Why and How Delta Flyers Can Benefit from Chase Ultimate Rewards

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.

This view of a gorgeous sunset on an awesome cruise was paid for with Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

For better or worse, I’m a loyal Delta flyer. Delta’s co-branded American Express cards sort of come with that territory. But Chase’s credit cards, however, are starting to pique my interest (especially now that I’m finally dipping under 5/24!) when it comes to actual point accrual and redemption. And their low to no annual fees sure are interesting, too. Continue reading

Rookie Wednesday: Positioning Trips to Start an Elite Mileage Run

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.

Rene's Points Rookie travel post.

Discovering a great mileage run deal from your home airport or city is always fantastic.

But what if you live somewhere like Omaha, Bismarck, or Casper — and most of the good runs begin in Chicago, New York, Vegas, or somewhere in California?

Take a positioning trip to wherever your mileage run starts!

While not ideal, it may be your only choice. (Don’t forget Adam at Juicy Miles can personalize an MQM or MQD run for you!)

“But that’s more time and money!” you may fear.

Time, yes.

Money? Maybe not. Or at least, not as much as you think. Using some points and credit card benefits, it can be done. Continue reading

Will Delta Change Sky Clubs to Match 3 Hours Before Flight Like Centurion and “The Club” Lounges? What Else may Change Before Year end?

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 view from the balcony inside the Seattle Airport Delta Sky Club in Terminal A at SeaTac.

The Flagship Delta Sky Club in SEA

The past year has been brutal. It started with the wildly popular and successful American Express Centurion lounges gutting the value of the clubs by limiting the access to only 3 hours before flight for holders of the Amex Platinum personal (learn more and compare) or business cards (learn more and compare). They also dumped access upon arrival and limited spa access to 1x per visit from unlimited based on availability. The latter two really are the biggest impact and reduction in value for the sizable annual fees the cards charge. Amex really could have made better choices and I feel many have chosen not to renew their cards due to these harsh changes. A mistake IMO because the cards still offer huge value to those who know how to utilize them.

Last week we learned that “The Club” Lounges, that are part of the Priority Pass network, have chosen to copy the horrid Amex Centurion lounge access rules starting 1 September 2019. Continue reading

Construction Causes TSA Line Problems at MSP

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Frustrated man at airport

(©iStock.com/fizkes)

If you’re based in Minneapolis-St. Paul — or travel there — prepare for TSA security line headaches at MSP. Continue reading

Save Big Money on Luggage — Stack Cashback with This Amex Offer!

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.
Save money with Amex Offers and cashback portals!

(Photo: ©iStock.com/ceazars)

Need some luggage, a laptop case, or backpack for the upcoming school year? Check your Amex cards for an eBags Amex Offer — and stack with cashback portals! Continue reading

How Amex Can Modify the $200 Airline Credit to Make Cardmembers Happy

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.

The Platinum Card from American Express.

Learn more about the Platinum Card from American Express at https://renespoints.boardingarea.com/amexplat

Monday’s post about airline gift cards no longer (reliably) crediting back as part of Amex Platinum and Amex Gold airline incidentals wasn’t happy news for most people. Continue reading

UN-CONFIRMED: Buying Delta Gift Cards for Amex Platinum Cards Now DEAD?! What Still Works for Delta Flyers Yearly $200 Travel Credit Reimbursements.

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.

$50 Delta.com Gift card credit seems really DEAD now sad to say!

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.

My new cards over the past few months!

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.

**RELATED POST: American Express’ Internal Costs Reach Record High – What Does It Mean for Card Holders?**

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?

These should still work in Sky Clubs!

  • 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 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.

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

 

Uber Driver Offers Special “Conversation Menu” to His Passengers

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Hight resolution Uber logo.

An Uber driver created a special “conversation menu” for his passengers, offering to talk (or not) about various topics including restaurants, politics, himself, or other options. Continue reading

Our Top Travel and Cash Card Offers for July 2019 Worth Considering!

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.

Bolongo Bay Beach Resort Review RenesPoints Travel Blog (17)

Any plans to travel late this summer or fall? Booking flights and hotels for winter travel season yet? Well, now is the time start earning enrollment bonuses — and use credit cards points to book holiday travel. Here are some of the best travel credit cards and cashback card welcome bonuses available right now!

 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is great for several reasons.

