Another reader request – how to do a retention bonus phone call & when to cancel a card?

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, visit this page.

Some have used my links for a Delta AMEX, and I thank you all so much for supporting the blog, so now you want to know about maximizing miles with a retention bonus. Here are some facts.

1) NEVER cancel a card inside of 6 months. It looks bad on all fronts!
2) ALWAYS DO call about 8-10 months into card ownership for extra points
3) 11 months in call for a change to no fee or more points to stay
4) Be sure to ALWAYS know your what your credit score is. BTW you can
check the impact FREE here
5) With Delta cards cancel and switch may be best move ( personal to biz )

So Rene what are you talking about. Just to let you know, each year I get tons of free points by calling and asking for free points. One year I got 12,000 Delta points for 5 minutes on the phone!

Most card issuers have a “retention” department. If you call and tell them you are thinking about canceling the card and could you please be transferred to the retention department most of the time you will be. You can then tell them you like the card but are thinking of canceling and moving to another card. Is there anything they can do to motivate you to stay with the card like a bonus of some kind. If they say NO, you then ask is there any kind of a CHALLENGE like spend $1000 in the next 90 days to get say 10,000 points? If they still say NO then you say OK I still have some time before my annual fee comes up I will think about my options.

Now what to do. If you keep in mind my first post ever, my best ever advice still stands, if you do not like the answer you get call back (the next day in this case). If still nothing then wait for month 11. If still no bonus then ask for no fee to keep the card one more year. If still no, then ask for a card with no fee. If still no, call back for next rep and ask for all this again. If still no, then you may just have to cancel the card. Now with DELTA AMEX it may just be good to CANCEL the card every 12 months ( do still ask for the bonus points at 8-10 months ) so you can, after 24 months, get the new card bonus again!

I hope the above is NOT confusing. If you need help comment or email me direct for help! – René
.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

 

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

Florida trip #2 for 2012 to get out of the cold with my dear bride 3 days on the beach just $100

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

My dear wife was nice enough to let me and the boys go play for a few days in Florida and for me to see my dad. Well it was her turn to warm up before our next ski trip.

A while back SW Air had a sale fare for DTW-FLL and Delta matched them and I had some $100 vouchers to burn. The little left over I put on my Capital One card to get the two tickets 100% free and will earn 9000 Skymiles. Since we are both Platinum Medallions our upgrades cleared both ways before our outbound departure. We drove to Detroit and I had my first trusted traveler screening. It took what 10 seconds with belt + shoes on and laptop inside backpack. I love it. Next, my wife and I made a quick visit to the OraOxygen spa  ( Jeff is great btw)  we went to relax in the Skyclub before boarding and dinner on the flight down to sunny Florida.

I also used the Delta mobile app for my phone this time and it worked! Check-in, security, skyclub, gate info – it all just worked fine. I do echo what others have said that it works better when you turn up the brightness on your screen to 100% just when using it for scans.

I found us a room at the Crown Plaza Hollywood beach Florida. I e-mailed the hotel and was given a mid-level upgrade from a standard king room to the executive floor king suite.

They have 3 top floor suites and I was offered an upgrade to the last one open for an extra $200 per night. I declined that generous offer. I was hoping for a 5000 point “points break” room but none showed up.  I did have my 1 free night certificate from my Priority Club visa card and I used that plus 50,000 PC points as payment (I will get 5,000 rebate with my PC visa card btw). Not bad when you look at the retail price of this little stay:

This property was outstanding. From the pool, to the views from our room, to the staff, all were top notch and we so enjoyed ourselves and the warm temps for the week!

We spent the days walking the beach, laying out in the sand and by the pool. It was hard but we got used to it as you can see.

Then by night my windfall from Restaurant.com last month did score a home run for me. Both of the restaurants attached to the hotel were included so dinners ended up near or less than ½ price and were very good. Check out my math from dinner the first night when we ate poolside and you will see why I was yelling last month what a great deal it was:

I paid 70 cents for my Restaurant.com coupon. The bill for food was $38. Now they add the 18% tip to the total but you pay LESS TAX as they do not apply the tax until after coupon is subtracted. So, it was $38-25+$0.70+$6.84= $20.54 for our dinner all-in. Now I am not done. I have my Priority Club Visa and had the balance go to my room. So, I will get 10x points at PC and 5x PC points from Chase on the card when that charges. At 1 cent per point that is another $3.08 off in value. Net dinner cost (including the coupon purchase price) to me was just $18.16 and that is more than ½ off!

