A reader posed an interesting question regarding Delta “bumpertunities” (voluntarily denied boarding) and gift cards usually offered as compensation.
Because you, too, may wonder the same thing, I thought it would be a fun topic to discuss.
When a flight is oversold and you volunteer your seat in exchange to take a later flight, Delta will compensate you in one of two ways:
- Delta Air Lines flight voucher (depending on your departure airport)
- Gift card you choose from a selection provided by Delta
Personally, I love that Delta usually offers gift cards. Most of them don’t expire (as opposed to vouchers, which do) and there’s plenty of options to suit your specific needs.
Which Gift Cards Does Delta Offer for Bumps?
When I was bumped a few months ago, my gift card choices were:
- American Express
- Best Buy
- Delta Air Lines
- Royal Caribbean
Only the American Express gift cards expire — but you have ample time to use them.
Can I use Delta bump gift cards to purchase partner MQD runs? ie Quito on AEROMEXICO?
So What is the “Best” Gift Card to Choose?
Which gift card should you select if you’re bumped?
One you’ll actually use — and spend its entire balance.
Say you have a $1000 bump and choose a Best Buy gift card. Make sure you will actually spend all $1000 at Best Buy. Using only $800 and struggling to spend the other $200 is a waste. See what I’m saying?
When my wife and I were expecting our daughter, we selected Amazon gift cards and Delta gift cards. The Amazon gift cards paid for diapers, toys, and other baby-related items we needed. (Anyone who has kids knows how darn expensive they are; it wasn’t hard spending down those gift cards.) The Delta gift cards bought flights for my wife and me to bring our little girl to visit relatives a few months after she was born. 🙂 (Remember, Delta gift cards earn full MQM, MQD, MQS, and SkyMiles. And don’t expire.)
We also like American Express gift cards. They can be used anywhere Amex is accepted. They can save you a lot of money on food, clothes, household needs, etc. (If only my daughter’s preschool accepted Amex!)
Plus, they can purchase flights on partner airlines (as René mentioned to Derek) — such as MQD runs. (It’s always especially fun when Delta ends up paying for flights scoring you a ton of miles and MQD!)
Because Amex gift cards are the most versatile option, those are what we recommend.
But, again, as long as you use whatever gift card you choose, there’s really no wrong answer.
What Gift Card Do You Pick?
Which gift card do you select when getting bumped? And why? Please tell us in the below Comments section!
Receive 40,000 bonus SkyMiles and 10,000 bonus MQM after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first three months of approval. Given our SkyMiles valuation, 40,000 SkyMiles equals at least $400 worth of Delta travel.
Points Earnings (Through January 29, 2020)
- 2X SkyMiles on Delta purchases
- 1X SkyMiles on all other purchases
Points Earnings (Effective January 30, 2020)
- 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases
- 1.5X SkyMiles on purchases after you spend $150,000 on the card during a calendar year
- 1X SkyMiles on all other purchases
Bonus MQM (Through December 31, 2019)
Enjoy 15,000 bonus MQM and 15,000 bonus redeemable SkyMiles if you spend $30,000 on your new card before December 31, 2019. Earn an additional 15,000 bonus MQM and 15,000 bonus redeemable SkyMiles if rack up another $30,000 on the card before December 31.
Status Boost (Beginning January 30, 2020)
Enjoy 15,000 bonus MQM each time you spend $30,000 during a calendar year. The most Status Boost MQM you can receive with this card is 60,000 MQM ($120,000 spend during a calendar year).
Delta Sky Club Access
Enjoy complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs when traveling on a same-day Delta Air Lines flight. (Read our reviews of Delta Sky Clubs.)
Plus — effective January 30, 2020 — receive two guest passes each year to Delta Sky Clubs. A nice perk if you’re traveling with people who don’t have Delta Sky Club access through their own Reserve card or the American Express Platinum cards.
American Express Centurion Lounge Access (Effective January 30, 2020)
You’ll have free admission (provided the club isn’t closed to overcrowding) to American Express Centurion Lounges before a same-day Delta Air Lines-operated or -marketed flight. (Read our reviews of American Express Centurion Lounges.)
Upgrade Priority for Medallion Members
Holding a Delta Reserve card serves as tie-breaker for complimentary Medallion upgrades.
Complimentary Upgrades for Non-Medallion Members (Effective January 30, 2020)
Non-elites who hold the Delta Reserve card will eligible for complimentary domestic upgrades (US 50) to Delta One, first class, and Comfort Plus — space providing, after Medallion members and their companions have been upgraded.
Spend $25,000 on this — or across any of your Delta Amexes, provided you hold a Platinum or Reserve card — and don’t worry about the MQD requirements for Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion.
Beginning the second year of holding the card, you’ll receive upon renewal a certificate for a free (except for taxes and fees) companion first class or coach qualifying fares on Delta. Read our Companion Certificate FAQ.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee Credit (effective January 30, 2020)
Delta Travel Perks
- Free first checked bag for you and up to eight others on your itinerary/PNR
- 20% statement credit on purchases made aboard Delta Air Lines flights (premium food, beverages, headsets, etc)
- Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding
- Pay with Miles eligibility
$450 the first year. Then $550 beginning the second year you hold the card.
Who Should Have This Card?
Business owners/independent contractors who are frequent Delta travelers and lounge access. Plus, if you can spend a lot of money on this card, you’ll love the Status Boosts.
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