  • Its current welcome bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (after you spend $4000 within the first three months of being approved) equates to about $750 in travel when redeeming through Chase’s travel portal.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards are transferrable more than a dozen hotel and airline partners.
  • The card earns double points on dining and travel (one point on everything else).
  • The welcome bonus easily offsets the Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s $95 annual fee.

Not to mention, you’ll receive access to the Luxury Resort & Hotel Collection — whose benefits include:

  • Daily breakfast for two (up to $30 per person or $60 total)
  • $100 resort or spa credit (depending on the property)
  • Room upgrades when available
  • Early and late checkout when available
  • Complimentary WiFi

If you used Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts in Las Vegas, keep in mind Sin City FHR properties no longer offer resort credit. The Chase Sapphire Preferred — whose annual fee is almost 80% less than the Platinum Card from American Express Platinum (learn more) and Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN (learn more) scores you more luxury hotel benefits for much cheaper.

Remember that Ultimate Rewards earned through the Chase Sapphire Preferred can be pooled with those from other Chase cards (such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom).

Learn more and read a review about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

 

 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (learn more)

Capital One Venture travel rewards credit card.

Miles earned through the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (learn more and read a review of this card) can be used with any airline or hotel.

The annual fee is waived the first year. Beginning year two, it’s $95 annually. If you take advantage of the card’s $100 Global Entry credit, you’re not really out of pocket for any annual fees until year three. (If the annual fee really is deal-breaker, check out and consider the Capital One VentureOne credit card.)

You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3000 on the card within three months of being approved.

Each dollar spent — no matter what category — earns two miles. Except for that hefty 10 points per dollar on Hotels.com purchases booked through Venture’s portal.

Learn more and read a review about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

 

 

Passengers board a Southwest 737 at Hollywood Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR) in Burbank, California.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

What?! Why is a Southwest credit card being recommended on a site that focuses on Delta stuff?!

Simple: its welcome bonus is lucrative for the minimum spend required. You’ll earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending only $1000 within three months of being approved. Not to mention its annual travel credit makes the card worth more than lower annual fee cards.

The card has a $149 fee — but comes with a $75 Southwest annual travel credit. Essentially, that reduces your “out of pocket” to $74 (assuming you use the travel credit). That basically makes this card $25 cheaper than the lower annual fee Southwest Premier Card — which does not have any travel credit.

Not to mention, you’re annually gifted 7,500 anniversary points starting year two. Just because Southwest and Chase LUV having you as a cardmember.

You’ll also enjoy these additional benefits not available on the other Southwest consumer cards:

  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year (when available) put you in boarding group A1-15.
  • 20% credit on inflight drinks and WiFi

The only thing I don’t like about this card are its earnings:

  • 2X points per $1 spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases.
  • 1X on everything else.

(Seems someone took a page out of the Delta Amex playbook.)

Business-owners: check out the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card — and combine those miles with the Southwest Premier Card to earn yourself a cool 100,000 Rapid Rewards points — which almost qualifies you for A-list status.

Special note to Los Angeles-area travelers on short hops (i.e. Las Vegas, Bay Area, Phoenix, Sacramento, etc): get this card and fly Southwest out of Burbank until construction at LAX is done. Whenever that will be.

Read a review and learn more about the Southwest Premier Card!

 

Platinum Card from American Express (learn more)

The Platinum Card from American Express.

The Platinum Card from American Express (personal version).

I know, I know. I griped about the scaling back of Vegas FHR benefits in my section about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. But if FHR isn’t a big deal to you, consider The Platinum Card from American Express.

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points using your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within three months of being approved. Certainly, the highest minimum spend requirement of the bunch we’ll discuss today. Thewelcome bonus isn’t fantastic — but the card’s benefits are. 

Points can be transferred to a number of airlines such as Delta, Aeromexico, Air France/KLM, Cathay Pacific, ANA and more.

The annual fee is also fairly steep: $550. But this card is loaded with perks — taking advantage of them pretty much offsets the fee. (Active duty military and spouses: Amex waives annual fees for you.)

  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That’s a potential $200 in annual Uber savings!
  • $100 Global Entry credit every four years.
  • Get up to $200 in airline fee statement credit each calendar year! Select an airline of your choice and receive credit for charges such as onboard food and beverage, baggage, and certain other purchases.
  • Like shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue? You’ll love the $100 annual statement credit for Saks purchases (enrollment required).

