Rookie Wednesday: Don’t Request Missing Delta Partner Credit Too Fast (Plus Other “Don’ts”)

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

RenesPoints Rookie

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

Wait – NOOOO – Not Q fare Delta!

One of the hands down best ways to rack up a boatload of points (and MQDs credit) with Delta is via their partners. However, one great partner AeroMexico, is notorious for sending over the WRONG fare class information to Delta often due to Y-UP fares (#ProTip – Want a custom mileage run from your home airport? We have a team ready to help you).

But take a gander at the screenshot above from the Delta.com page about requesting missing credits. I was waiting for one of this year’s AeroMexico runs to post and wanted to hurry it along. Thankfully, I looked closely and did not take it to the next step. Why? Notice the indicated fare class in the screenshot? Yep – “Q” – when I had flown and paid for “I”. The difference between the two fare classes in earnings is MASSIVE. So I just waited and the correct numbers did post. This is one simple “don’t” but let’s look at some others today.

  • Don’t set a simple password on Delta.com. If you use the same password for Delta as other sites you are asking for trouble. Oh, and please make your password REALLY hard and long. There are currently any number of threads on social media about folks’ Delta accounts being hacked and drained to zero!
  • Don’t upgrade Delta Amex cards. Over the 8 years while I was full-time blogging I loved answering literally thousands of reader emails – other than one kind – that asked if they should upgrade (or downgrade) a Delta Amex card. NOOOOOOO! Never ever do this as you burn your 1x lifetime shot at a new card bonus. Apply for a new Delta Amex card THEN close the old card if you wish to do so.
  • Don’t pay for checked bags! OK if you have a steam trunk you may not be able to get it through the TSA machine but many bags do fit. Why pay Delta when you can take the bag to the gate and then get them to check it for free!
  • Don’t cancel a Delta Amex card too soon. Please please please never ever cancel an Amex card short of 365 days since you were approved. The reasons why are many. First off, they can claw back the new card bonus. Next, in the case of the Delta Amex Platinum Card (learn more here) or the Delta Amex Reserve card (learn more here) you get a BOGO cert year 2 (and thereafter) of card membership. Once loaded to Delta.com it does not go away even if you cancel the card. So if you are going to cancel wait till it loads in before you close an account.
  • Don’t let a Delta Amex BOGO go unspent. With the above in mind, you can book tickets for any two people you want with your BOGO cert and you can pay for the tickets with ANY Amex card (not just the card you got the cert from). So check the fly by expiration date and make sure someone enjoys the savings of a free +1 ticket (free plus tax that is). See post E22 in the Essentials tab for more help with this.
  • Don’t ever buy MQMs from Delta in December. I hate, I mean really HATE, when folks do not plan ahead and end up donating money to Delta Air Lines. Please take the time to look now what points you think you will need and plan accordingly. Either buy up to 1st class if the price is right to earn extra points or book a mileage “fun run” somewhere. Do not give free cash to Delta!
  • Don’t buy Delta tickets with a Delta Amex card. Wait – what? But I can earn 2x and help reach my spend goals for the year. Yeah, well, you can earn 5x much more valuable Membership Rewards points if you pay with the (non-Delta) Amex Platinum card (learn more here). You can send those instantly to Delta if you wish and you can see that 5x is clearly better than 2x. Find other things to reach spend goals with your Delta Amex cards.
  • Don’t assume a flight is not oversold due to open seats in the Fly Delta App. There is so much we do not see plus the day of flight things are always changing. Other flights can cancel and roll to yours and a wide-open flight could be oversold in a moments notice. Always print an extra boarding pass and ask the gate agent if the flight is oversold (and give them the extra paper copy to hold).

These are my major “don’ts” when it comes to being a frequent Delta flyer. I bet I have left a few out and sharp readers can help us out. Are there other Delta don’ts that you always cringe when people do? Please let us know in the comments below! – René

 

Global Entry Interviews Being Canceled Due to Southern Border Situation

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

Global Entry logo

A friend of mine was excited about her recent Global Entry interview — until Customs and Border Patrol abruptly canceled the appointment. Continue reading

Mobile Passport APP Makes U.S. Re-Entry Fast and Easy and it’s FREE!

René’s Points for Better Travel has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. René’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. This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our advertising policy, visit visit this page.

A guest post by John @laptoptravel

Mobile Passport_Logo

I have been using Mobile Passport for more than 18 months

Global Entry has been touted as the ultimate credentials for international travelers to have.  After all, it does speed up re-entry into the United States through expedited kiosks and lines in most major airports.  I am not against that program but I have been using another program that has worked really well for me over the past year and a half; Mobile Passport.

