Reserve AMEX card until I get to my $30K. I thought it also had some impact on upgrades. Still a bad deal?

    • @Lee – Yes spending $25K+ on Delta Amex card can mean more upgrades (it is a tie breaker). However, you do NOT need to buy Delta tickets on the card to get that perk or any card perk like free bags etc. I have spent $60K+ on my Delta Amex Reserve card this year – just not on tickets.

  4. I buy my delta tickets on my Amex Platinum (non delta, regular platinum) as I get 5x membership rewards which can flow into SkyMiles. Much better than Chase CSR or the crappy 2x on the Delta Reserve.

  5. Great post. Thanks. One question on the schedule change: I booked an award ticket from the US to Cancun and my schedule changed by more than 1 hour. Do you know if I can change my class from main cabin to comfort+ with the free change?

    • @John – You would have to pay the difference but all other fees should be waved under schedule change rule.

  6. Barry Graham Reply

    @rene I read the article you referred to about schedule changes. I think you said that you can book an award ticket early and then as a Diamond or Platinum change it up to 72 hours before departure, free of charge. However I thought that you would still be liable for the difference in mileage cost. For example I bought a Delta One round trip to London for 98K points during a fare sale. That same trip is now selling for hundreds of thousands of miles. Can I still make a change without paying the difference in cost? I think that when you wrote the original article in 2012 Delta still had an award chart and these absurb multi-hundred thousand skymile award prices did not exist, in which case there was no such thing as cost difference

    • @Barry – If you have say an illegal connection now (under 1 hour international) then there would be no extra cost in miles. Also, if there has been a massive change, say you arrive 4-5 hours later or something, they will most times wave any cost for extra miles. You really can get away with a ton with the mighty schedule change rule.

  7. I don’t understand the second tip – the “change ticket” method. Can you elaborate?

    • @Cecilia – If you already have a coach class award booked, and choose the change ticket from inside the reservation, the price will often be less than if you simply search for a ticket in business class.

  8. So Rene, you are recommending eschewing the Delta card and its free baggage perk in favor of Chase Sapphire and 5x miles?

    • @Reed – You do not have to pay for Delta tickets with Delta Amex to get the free bag perk. You just have to have the card.

  9. Hi Rene – more on the baggage issue. How will they know you have the card if you don,t use it? Are you saying they automatically know you are a card holder and therefore will allow a free bag if you use another card? Most of my travel is to ski and I don’t want to pay for an oversized bag. Thanks. Tom

    • @Tom – When you applied for the card you entered your SkyMiles number. Amex knows you are Delta and Delta knows you are Amex. It is all warm and cuddly (well not really but you see my point).

  10. I fly Delta 4 to 5 times a year. When I have to buy a ticket, I first take my 5x Chase Ink Business card and go to Office Max/Depot and buy Delta gift cards. I then use the gift cards to purchase the Delta flight and transfer the UR point to UA for UA flights.
    5x is good.

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