So right there is $525 in annual savings.

Lounge Access Earns You Back the Rest

The Amex Platinum offers a plethora of airport lounge access — with complimentary meals, snacks, and beverages. In other words, stop paying for airport meals and cocktails where there’s a lounge!

The Centurion Lounge at Dallas (DFW)

  • Receive complimentary Delta Sky Club admission when flying Delta Air Lines.
  • Complimentary Centurion Lounge airport club access for you and up to two guests.
  • Amex gives you free Priority Pass Select membership — good for admission at participating airport lounges worldwide. You and up to two guests can enjoy this great perk!
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection.

Points Earnings

  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Earn 1X Membership Rewards points on all other purchases (meh — I know)

Hotel Status and Credits

  • Complimentary gold status with two hotel brands: Marriott and Hilton. Besides the occasional upgrade, status can score you late checkout, early check-in, and more.
  • Receive complimentary benefits such as daily breakfast for two, resort or spa credit, upgrades, late check out and early check in when available and more with Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Charge Card

Keep in mind The Platinum Card from American Express (learn more) is a charge card — not a credit card.

Read a review of and learn more about The Platinum Card from American Express.

 

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

I swore I’d never get this card (SPOILER ALERT: I did) because, like René and many other travelers, I was upset when IHG majorly devalued the previous card’s yearly anniversary free night at any IHG property worldwide. They’ve since capped the redemption to properties that are 40,000 points and less.

So why did I get this card? The welcome bonus and second anniversary night. Receive 80,000 IHG points after you spend $2000 during the first three months of holding the card. Plus, a hotel room for $89 (the card’s annual fee) is still a good deal. (Note the anniversary night kicks in year two. But you can have some good with the 80,000 welcome bonus points until then)

The card’s complimentary Platinum elite status has scored me a hospitality suite, some minor room upgrades, and plenty of early check-ins and check-outs.

Points Earnings

  • Earn 25 points total (yes, you read that right: 25.) per dollar spent during IHG stays. (I’m going rack up points, believe you me, during my stay at the Chicago Seminars this year.)
  • Earn two points per buck spent on gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

And the card comes with a $100 Global Entry credit every four years.

Again, I hold this card because I received a great welcome bonus — and I also value the anniversary night.

If you hold the old/now-defunct IHG Rewards Club, pool that card’s anniversary night with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card‘s. You’re essentially getting hotel night each year for a total of $138.

Read a review of and learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

 

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature Credit Card

Most of us aren’t fans that Marriott torpedoed its own loyalty program. So why is the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature Credit Card on our list? It offers a nice welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases during the first three months of being approved.

The card’s $95 annual fee can still score you a discounted room with its anniversary night (good at properties up to 35,000 points) that triggers during year two. The card also bestows you complimentary Silver status with Bonvoy.

How About Its Bonus Categories?

  • 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 6,900 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 2X Bonvoy points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

So the earnings are fairly meh (certainly better than a few other cards). But a nice hotel room for $95 a year is certainly with considering.

Read a review of and learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Visa Signature Credit Card

Cash Back Cards

A stack of money. Heap of one hundred dollar bills on money background. Fake money. Shallow depth of field. Selective focus. (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Maximusnd)

(Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Maximusnd)

I know several people who like travel cards — but prefer cashback options. Here are a few with great bonus category earings and noteworthy welcome bonuses.

 

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card (learn more)

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express (learn more about this card)

You’ll earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1000 on purchases within three months of being approved.

Check out these bonus categories:

  • earn 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets annually
  • earn 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Apple Music, and many others)
  • earn 3% back on transit purchases (think Lyft, Uber, parking, tolls, etc.)
  • earn 3% back at U.S. gas stations
  • earn 1% back on everything else.

The $95 annual fee is easily offset if you spend at least $1600 a year between U.S. supermarkets and streaming services.

Read a review of and learn more about the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.

 

 

US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Card

In addition to an easily met — and generous — welcome bonus, the US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Card lets you pick two categories in which you earn 5% back!

When you spend just $500 in the first three months of being approved, you’ll earn $150 cashback!

Another plus (no pun intended) no annual fee!

