UN-CONFIRMED: Buying Delta Gift Cards for Amex Platinum Cards Now DEAD?! What Still Works for Delta Flyers Yearly $200 Travel Credit Reimbursements.

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$50 Delta.com Gift card credit seems really DEAD now sad to say!

Well, this stinks. At the first of the year (as I have year, after year, after year – after year) I tested buying with a computer Delta e-gift cards for my Amex Platinum Cards (learn more here) travel credit rebate. I did this for a number of reasons. First, I tend to fly Delta a lot and it is nice to lock in the credits because Delta gift cards never expire (you just have to track them yourself – no way to save them on Delta.com). I could choose another airline for credit (that still works with gift cards) but why when this works.

My new cards over the past few months!

I started getting reader reports that at some point during 2019 this long, long, long term way of locking in value died. So I tested early in June with a new Amex Platinum card (learn more here) and… Yep… It worked just fine. This is in spite of the T&C from Amex about what qualifies:

Statement Credits: Incidental air travel fees must be charged to the Card Member on the eligible Card Account for the benefit to apply. Incidental air travel fees charged by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $200 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges. Fees not charged by the Card Member’s airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits. Incidental air travel fees charged prior to selection of a qualifying airline are not eligible for statement credits. Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees. The airline must submit the charge under the appropriate merchant code, industry code, or required service or product identifier for the charge to be recognized as an incidental air travel fee. Please allow 2-4 weeks after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the Account. We rely on airlines to submit the correct information on airline transactions, so please call the number on the back of the Card if statement credits have not posted after 4 weeks from the date of purchase. Card Members remain responsible for timely payment of all charges. To be eligible for this benefit, Card Account(s) must be not canceled and not past due at the time of statement credit fulfillment.” – From Amex (bold mine)

And when I posted my reconfirmed post a number of readers reported in the comments section of the post they also had success with getting the credit just as I have. But reports, over the past month, have kept coming in that it is now REALLY dead for good. So I re-re-tested.

If you take a look at the screenshot above you will see that my $50 charge from this month, July, has yet to credit (normally it only takes a few days). Grrr…. That stinks!

What I take from this is this: Buying Delta gift cards for the yearly credit may be really dead now — or it may just be a tech hiccup that goes away. Either way, it is no longer a confirmed and a reliable option year after year as it has been for the better part of a decade. So what now.

**RELATED POST: American Express’ Internal Costs Reach Record High – What Does It Mean for Card Holders?**

If you again look at my statement screenshot above you will notice a few credits. These are from the fees from booking an award ticket. That, also as it has for many, many years, is working. Will it keep working? Who knows – but it should. That is how I will now use my credits. But what else should work with Delta?

These should still work in Sky Clubs!

  • Paying for gift cards inside the Delta Sky Clubs should still work. Normally I would never ever recommend this as you can buy Delta gift cards at greatly discounted prices at retail stores when there are sales or Amex Offers for You that you can stack (as well as paying with the right card for max points). But after this latest change this could be a workaround and the $100 cards should be fine.
  • Paying for guest to enter the Sky Club with you should still trigger the credits. Some really like this way of getting credit each year (I am not a fan but to each his / her own).
  • Paying for bag fees. I really dislike this one as well because if you are any kind of even semi- regular Delta flyer you should at least hold the Delta Amex Gold card (learn more here) to get free bags for you and those who fly with you on the same reservation. But, for this post, it should work for the credit.
  • Paying for things onboard Delta jets should still also get you full credit like food and drinks. Just keep in mind that the one thing onboard that does NOT — and has never — worked is buying Gogo as that is not billed by Delta (as of this post anyway).
  • If you have fees to change a ticket that should also work but I have had reports that if you go over $200 that the trigger does not work. Just know small amounts should be fine.
  • Paying for a seat fee. This one can be tricky because if Delta codes this as an “upgrade” it may be rejected. Call this one a YMMV choice.

