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Well, this stinks. At the first of the year (as I have year, after year, after year – after year) I tested buying with a computer Delta e-gift cards for my Amex Platinum Cards (learn more here) travel credit rebate. I did this for a number of reasons. First, I tend to fly Delta a lot and it is nice to lock in the credits because Delta gift cards never expire (you just have to track them yourself – no way to save them on Delta.com). I could choose another airline for credit (that still works with gift cards) but why when this works.
I started getting reader reports that at some point during 2019 this long, long, long term way of locking in value died. So I tested early in June with a new Amex Platinum card (learn more here) and… Yep… It worked just fine. This is in spite of the T&C from Amex about what qualifies:
“Statement Credits: Incidental air travel fees must be charged to the Card Member on the eligible Card Account for the benefit to apply. Incidental air travel fees charged by both the Basic and Additional Card Members on the eligible Card Account are eligible for statement credits. However, each Card Account is eligible for up to a total of $200 per calendar year in statement credits across all Cards on the Account. Incidental air travel fees must be separate charges from airline ticket charges. Fees not charged by the Card Member’s airline of choice (e.g. wireless internet and fees incurred with airline alliance partners) do not qualify for statement credits. Incidental air travel fees charged prior to selection of a qualifying airline are not eligible for statement credits. Airline tickets, upgrades, mileage points purchases, mileage points transfer fees, gift cards, duty free purchases, and award tickets are not deemed to be incidental fees. The airline must submit the charge under the appropriate merchant code, industry code, or required service or product identifier for the charge to be recognized as an incidental air travel fee. Please allow 2-4 weeks after the qualifying incidental air travel fee is charged to your Card Account for statement credit(s) to be posted to the Account. We rely on airlines to submit the correct information on airline transactions, so please call the number on the back of the Card if statement credits have not posted after 4 weeks from the date of purchase. Card Members remain responsible for timely payment of all charges. To be eligible for this benefit, Card Account(s) must be not canceled and not past due at the time of statement credit fulfillment.” – From Amex (bold mine)
And when I posted my reconfirmed post a number of readers reported in the comments section of the post they also had success with getting the credit just as I have. But reports, over the past month, have kept coming in that it is now REALLY dead for good. So I re-re-tested.
If you take a look at the screenshot above you will see that my $50 charge from this month, July, has yet to credit (normally it only takes a few days). Grrr…. That stinks!
What I take from this is this: Buying Delta gift cards for the yearly credit may be really dead now — or it may just be a tech hiccup that goes away. Either way, it is no longer a confirmed and a reliable option year after year as it has been for the better part of a decade. So what now.
If you again look at my statement screenshot above you will notice a few credits. These are from the fees from booking an award ticket. That, also as it has for many, many years, is working. Will it keep working? Who knows – but it should. That is how I will now use my credits. But what else should work with Delta?
- Paying for gift cards inside the Delta Sky Clubs should still work. Normally I would never ever recommend this as you can buy Delta gift cards at greatly discounted prices at retail stores when there are sales or Amex Offers for You that you can stack (as well as paying with the right card for max points). But after this latest change this could be a workaround and the $100 cards should be fine.
- Paying for guest to enter the Sky Club with you should still trigger the credits. Some really like this way of getting credit each year (I am not a fan but to each his / her own).
- Paying for Sky Club membership. Now I can not fathom why you would do this as the Amex Platinum cards (learn more about the personal and business flavors) get you in when you are flying Delta and Delta Sky Club membership is completely pointless from 2019 forward but it should work if you want to do this.
- Paying for bag fees. I really dislike this one as well because if you are any kind of even semi- regular Delta flyer you should at least hold the Delta Amex Gold card (learn more here) to get free bags for you and those who fly with you on the same reservation. But, for this post, it should work for the credit.
- Paying for things onboard Delta jets should still also get you full credit like food and drinks. Just keep in mind that the one thing onboard that does NOT — and has never — worked is buying Gogo as that is not billed by Delta (as of this post anyway).
- If you have fees to change a ticket that should also work but I have had reports that if you go over $200 that the trigger does not work. Just know small amounts should be fine.
- Paying for a seat fee. This one can be tricky because if Delta codes this as an “upgrade” it may be rejected. Call this one a YMMV choice.
- Last one that should work is Pet fees. It burns me that Delta not only charges you to take your beloved small pet onboard but they also, even though you paid up, count it against you as one of your free carry-on allowances.
Do note I did not call Amex to see about manually having the credit issued now that it no longer posts. It could work but I really don’t want to go that route (bad things can happen when you call). So, have I missed anything? Are there other Delta related charges you have received credit for that I have missed in my list above? Let us know in the comments below! – René
- What AMEX card(s) am I going for next?
- Do you need an EIN number for business cards?
- Do business cards show up on your credit report?
- What Qualifies for the $50 Statement Credit on the Delta Gold Card(s)?
- Does the AMEX 4/5 card rule count business cards?
- What impact does a Delta business card have on MQD exempt spending? <- Coming soon
I am constantly stunned how many times readers make simple mistakes that cost them so many points. The first mistake is NOT reading this post that, if you do screen shots, gives you the in print proof you need, that is, what cards does AMEX says you have ever had (since the new card bonus is now just 1x ever in your lifetime with AMEX).
The next major failing so many just dismiss out of hand are business travel cards. Notice a trend in my shot above and this is just from AMEX. Yep, I tend to gravitate towards business cards because the new card bonus deals can be a great way to really build my points needed and expand how many cards I can get each year. Let’s look at the current Delta AMEX gold cards for an example:
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (learn more)
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express (learn more)
My guess is most readers have had the personal AMEX Gold card sometime in their life (if not, you should really consider taking advantage of this amazing limited time offer). But I venture to guess most have NOT had the business AMEX gold card ever. In other words:
Good news for you – you can get in on the current deal. Even if you have had, or even recently applied for, any or ALL of the other 3 personal Delta AMEX cards you can get the new card bonus for any or all of the business cards right now! Keep in mind all 3 personal and all 3 business Delta AMEX cards are viewed as unique products so you can get bonus for each (but only once each ever). And that is where my choice of this round will come into play.
I have had my business Delta AMEX Reserve card (learn more) forever. I use it and run $60,000 a year on it. I enjoy the bonus MQMs and bonus SkyMiles I get from this spending. I get more upgrades by holding this card (including my wife soon). When I was not a Diamond the card got me into Sky Clubs. I use other ways to offset the fee each year. I could go on and on, but holding this card does NOT exclude me from getting the Delta AMEX Gold business card bonus of 50,000 points OFFER EXPIRED. Please learn about the current Welcome Bonus) as well as a $50 statement credit for buying just about anything onboard like a “Flight Fuel” cheese plate (any charge will trigger the full credit btw).
The bottom line is I would be foolish, during the current promotion, not to take 50k points that I personally value at 1.5-2 cents each as well as the $50 credit all with no fee the 1st year! This is not really a hard choice at all when you think about it.
Are you taking advantage of all the points business cards offer you yet? – René