Bonus Categories

The US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Card rewards you 5% back on your first $2000 spent each quarter on two of the below categories:

  • TV, Internet, & Streaming Services
  • Fast Food
  • Cell Phone Providers
  • Department Stores
  • Home Utilities
  • Select Clothing Stores
  • Electronics Stores
  • Sporting Goods Stores
  • Movie Theatres
  • Gym/Fitness Centers
  • Furniture Stores
  • Ground Transportation (Lyft, Uber, Yellow Cab, etc)

Earn 2% back on a below category of your choosing:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Gas Stations
  • Restaurant

Everything else earns you 1% cashback.

really like what people can do with this card: tons of earning potential and no annual fee.

Read a review of and learn more about the US Bank Cash Plus Visa Signature Card!

 

Chase Freedom

Another no annual fee cash back card and easy welcome bonus: $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months of being approved.

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories you activate each quarter. The rotating categories include:

  • Gas Stations
  • Tolls
  • Drugstores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Home Improvement Stores
  • Gas Stations
  • Select Streaming Services
  • Department Stores
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Chase Pay

Other eligible purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back.

You can redeem your cash back for several options:

  • Cash Back. Plain and simple.
  • Gift Cards
  • Travel
  • Amazon Shop with Points
  • Apple’s Ultimate Rewards Store

Read a review of and learn more about the Chase Freedom card!

 

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (learn more about this card)

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Learn more about the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Yet another no annual fee card with a simple welcome bonus: $150 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within three months of being approved.

Bonus Categories

  • 3% back on dining and entertainment
  • 2% at grocery stores
  • 1% on all other purchases

Read a review of and learn more about the Capital One SaverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

 

There you have it! We’ll profile some of these cards in-depth in the coming weeks and also update our list in August.

Looking for something but don’t see it here? Remember to check out a full array of travel rewards and cashback cards!

–Chris

Good News for Delta, Bad News for Medallions: Fewer Upgrades Available. How to Improve Your Chances

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.

First class in a Delta Air Lines 737.

During Delta’s quarterly investors’ call this week, mothership brass revealed a surge in premium seat purchases. But more cushy seats sold = fewer seats for Medallions to enjoy complimentary upgrades. Continue reading

Delta Amex Offer Elite Mileage Run: Nashville (BNA) to Seattle (SEA), Same-Day RT, 3954 MQM, 5.4cpm, $217

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 Delta Air Lines 767 is seen from the Delta Sky Club at Seattle SeaTac International Airport - SEA - in Washington state.

Fresh off posting about the Delta Amex Offer with ten strings attached, we found what appears to be a “compliant” mileage run! Continue reading

10 Important Tips About the Amex Offer for Delta Air Lines Flights

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.

DeltaOne 757 jets at JFK airport.

During the long, holiday weekend, American Express released an Amex Offer for Delta flights: spend $200, get $40 back. But be wary of almost a dozen disqualifiers.

An Amex Offer for Delta Air Lines flights to BOS, RDU, and SEA.

Click to see terms and conditions.

I received the offer on my Platinum Card from American Express (learn more). My American Express Gold Card (learn more) and Business Platinum Card (learn more) from American Express OPEN did not receive the offer. (Which is fine because my personal Platinum card earns 5x Membership Rewards points on flights purchased directly through Delta!)

So before you buy gift cards, treat seatmates to rounds of cocktails and Flight Fuel on a flight to anywhere, or guest your family into a Sky Club, read these little caveats.

  1. This is a big one: this Amex Offer for Delta purchases is valid only for flights whose destination is either:
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Raleigh-Durham (RDU)
  • Seattle (SEA).

So if you’re looking for a reason to visit one of those three cities, here’s the perfect opportunity! (And possibly a way to save money on a Delta Medallion status match!)

If your home airport is one of those three, it appears a roundtrip to anywhere someplace than the other two does not qualify. For example, if you fly from Boston, only roundtrips to Seattle or Raleigh-Durham will be eligible for the credit. (Doctor of Credit reports there’s another offer from BOS, RDU or SEA to any airport in the USA.)

What’s up with those three destinations? Delta recently crowned Boston its newest hub. Raleigh-Durham is a Delta “focus city.” And I’m pretty sure Delta just wants to crush Alaska Airlines in Seattle.

