We established last month that premium beverage purchases at Delta Sky Clubs don’t count towards either the personal nor business American Express Platinum cards’ annual airline incidental credit. (Or Amex Gold Card‘s, for that matter.)
But if you’re in a Delta Sky Club and don’t feel like the well/complimentary alcohol? Maybe you want to buy the good stuff. Which credit cards award you bonus points for those transactions?
Normally, I stick to wine at Delta Sky Clubs (the red blend). I love bourbon — but don’t particularly enjoy Jack Daniel’s (the Delta Sky Club’s house bourbon) neat or on the rocks.
So I took it upon myself to conduct an experiment.
I visited a couple of “The Bars” at Delta Sky Club and purchased premium bourbons. You know, for science’s sake. 😉
I tried three different credit cards:
Here’s what I found.
Delta Reserve Card
During a quick stop in at JFK last year, I ordered a Booker’s bourbon to enjoy on the Sky Deck.
I paid with my Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card from American Express. After all, it’s a Delta purchase and should earn 2X points. Right?
Nope and nope.
“Delta Sky Club” — not Delta Air Lines — was the vendor. Plus, the purchase credited as “Food/Beverage.” Because Food and Beverage isn’t a bonused category on the personal or business Reserve cards, my $11.89 purchased earned only 12 SkyMiles.
The quest continued.
American Express Gold Card
Because my Booker’s purchase above was categorized as F & B, I tried my American Express Gold Card for my next experiment. Why? Because it earns 4X on dining worldwide.
So I purchased a Woodford Reserve at the SLC Delta Sky Club.
The total came out to $11.70 after tip. (Though, ahem not a very generous pour.)
This, too, coded as “Food/Beverage” — not Restaurant or Dining. So this purchase earned only 12 Membership Rewards points.
I tried another card in my wallet.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
I sprung for a Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve. My hope was that the purchase would code as Travel (hello, free drink with the $300 credit!) or Dining (3X points).
Was I finally lucky this time?
Yes! My beverage purchase coded as Dining — and I earned 3X. Because the Chase Sapphire Reserve allows cardholders to redeem Ultimate Rewards at a rate of 1.5 cents each through Chase’s travel site, the 44.79 points are potentially worth 67.19 points.
American Express (Delta’s credit card partner, for cryin’ out loud!) can’t hold a torch to that.
Plus, I’m glad my most expensive purchase was the successful one 🙂 .
I find it strategically inane that Delta and its credit card BFF Amex don’t incentivize people to pay with co-branded products at Sky Clubs. (“Get 2X or 3X on The Bar purchases at Delta Sky Clubs!” or something like that). Even my Amex Gold Card is next to worthless at the Sky Clubs.
Frankly, the liquor at Sky Clubs is expensive and generally not worth the price. I’ll stick with my house red for the time being. But this was a fun test to undertake.
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