Dinner night number two worked out this way. Bill for food was $60. Thus $60-25+2.10+11.18= $48.28. 10x points at PC + 5x Chase PC points $7.24 value. Thus net-net on this one $ $41.74. Not ½ off but a great deal for two 12 oz steak dinners.

So my Florida swing is done for now. We will be back to Utah soon for our 2nd ski trip and then a spring trip to Sweden to see mom. I continue to be amazed how 1st class trips that would cost thousands can be had for  a hundred dollars  all-in! – Rene

[how I got to the statement above - the math] – More Math and what you can do with points. The breakdown of my trip.

Gas SBN-DTW round trip also earned 5x UR points Freedom card $60
Shuttle Go Airport paid for with C1 points no cost $60
Parking DTW $24 but 20% rebate shopathome C1 points no cost $24
Massage at OraOxygen spa with tip $60
Air 1st class EVT + C1 points + plat upgrade no cost $1094
Hotel Chase Visa voucher + 50,000 points no cost $835
Food at hotel was $120-$50 restaurant.com get 15x PC points $70
Misc breakfasts $45 other misc costs $35 $80
——————————————————————————————–
All in cost what it would have cost me $2283

What it cost me in my money $265

I earned 15,848 points from Delta, PC rebate etc -$158
————————————————————————————————
So net-net cost for this trip was just $107

Not bad value for 3 days high season on the beach $2283 vs $107

PS – We got bumped on the flight home. They would not give us one $800 voucher but instead gave us two $400 ones. So, we did not have to pay for this vacation after all. We ended up getting paid almost $700!

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

Tons of great reader TopTips thanks for so many great ideas!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

Save all relevant prescriptions information (just take a photo of each label) This can be particularly helpful to be able to get in touch directly with the pharmacy to see what they recommend in case you forget and pack these items in a checked bag, or lose them in some other way.
HT to Danny

Whenever possible try to fit everything in a carry-on. Many methods can be used here – rolling clothes, packing light, coordinating clothes to minimize how much you need to take, etc. When you can manage it, this saves time and stress of checking bags.
HT to Angelina

Program all credit card, bank numbers, & mileage account numbers into your cell phone. This is often easier to access when you are flying internationally and can’t quickly pull up the Awardwallet site for your complicated AA Advantage number.
HT to Noah

If your bags are lost, check with your credit card’s bag loss warranty protections for additional coverage if your loss exceeds the airline’s provision.
HT to Noah

Sit near the agent desk, so you can be first in line for rebooking when they announce a delay
HT to Jon

If you must travel coach, try the travel neck pillow put on backwards, so that it wraps around the FRONT of your neck, you get a nice pillow to rest your head on (to the side) and the front keeps your head from falling forward. Also always helpful are the eyeshade, earplugs, and if you have time, a nice carb-rich dinner in the airport prior to departing, then skip the meal in favor of more time to sleep.
HT to David

Bring a protein snack. Delays are unpredictable.
HT to Joel

Try to exchange only as much money for foreign currency as you expect to use. If you have any leftover money, instead of paying to change it back (or having it sit in a drawer at home) use it for the hotel bill or taxi, even the change, and then pay the balance with a credit card. Another option is to look for a Forex exchange as they do not charge to convert leftover currency back to USD, or whatever you started with.
HT to SEE

If you’re not renting a car, scan the taxis at the airport prior to hopping in one and program a few numbers into your cell phone. Once you have their number, you can always call in advance and arrange for a pickup.
HT to SEE