 

However —

  1. Itineraries with connections are not eligible. People not living somewhere with nonstops to BOS, SEA, or RDU will have to begin a separate trip to a city that does. For example, I can’t go BUR-ATL-RDU. My only close option is LAX-RDU.
  2. Multi-city and one way flights also are not eligible.
  3. Only the base fare is eligible toward the Amex Offer. Taxes, other fees, Gogo WiFi, travel insurance, mileage boosters (but you already know not to buy that) don’t apply.
  4. The terms specifically mention the Amex Offer is good for flights only. Gift cards, Sky Club guest passes, onboard food and beverage, etc., should not credit.
  5. Reservations must be made directly with Delta: via the Fly Delta app, Delta.com, or main reservation phone number (800-221-2121). I bet reservations made through Medallion phone numbers will work, too. Reservations made through online travel agencies (i.e. Priceline, Kayak, Amex Travel) are not eligible for the credit.
  6. Nothing in the terms excludes Pay with Miles tickets. Remaining cash balances after applying SkyPennies should qualify for this offer.
  7. Likewise, the paid fare of a BOGOF companion ticket obtained through a Delta American Express Platinum personal (learn more) or business card (learn more) or Delta Reserve Amex personal (learn more) or business card (learn more) should qualify, as well. Remember: you can use any credit card to pay for the cash portion of a companion pass. You’re not obligated to use the Delta Amex Platinum or Reserve card through which you obtained the BOGOF.
  8. $200 minimum fare(s) must be purchased by September 5. Nothing in the terms says flights must be completed by that date. So this may be a good opportunity to save some money on holiday flights to BOS, SEA, or RDU.
  9. Delta Private Jets and On Demand Charter services aren’t eligible for this offer. (Oh, how I wish that were a dealbreaker for me.)

We’ll see if there are any good Elite Mileage Runs to any of these three cities. (Because there are so many restrictions to this Amex Offer, consider contacting our friend Adam to customize a trip for you!)

UPDATE

We found a mileage run that appears to work with the Amex Offer restrictions!

Hat tip: Points, Miles, and Martinis. (Which, coincidentally, are three wonderful things!)

Amex Eliminates FHR Resort Credit in Vegas? What’s the Solution?

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Select Las Vegas Fine Hotels and Resorts and Chase Luxury Hotels and Resorts are seen on the Las Vegas Strip. (Photo credit: ©iStock.com/d25higgins)

(Photo credit: ©iStock.com/d25higgins)

American Express appears to have eliminated a key perk of Fine Hotels & Resorts in Las Vegas: no more $100 resort credit. But a much cheaper credit card is here to save us! Continue reading

Post-Independence Day Thoughts: Being a Travel Loyalty Program “Free Agent”

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.
Handsome young man is standing near the panoramic window in airport terminal with suitcase while waiting for the flight.

©iStock.com/Vasyl Dolmatov

While my friends, family, and I enjoyed some Fourth of July festivities Thursday (and rode out an earthquake!) the subject of travel inevitably came up. Continue reading

#FAIL – Delta Gate Agent Sets His Own Policy Against Upgrading Families

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.

It’s no secret Delta has been  accused  caught with upgrade shenanigans (or “shena” as it’s become known).

I’ve personally experienced it twice: once on an LAX to SEA flight about four years ago when I held the number one spot on the upgrade list and they gave it to the number two person.

The second happened last November while traveling with my family.

The Perfect End to a Fun, Family Week?

My wife, daughter, and I spent part of Thanksgiving week in my hometown of Fargo, North Dakota. Our daughter was about a year and a half old. Thus, she traveled as an infant-in-arms.

She took her first flight at the ripe, old age of three months. She’s since been on almost ten trips — and ridden in Delta’s first class nearly 20 times (most of our travels include at least one connection each way). An overwhelming number of those first class experiences were through my Diamond or Platinum Medallion upgrades. A few were paid first class tickets using Membership Rewards and the American Express Business Platinum Card (learn more).

Father, mother, and infant sitting in Delta first class: the fabulous flying Carleys!

The Fabulous Flying Carleys

We thought the perfect end to such a fun holiday week would be Diamond Medallion complimentary first class upgrades for our MSP to LAX flight home.

While relaxing in the C concourse Sky Club, I monitored the Fly Delta app’s Upgrade & Standby List — partly for the first class upgrade list, partly for the standby list in hopes of a #bumpertunity! (Sadly, the flight wasn’t oversold.)

First class-wise, my wife and I held the top two spots with four first class seats remaining — including a pair together! Perfect!

