Delta SkyMiles


Delta reduced its thresholds for earning elite status for the rest of 2021. Premium cabin fares receive 75% fare class bonuses on MQM, MQD, and MQS. Meanwhile, Main Cabin and Basic Economy earn 50% bonuses. Pay with Miles tickets are included.

Heck, even traditional award tickets can earn points/miles/segments toward Delta elite status this year!

Several cards offer incentives to use their travel booking services to purchase trips and redeem points to offset some or all of your purchase prices. (Think American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Those trips are considered paid, cash fares because Amex, Chase, or whoever cuts a check to the travel provider. So using Delta as an example, you’d earn MQD, MQS, MQM, and redeemable SkyMiles.

Given that some card programs make points more valuable when you redeem them through their programs, those cards can help you save money during your Delta status chase (no credit card pun intended) this year.

Let’s take a closer look using a few examples.

The Companion Certificate benefit that comes with four Delta Amex cards is an excellent way to save money on trips you take with someone.

But I know plenty of people whose Companion Certificates go unused every year. Maybe they’re too busy to use the certs, don’t have a large circle of family or friends with whom they can travel, or they just plain ole forget.

However, there are few ways that may help you — and others — use a Companion Certificate.

I think the people most excited about today’s news that Delta is giving MQM, MQD, and MQS bonuses are probably the hub-captive folks in MSP, DTW, ATL, and SLC.

We found a pretty sweet Delta mileage run from Detroit to Anchorage — in first class. Our estimates based on the 75% bonuses: about 16,856 MQM, 7 MQS, and $1058 MQD. It currently costs $680.50.

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s JFK-DFW single-day trip, we found another Delta elite mileage run for folks in the Big Apple (or those who can position to JFK.)

This is a quick, weekend getaway from JFK to Orange County/Santa Ana, California. And because both legs connect in Seattle, it hauls in a bunch of MQM! (We spotted several weekday dates available throughout April, too.)

If you have an anniversary night certificate from a hotel credit card such as the World of Hyatt Credit Card, IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, etc, this could be a nice opportunity to use it in a fun locale.

CLEAR is being bandied about as a strong possibility for “vaccine passports” that prove if a member has received a COVID-19 vaccination.

Both René and I love the biometric identification service used in several airports, stadiums, and museums. And if you’re not yet a member, keep in mind that Delta flyers — not just elites — can take advantage of some fairly significant CLEAR discounts!

We wrote last week about Delta extending the expiration dates of active, unused Upgrade Certificates — and that certs are now redeemable for award travel and not limited to just one companion.

Upgrade Certificates are Choice Benefits options. And Choice Benefits are available only to Diamond and Platinum Medallion members. So that’s great news for those elites.

But Silver and Gold Medallions might be thinking, Will our loyalty be rewarded like the bone Delta just threw Platinums and Diamonds?

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers a “rookie” topic of either a Delta- or travel-related theme — and attempts to break it down to a basic level. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.

I’ve heard several people say words to the effect of “Well, you can’t have more than one Delta American Express card.” They — and a few others — are also under the assumption you can’t earn bonus MQM from multiple Delta Amex cards.

With the welcome offers available now for Delta Amex cards, this is a good time to tackle those questions.

If you’re like me, you enjoy seeing side-by-side comparisons of products when trying to decide which is the best for you. I figure this is a great chance for us to look at the major differences and similarities between all four cards.

For people who’ve held at least one of these cards, we’d love to hear your input: which cards you like, ones you didn’t, which benefits were the most useful, and which didn’t really live up to your expectations.

Even if you currently have a Delta credit card, you can apply for one you haven’t already held — and still be eligible for its welcome offer. For example, if you hold the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card but want to pad your SkyMiles account, the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card‘s welcome offer could look very tempting (especially considering that card’s annual fee is waived the first year).

If you’re thinking of applying for one of the cards — or even just reevaluating your overall credit card strategy — I hope this makes your decision easier.