Prior to international travel, call your cell carrier and see what options they offer. For example, Verizon charges about $1.49/min for calls placed on a euro network, but if you sign up in advance for their $3.99 Global Value plan, that per minute rate gets knocked down to .99/min. Also, if you have a smartphone, sign up for the Global Data Package. At $30/50mb or $75/150mb, it’s steep, but way better than what it would cost to use data without these plans. Both options by the way (Global Value and Global Data) will be pro-rated when you return, so if you’re in Euroland for only a week or two, you’d get some of that $3.99 back, as well as any money on your data plan. Verizon will even let you set a start and end date for these plans in advance. You can also check with the various mobile services when you arrive on purchasing a SIM card for simple phone/text usage while in your international destination.
HT to G. David

Check on the number of mobile phone scanners for mobile boarding passes each airport has before security. Some airports only have one or two scanners, which means you have to get in a specific line when going through security. Thus adding rather than saving time.
HT to Mark

I always pack a blanket with me so I can use it in the airplane when I get cold without having to worry about catching germs from airplane blankets (or not getting a blanket at all).
Or always fly in front of the curtain as these blankets are super nice & fluffy & clean! Check the Best Points tab at the top of the blog to see how!
HT to Anna

Does anyone still send postcards anymore?! Print a sheet of small Avery mailing labels with recipients names & addresses so all I have to do is write my postcards – peel and stick address labels – and hand my stack of finished postcards to the hotel desk clerk to put in the mail for me. Simple!
HT to Ozzie

Even better than the AwardWallet card is to get the CardStar app for your smart phone. Not only will it store your airline/hotel/rental car loyalty program numbers, but it will generate and display the bar codes associated with the number. So when traveling on Delta, you can have the gate agent or SkyClub agent scan your Delta SkyMiles bar code from your phone (e.g. to get a seat assignment). And it generates bar codes for fitness club memberships, drugstore and grocery store loyalty programs, and many others, so you never have to be without those discounts on the road.
HT to Eric

For families, if you’re checking in a car seat (we have a car seat bag that’s black), stuff some clothes in there to keep your carry on and/or check-in a little lighter. They never check inside.
HT to goheerow

If you have at least one Visa Infinite or World Mastercard, save the 1800 number to their complimentary concierge service. They will help you with almost anything you throw at them. Reportedly, they can help you with the simplest things like finding nearby gas stations and directions, to planning whole travel itineraries (although we probably know a few more tricks).
Had my car towed in a foreign place once and used them to patch me through to he local compound to figure out where my car was.
HT to Jackson

be sure you go to the lavatory before you board.
…and wouldn’t it be nice if they located the toilet paper holder out of “splash” range?! Ladies – use paper towels but put them in the trash rather than flushing them!
HT to sean

When you’re using the safe at a hotel, put everything in a shoe the night before. That way, you won’t walk off without your passport.
HT to dwh

travelling with kids? Love early morning flights because everyone crashes as soon as u take off
HT to Tracy

If, like me, you have trouble sleeping in a hotel room when it’s not totally dark (think city lights), bring along a couple binder clips to fasten the curtains to each other, avoiding the inevitable slit and light beam that lights up your room. You can also use the hotel hangers with the clips. Another benefit of this is no peepers!
HT to thrashsoundly

Since my first night on the road, i ALWAYS have trouble sleeping – get some Ambien/Lunesta. For me, the trip to the Dr’s office to get the prescription is 100x better than taking Advil PM or the like, which always leave me waking up completely groggy.
HT to G. David

If you know you’ll have more than a 2hr layover at the time of your ticket booking, and don’t already have a club membership, pay the $25 right then for a day pass, rather than putting it off and spending $50 if you decide you want a respite on the day you fly. You’ll get that $25 back in free internet and beer anyhow. And even if you decide to not use it that day, they’re still usually good for a year from the date of purchase.
HT to G. David

Always have a printed copy of your boarding pass in case the TSA’s or gate agent’s scanner fails to scan your mobile boarding pass. Also great if you have to prove to the airline your travel to earn award miles!
HT to Mark B.

I avoid taking the last flight of the day (taking the 2nd or 3rd to last) for business trips in case of delays/cancellations/etc. This depends on your objectives somewhat. If you have obligations to meet then this is a good plan. If you’re seeking bumportunities, last flights of the day are sometimes the best option.
HT to Mark B.