But many of us know the upgrade list can be volatile: same day change (SDC), last-minute ticket or upgrade purchases, IROPS, or other factors can come into play. We tried not to get our hopes up.

While walking to the gate, the list’s number three holder was upgraded to first class — but we weren’t.

That’s when I decided to start screen-shooting the list.

Delta upgrade list from the Fly Delta app

Then the new number three slot holder — “MOM/R” — was upgraded. Still, we were in the number one and two positions — with two seats remaining.

Delta upgrade shenanigans on the Fly Delta app

Hmmm…

Maybe there was a mistake? Or maybe the gate agent cleared upgrades by available seats for some reason instead of Delta’s published upgrade hierarchy? But that couldn’t be — because the two seats together were now gone — only a pair of single seats rows apart remained.

Was shena rearing its ugly head?

I thought about waiting to see what would happen next. Then I remembered something a successful business associate of mine told me is one of his mottos: “If you want something, ask for it. Don’t wait for people to give it to you.”

And that’s what I did.

The Delta Gate Agent with His Own Upgrade Policy

I approached the gate agent, told him my wife and I were the top two holders on the upgrade list, showed him my family’s boarding passes, and politely pointed out that people further down the list were upgraded.

“Yeah, I was looking at that,” he said. “It’s just — I’ve never upgraded someone traveling with a child.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yep,” he replied. “Why? Have you been upgraded before with your child?”

“Yes! Many times.”

This seemed to be a great surprise to him.

“You’ve been upgraded to first class with your infant in arms?” he asked again. Did he think I lied? Was he bewildered why other gate agents and the Delta computer system don’t abide by his personal policy?

“More than a dozen times,” I calmly said. “In fact, we were upgraded twice on this trip. You can check the PNR.”

“Oookay,” he said. “But there aren’t any seats together. You’ll have to see if someone is willing to move or trade seats with you.”

I told him that was fine. He cleared the upgrades, printed our new boarding passes, and I rejoined my wife and daughter. (At this point, Is anyone else curious how many families — or anyone else in general — this Delta policy-eschewing gate agent has denied upgrades?)

I was, admittedly, a little hot under the collar about the whole thing. Naturally, I handled it like a mature, rational adult — and vented on Twitter.

 

 

 

Many people were just as surprised as we, while the peanut gallery chimed in with their predictable snark.

Once on board, a kind person switched seats so my family could sit together. (Interesting aside: there were, like, three different seat swaps already taking place. Everyone was happy.) Our daughter watched her favorite toddler shows, drank milk, ate her weight in Biscoff cookies, and played peek-a-boo with the flight attendants.

Mother and daughter sitting in first class on a Delta Air Lines flight

“HE WHAT?!” — Following Up with Delta

I called the Diamond Medallion Desk a few days later to see if there was a policy — official or informal — about upgrading families flying with infants.

I doubted it but figured I’d check.

I explained the situation to the Diamond Desk agent. When I told her the agent said that he never upgraded someone traveling with a child, she gasped and said “HE WHAT?!”

She said she was certain that wasn’t Delta policy. Nonetheless, she double-checked with a supervisor whom she said was just as shocked. She confirmed that the gate agent was simply making up his own rules.

The Diamond Desk agent checked the flight’s records and confirmed that, indeed, other passengers were upgraded before we were. She apologized profusely and generously deposited 20,000 miles into both my wife’s and my SkyMiles account. That wasn’t why I called, though: I merely wanted to confirm that Delta didn’t have a policy against upgrading families with infants in arms — and to make the airline aware of a specific gate agent taking the rules into his own hands..

Was I a Crybaby? Or Did I Have a Case?

Do I have a right to be a little upset? After all, we received our complimentary first class upgrade and ended up sitting together. So why is Chris complaining? you may say.

Well, upgrades are a major perk of any airline’s loyalty program (at least, the airlines that offer more than a coach product). Loyalty program status is important for many of us. Status holders work by flying (and a few also through credit card spend) to make sure we have the best possible shot at getting upgraded. Upgrades are a major reason — if not the reason —so many flyers pursue the highest possible status that they can attain. When a gate agent discriminates against someone, it’s frustrating.

What Say You?

Have you ever been denied an upgrade — or anything else — because you traveled with a child? Should people traveling with children not be upgraded to business or first class? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. – Chris