Do note I did not call Amex to see about manually having the credit issued now that it no longer posts. It could work but I really don’t want to go that route (bad things can happen when you call). So, have I missed anything? Are there other Delta related charges you have received credit for that I have missed in my list above? Let us know in the comments below! – René

 

21 comments

  1. I tried to buy the Delta Gift Cards at the Sky Club, but found out that you still need to complete the transaction on delta.com… so I doubt this is an option for the credit.

  2. They’re going to see a LOT of us cancelling our gold and platinum cards, now. It’s always been a PITA, but a neccessary evil.

  3. I bought a $50 gift card on the Delta site last week on 7/16 and got the Amex credit on 7/17. Has it changed since then???
    I still have $100 credit left but now I’m worried about doing it that way.

  4. I have the AmEx Hilton Aspire which includes a $250 annual airline incidental reimbursement. (I also have an AmEx Gold and fortunately received my $100 already for this year) I saw the change in real-time in June. I purchased a $50 Delta GC on 6/17 and received a $50 statement credit on 6/20. Then I purchased another $50 Delta GC on 6/26 and no statement credit has since posted.

    I had the same thought about buying a GC in a SkyClub but then thought that an even $100 might be a problem; I wasn’t aware that it would still be processed through the website and thus wouldn’t be a good workaround.

    Now I’m wondering if buying a custom amount GC on delta.com in a strange amount might go through since it’s been widely reported on travel blogs that $50 GCs go through I wonder if they’re specifically looking for these transactions. Has anyone tried purchasing an online GC for $38.59 or some other random amount?

    Does pre-paying for Gogo on delta.com through “Trip Extra’s” still post as Gogo or would that then run through Delta and qualify?

    It’s a terrible deal at ~2.9cpp to ~1.97cpp based on two of my upcoming bookings, but how about “Mileage Booster” also through “Trip Extras” as another way to burn these credits? It may be better than letting some amount of these credits expire at the end of your card year.

  5. Why would change fees over $200 not credit? Isn’t it an incidental that is allowed, or is it also a workaround? I’m wondering if I can eke out one more year by paying my $300 award cancellation fee for 2 tickets coming up. Or would they just credit it to the card that I used to purchase, which was CSR?

    The problem with this dumb credit is not only what you mentioned about there not being much opportunity if you have a Delta credit card or if you have status, it’s also impossible to use if you fly First Class. It MIGHT be useful if they got rid of the “1 airline” restriction and let you apply it across all airlines. Then maybe I could get to $250 a year. Otherwise the Hilton Aspire is history.

  6. @Steve W: That’s an interesting twist — especially because René’s non-credited gift card purchase took place on July 9. Out of curiosity, which flavor(s) of the Platinum card do you use (e.g. personal, biz, Schwab, Goldman, Morgan Stanley, old Mercedes Benz?

  7. @Chris Carley: I have the Biz Platinum.

    I’m tempted to try another $50 today but would love to hear about any other recent success first.

  8. @CSue: No idea why change fees over $200 wouldn’t credit — those are just the reports we’ve received. A way to circumvent that may be to call the airline and put $200 on an Amex card and any remaining balance on another of your choosing.

  9. I wouldn’t have thought of doing this anyway. There are many instances where buying gift cards doesn’t qualify. I’m planning to do this (for my Delta Amex) card with a ticket I need to buy.

  10. I booked two award tickets by phone on July 18th. The taxes/fees were $99.21. I was charged separately for each ticket’s taxes and fees. The fees were both refunded on July 20th. I was happy to see the taxes/fees on awards still triggered this credit. If it didn’t I was definitely canceling.

    (Note: the tickets taxes/fees being charged separately happened without asking. I’m not sure if that’s normal. I never have really paid attention in the past)

  11. If I book an award ticket, get the Amex credit and later cancel that flight, does Amex take back the credit when the fees are refunded to the card?

  12. @Julie – Still nothing. If not dead then simply not reliable. Buying eGift cards on Delta.com should be considered dead.

  13. @René – With the gift cards assumed dead I am l looking at other ways to get the credit. Will the credit trigger for award booking taxes even if over $100? As a PM I could book an international flight and cancel it a few days later after the credit posts. Does this seem like a workable plan?

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