When possible route myself through airports that if I had to get stuck at I know a friend or family member nearby that I could stay with rather than sleeping in the airport waiting for the next day’s flight. Again, unless the flight cancellation is weather related, the airline will put you in a hotel. Otherwise, this is what points are for!
HT to Mark B.

Check the weather of all airports you are flying to and/or connecting through so that you can be better prepared should a delay in your travel occur. It is better to know a delay is likely and ask to be put on standby for the next flight rather than wait until the delay is announced and be at the back of the line.
HT to Mark B.

Recently, Delta seems to have increased their frequency of compensating International BusinessFirst travelers with a 5,000 mile voucher if your meal choice is not available when meal orders are taken. I don’t mind boarding last, so I’ve recently waited to be one of the last to board with the hopes of scoring some miles. I’ve scored 3 vouchers on my last 6 transatlantic flights (twice on flt. 71 AMS-JFK and one on flt 21 CDG-ATL). Worth the wait if you are not picky about what you eat.
HT to B. Ull

US Air relaxed change-fee policy in the fine print, it says that this policy only applies to tickets purchased thru US Air, not 3rd party sites (travelocity, orbitz, etc). ALWAYS book travel thru the airline website – if something comes up, they’re much more likely to help you if you bought a ticket from them than from a discount site. Also, once I booked a flight on LH thru Travelocity and put my US Air DM# on the reservation, only to find out after the trip that I was only entitled to HALF my preferred miles because I had booked through a “discount site”.
HT to G. David

Don’t be mean and put your jacket in the overhead right when you get on the plane.
Turn on EasyAlerts (United) or whatever similar service other airlines have
HT to Kris Ziel

Another idea for shorter trips….When at the cosmetic counters of department stores I ask for samples of products. This way I can bring small-sized lotions and make-up items with me and leave my larger bottles at home. It also serves as a way to try new products.
HT to Newton

To save space in your quart 3-1-1 bag, use a solid shampoo Lush: http://www.lushusa.com/shop/products/haircare/solid-shampoos/
HT to AJM

Always keep your phone/camera handy when on the plane. That way you can take pictures of any defective features and email it to customer service. You might be able to get some credit for a broken screen
HT to Bitachu

Check seatguru before booking to see which seats you want to get. The same price seat might have power outlets or more legroom
HT to Bitachu

If you have an smartphone, take a screen shot of your mobile boarding pass and scan that. You might not have service or Internet to connect to get it on your phone at security or when boarding (and if you didn’t print your boarding passes, this could be a problem).
HT to Truthiness

Read Delta Points the week before you fly, there might be a targeted promotion or news you need to know.
HT to Truthiness

A safety tip: when traveling on flights when you want to take off your shoes and put on slippers in order to be more comfortable, it is better to wait to remove shoes until a good amount of time after take off (and put them back on a good amount of time before landing). Because if there is an emergency / evacuation on take off or landing, you need those shoes on. And likewise, I keep important stuff right with me (not in an overhead bin) on take off and landing because if there is an emergency, there will not be time to grab stuff from overhead bins.
HT to Paul

Take along at least two memory cards and two camera batteries. In my purse I always carry a small flashlight and compass. Eddie Bauer has a combination flashlight/compass that works great!
HT to AJM

I can’t take credit for this, but one of the single best posts I have ever read from Gary at viewfromthewing is how to get to In n Out Burger for free is extra time at LAX. Here is the post:

http://boardingarea.com/viewfromthewing/2008/01/16/making-the-most-of-your-lax-layover/

I am guessing many think this is a weird post; they are the ones who have never been there….
HT to Michael Gulseth

Save important phone number/prescriptions/passport images etc on your phone as suggested, but also consider using dropbox app or other similar app/service so you can save them to the cloud. Then you can get to these things from any computer in the world, not just your own cell phone in an emergency.
HT to Keith

Thanks ALL of you for so many good ideas! – Rene

BTW – winne #17

goheerowsays:

For families, if you’re checking in a car seat (we have a car seat bag that’s black), stuff some clothes in there to keep your carry on and/or check-in a little lighter. They never check inside.

 

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

In case you missed it: Internet Brands Acquires The Frugal Travel Guy

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

As any regular readers of DeltaPoints.com knows I think the world of Rick Ingersoll a.k.a. “The Frugal Travel Guy”. I have learned so much from him in the last many years and it is hard to believe he just started his blog in 2007.

