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What Gift Card Should You Choose When Getting a Delta Bump? (A Rookie Wednesday Post)

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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.


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.

Quick Background

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:

  • Amazon
  • American Express
  • Best Buy
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Macy’s
  • Marriott
  • Nordstrom
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Target

Only the American Express gift cards expire — but you have ample time to use them.

A collage of gift cards.

Reader Derek asked us:

Can I use Delta bump gift cards to purchase partner MQD runs? ie Quito on AEROMEXICO?

René responded:

The only way you can use a Delta bump is to pick an Amex Gift card as your reward vs a Delta e-Credit then yes you can use it on a partner run.

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!

— Chris

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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.


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.

6 Comments

  1. One idea. gift cards as far as I know don’t extend warranties like so many of credit cards do by a year or more, so I would use if for consumables such as food, home supplies, clothes, etc and not for electronics or something I would want an extended warranty on. Just a thought.

  2. The AmEx gift cards expire in 6 months. They are still great because you can use them for anything that accepts AmEx.

  3. My family and I have had 8-10 VDBs in the past year. totaling between $3,000-$4,000. We always take the Amex gift card and immediately put the entire amount into our cellphone bill. I don’t see any upside to selecting any different alternative.

  4. I went with the Amazon gift card. It was a great way to help offsite my holiday shopping.

  5. JohnHace

    Chris, do we still get bonus redeemable miles with the Amex Reserve until January 30, 2020?

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