Mobile Passport

Mobile Passport, which is Authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and sponsored by North America’s Airports Council International (ACI), is a free mobile application developed by travel app developer Airside Mobile to enable U.S. and Canadian passport holders with Android devices, iPhones and iPads to dispense with filling out paper customs declarations forms while travelling internationally through certain airports.  Currently the following U.S. airports support Mobile Passport with dedicated expedited lanes; Airports: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Francisco, San Jose, CA, and Seattle. The first mobile app of its kind, Mobile Passport could eventually serve as a customs-only alternative to Global Entry expedited airport security status.

Smartphones and Tablets

Eligible travelers with a smartphone or tablet can download the Mobile Passport Control app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Travelers will be prompted to create a profile via the app with their passport information. The profile includes the traveler’s name, gender, date of birth, and country of citizenship. Upon landing in the United States, travelers will complete the “New Trip” section by selecting their arrival airport and airline, taking a self-photo, and answering a series of customs declaration questions. Once the traveler submits their customs declaration form through the app, the traveler will receive an electronic receipt with an Encrypted Quick Response (QR) code. This receipt will expire four hours after being issued. Travelers then bring their passport and mobile device with their digital bar-coded receipt to a CBP officer to finalize their inspection for entry into the United States.

It’s Free!

This app is Free!  There are no costs associated with getting it or using it.  That makes it a great deal, especially as the US Customs and Border Patrol continue to expand its use into more U.S. airports. Eventually it will be at all major airports making my travel (and yours) potentially much easier on re-entry.

Companions and Family Travel

The app is perfect for passport holders who are traveling together.  One Mobile Passport record can cover records for up to four people traveling in the same party.  This is a huge time-saver.

The Mobile Passport Control (MPC) pilot launched in August 2014 for eligible travelers arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and is now available to passengers arriving at eight U.S. airports. MPC is expected to expand to more airports later this spring and CBP has committed to expand the program to the 20 airports with the highest volumes of international travelers by the end of 2016.

Upon returning from your international trip, the app’s New Trip section accesses your profile info and allows you to fill out a digital customs declaration form.

Each time you return from an international trip, you’ll need to access Wi-Fi either in the air or upon landing at the airport in order to fill out the app’s “New Trip” section, which requires you to enter your flight info and answer customs declaration questions.

Each time you fill out a customs form for a trip, you’ll be given a digital receipt that must be scanned at an express passport lane.

How to Use It

Using the passport app is a simple five step process:

Step 1: Create a profile with your passport information, name, gender, birthday and citizenship information.

 mobile-passport-profilemobile-passport-newtrip  

Step 2: When your plane lands, go to the “New Trip” section. Select your airport and airline. Then, take a selfie and answer the standard customs declaration questions.

Step 3: Hit the “Submit” button. You’ll receive a receipt with a QR code.

 mobile-passport-receipt

Step 4: Bring your phone and your passport to a customs officer. There’s a special “fast lane” for people who are using the app to go through customs.

Step 5: Do what the CBP officer tells you to. Even with the app, they may need to ask more questions or to check your bags.

 My Personal Experiences with Mobile Passport

From my own practical experience I used this app on a recent Mileage Run back from Lima, Peru and also from Mexico.  Prior to departing from Lima I had met and spent a great deal of time talking with two American couples who were interested in my travels and blog.  As we were exiting the plane in Atlanta they told me “you’ve been through this before; we’re just stick with you and you can show us what lines to go through.” I asked them if they had Mobile Passport but none of them had ever heard of this app.  I politely told them they would have to go through the ‘normal’ channels and that I would be going through the expedited Mobile Passport lines.  Upon arrival in Atlanta my re-entry into the United States was rather smooth and quick.  I simply held up my Mobile Passport entry page and flashed it along as I headed for the dedicated lanes.

Eventually, I made it to all the waiting lines that are separated by those straps which makes lanes (like at an amusement park.)  I saw a lane that said “Diplomatic Passports and Mobile Passport.”  My newly-made friends were still tagging with me.  As I approached that lane (which had no one in it) the Border Patrol officer in the airport waived me off like “you cannot enter here” but I waived my Mobile Passport and she said “Oh yes, please this way.”  As the only person in the lane I was in and out as fast as my feet could walk.  I found myself through the entire process in less than five minutes and seemed to be the first one through from our plane.

I was then able to make way to my connecting flight to JFK.  In fact, since I made up so much time re-entering the United States I made use of Delta’s Same-Day Change rule and hopped on an earlier flight to New York, which allowed me to take an even earlier flight from there on to Los Angeles.

Returning from Costa Rica (as part of an Elite Mileage Run) just a few weeks prior, I queued up the Mobile Passport app as soon as our wheels touched the runway in Atlanta.  I was able to walk right through Customs and Border Patrol with no wait at all.

In both cases, I looked back and saw nearly the entire contents of aircraft’s passengers behind me in these queues.  I am loving Mobile Passport.

Isn’t technology wonderful? Have you used the new passport control app? Let us know in the comments! I hope you find this guest post today on RenéPoints blog helpful for your travels!  – John @laptoptravel