Well now he, the blog, is owned and part of Internet Brands. What will this mean? For the short run? Nothing will change and as Rick himself says his blog will get better as he is no “computer geek” and his site IMO could use some work.

Long term, once Rick and his team is gone, who knows. I have seen changes in FlyerTalk after IB took over and that is one of the reasons I like MilePoint better. Now to be fully open and honest Boarding Area, who helps host DeltaPonts.com, a.k.a. Randy Petersen, also runs MilePoint for full disclosure.

The frequent flyer community is growing. There is no doubt about it. When you can do things like a $100 first class trip to Florida in high season in winter ( see tomorrow’s blog btw ), and rack up millions of points for little cost, we all know why.

For now I am happy for FTG and his success. Time will tell if the blog gets better or not! – René

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

I need more TOP TIPS and will give away a United Club pass to get them!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

We all have great little things we do that make our trips better. Vacations are to be FUN and stress free so why create stress or for business travelers why do things that can cost you time.

I love the 21 ideas, many from you my readers, at the TopTips link above. But I want more more more! Here are a few more from me:

1) Use zip ties to lock all your zippers and put more in a zip lock bag inside on top taped to a sheet of paper that says “TSA please rezip tie with these provided or use your own”

2) Car rental – most of us have smart phone. Take a video or lots of photos of the car when you pick it up and when you drop it off. If they say you did it, you have photos to say otherwise. I do the same thing when I park MY car at the airport btw.

3) Save money on off-site parking. Check out  airportparkingreservations To save even more you can start HERE at ShopAtHome.com (my link gets us both $5.00 btw)  and search for airportparkingreservations.com to get another 20% off and a $5.00 coupon when you book online

Now I know you all have more great ideas to help your fellow Delta flyers. So, give me any kind of tip you do, that is not already posted here : TOP TIPS

EDIT: You guys (& gals) ROCK! I am loving these great ideas. I plan to do so many of these great ideas and I travel all the time. Thank you all!

Tomorrow some time I will do the Ramdom.org thing and pick a winner so you have both today and some time tomorrow to work on this. Saturday evening I will post the best ones ( any ideas that are NOT repeats have a chance to win btw ). Please help out and you will have a a chance to win a United Club pass (it does not look like you need to be flying United but not sure) – Rene

 

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

WINNER of todays 2 SW AIR drink coupons is….. #6 David

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

 

David  – January 19, 2012 at 6:45 am

I like drinks and Southwest. Thanks!

Congratulations – please email me from the same email you used in your post and I will get the coupons in the mail to you! rene@deltapoints.com

 

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

MORE news Delta news that can affect you + my last 2 FREE SW Air Drink Coupons

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.


Phone reps do not always know all the Delta partners (just ask Lucky)  for booking both paid for (for how many miles you will earn) and award travel so you should and must: Educate yourself here!

These next two touch on Delta but are more than just Delta. If you like travel to Europe, their next debt crisis could end up meaning big discounts for us in the next few years. Story ONE and TWO

First class expansion on Delta jets is still going on. It will be nice to have more seats with power. I would love to know what impact this has on fuel burn rates. Anyone know? From Delta PR site

It is not just us, more and more Delta flyers are using the Delta “app” it would seem according to this news piece.

The airlines made 22 attempts to raise prices last year and 9 stuck. Delta had done two just the week alone! Do we all see the value of POINTS?

O’ Canada – more options for Delta with WestJet soon.

Do you know the history of Delta? A fellow blogger , michaelwtravels, found: this item and chart about the changes

OK, on your next trip, try to do all 9 of these things ( kidding – just kidding )!

Don’t forget we have no idea how long the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card deal will stay. It could be gone any day. Wait too long and you could miss out on the deal and this one is a good one!

 

Do you fly SouthWest? I really don’t so if you want a chance for 2 FREE SW Air Drink Coupons leave a comment below to win (they are the new ones btw exp dec 31st – 2012)!- René

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

Yesterday was 2 Months into DeltaPoints blogging and what a day it was. Eye-opening!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

Selfish - adjective – devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

Greed – noun – excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.

