Have you been offered AMEX & other gift cards for a bump on Delta Air Lines? Looks sweet to me “BOB”!

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delta paying bumps with prepaid amex cards delta points blog

“Delta Dollars” that is, a Delta bump voucher you got from your latest “bumpertunity” or opportunity to be bumped off a Delta flight are nice but VERY restrictive. How restrictive you ask? Well:

  • They can only be used by YOU (or those with you on same PNR).
  • They can NOT be combined.
  • They expire after one year (another year to fly them).
  • They can ONLY be used to pay for tickets, not extra bits on Delta

So, this Delta “funny money” is nice as it is basically free flying money, but “real” money would be nicer than Delta money. And, for some amazing reasons I can not understand, Delta is testing giving you real money in the form of gift cards. Reader “BOB”, who we all know and love, was kind enough to show not just a photo of the AMEX gift cards he got for a bump, but share what happened to him. I think it is worth a read this weekend!

Last year while lounging in the luxurious LAX Skyclub 3 hrs before my redeye flight to ATL I noticed that the LAX – ATL flight was showing no seats available online. OH YEAH! The Bumpertunity Alert immediately starts to sound!! I then go to the welcome desk and find out that the flight is definitely showing over sold. After having a couple skunky beers or 4 at the club I decide that I had better not waste any time as I had to walk what seems to be 5 miles to get to terminal 6 from terminal 5 for my flight! (I have always been amused how it says “almost there” on the wall at the start of this forever walk through the gerbil tube.)

I then proceed to camp out at the gate agent’s desk 2+ hours early to wait to volunteer for the “bumpertunity”. Interestingly not 5 minutes later another passenger lines up to volunteer. It seems like forever before the gate agents show up and slowly boot up the computers. Naturally myself and the other volunteer had our names put on the paper “list” and proceeded to cling to the desk. During this time we had an opportunity to interact with the Redcoat for the night who was a tenured employee. Turns out the Redcoat is a retired police office and my fellow volunteer is an active police office on a mileage run vacation! They had very interesting stories … which made the long boarding process wait time bearable.

But back to the boarding process – my heart had palpitations when I heard the gate agents request an extra 5 more volunteers! I JUST DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN! Therefore, what seemed to take forever, it came down to the last few passengers when the gate agent said they may not need the extra volunteers. Ruh-Roh! But as it turned out 4 people were given the Bumpertunity! We had assumed all along that the voucher would be for $400 as was the usual … but then the Redcoat said it would be an $800 voucher! BE STILL MY BEATING HEART!

BUT wait – there’s more!!! 🙂

The best Redcoat in the world explains that there is a new test program in a few cities (like you may have seen in MSP recently) where various choices for gift cards are available for choosing instead of having to accept the usual flight vouchers. SHAZAAM! One of the choices is Amex Gift cards! (There were actually a few different gift cards such as Best Buy, Home Depot, and etc. But when I heard AMEX GCs I did not pay attention to the others anyway.) The details were explained to us a couple times after the plane leaves by the gate agents. (By this time in my mind the AMEX GCs had already purchased VDGCs and were then donated to my favorite Bluebird charity) We also received a hotel voucher and 3 food vouchers which were not much use at 12:30 AM+.

Oh and did I mention the immediate upgrade to FC for the early LAX-ATL flight as well? SCORE!

Finally a couple days later an e-mail arrives with the details on how to choose the Gift Cards which then were delivered by express mail a few days later.

The only downside about this little bumping gold mine was that my wife decided she needed half of them to go shopping? She did not seem to care at all that my Bluebird Charity would suffer because of her actions. I think in the future I should only share these stories with Rene when I get gift card bonanzas like this one (what in the world was I thinking). 🙁

As I look back after many Bumpertunities later I really liked that program and wish that Delta would roll it out system wide. Especially because I think that mileage Running may in some ways have morphed into “bumpertunity” running with Delta!

Oh my and thank you BOB! You had me ROARING again and again telling this tale. Yes, from status to AMEX gift cards, I guess there really are ways to get even more value from Delta since $kyRubles are so worthless nowadays!

Now on to my thoughts on this. I am excited to see where this goes. My guess is if they do expand this program it will only be at Delta HUBs not at outside, smaller stations, but I could be wrong on that. Time will tell. Also, if you do have a chance for a higher bump voucher in Delta dollars vs. a lower one in gift cards it may be smarter to take the higher voucher. That really depends on if you are going to fly Delta more or another airline 😉 and want the money from Delta to pay for tickets on THAT airline instead.

Have you had the chance to accept gift cards for a Delta bump yet? – René


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