Fear – noun – distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

While I have been flying NWA/Delta for over a decade, what I have learned in the past 3 years has been remarkable. I feel a burning need to give back to those who are just learning and come after me. I use stopovers and open jaw tickets. More should take advantage of this. Reading the comments from yesterday shows that apparently other airlines permit similar routings to Delta although I had no idea as I do not fly them much.

At the last ORD DO the Frugal Travel Guy arranged to have the “press” at the event and you can see the report on that below (click to watch the video)

The negative comments about his decision to invite the press on his blog afterward turned my stomach. Points did not go away. Did the millions seeing the show impact how many points we get on cards? Who knows. Will we see less points on cards going forward? Who knows? Are banks more aware of us? Maybe. FTG shares what he knows. I so respect him for all he does and the stand he takes.

Yesterday’s post I shared on FlyerTalk and Milepoint to help more learn what I know and pay back the debt I owe. The reaction by many made me want to get out a Delta air sickness bag and fill it twice. It seems the risk of helping others is – in the opinions of many – too high and I guess my post was so clear even Delta could understand what they offer. I give our beloved airline more credit than a 4th grader. They know what they offer and from the comments from readers other airlines offer a similar program with their points.

I can tell you this. I have had many outstanding emails and private messages about my post yesterday. I took down the post on FT and MP but not at MY BLOG. After the reaction to this,  I pledge to do just what those in fear are most afraid of!  I will double my efforts to do my best to post all I can to help my readers. I will not be selfish and keep information to myself or an elite few. Greed to get the most for myself will not keep me from sharing with you my readers!

My focus will be to the blog. So, if you want to find out what I know, you will have to read DeltaPoints.com as I will continue to share all I know here – René

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

Another value of Delta Skymiles get 3 trips for the price of 2 even in FIRST CLASS!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

 

I love my Skymiles. There – I said it! And I am proud of that and they are NOT skypesos. Why? I want you to show me another airline that will let you use points to do both a stop over and an open jaw on the same ticket?

I am going try to make a hard to grasp topic simple so bear with me. First some parameters.

Q – what is a stop over?
A – a stop or pause of up to 11 months in your travel.

Q – what is an open jaw?
A – a trip added to the beginning OR the end of you ticket.

Q – how many segments can I have each way of my trip?
A – 4 each way. (8 in total rt but reports are more possible)

Now let’s say you want to go to see fall colors in Paris in October, Florida in January to golf and Utah in March to ski and all 3 places for the price of 2 tickets. How do you do this? Here is how.

Ticket 1 – DTW-CDG-DTW / stop over / DTW-MIA ( open jaw)
[free trip is the middle part the Detroit to Florida & back]
Ticket 2 – ( open jaw ) MIA-DTW / stop over / DTW-SLC-DTW

Ticket 1 cost 100,000 points low level business
Free trip cost nothing
Ticket 2 cost 45,000 points low level business

So do we see what we have done? The first trip you had your Paris vacation and came home. Then stopped, and a few months later went to Florida. End of ticket one. Your next ticket you went skiing. But, before that, you flew home from Florida on the open jaw part, stopped, and then a few months later went on that ski trip. End of ticket two. Clear?

The kool part of this is you are basically getting a free business class trip for ZERO extra miles. Yes this will take work and planning and TIME. But what is 45,000 Skymiles worth to you? Try and play with this and see the value of Skymiles – René
.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

Don’t forget to use your FREE Delta Air Lines AMEX companion ticket or give it to a friend!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

 

Choice is good. It is amazing to me how many choices we have with the Delta branded AMEX cards.

personal-delta-amex

The GOLD personal Delta card is good for the 30k points, low spend needed, Zone 1 boarding, 9 free bags and for the 20% discount on food / drinks on-board but NO LONGER included any kind of discount travel companion certificate.

However the Delta Platinum with it’s non-waived $150 fee  and 20,000 (25,000 if you add 2 free users) Skymiles bonus for does come with more perks. In addition to the 5,000 MQM’s you get, one of the great benefits of the Platinum card is the free coach companion ticket while the Gold does not.

To get to it you must go to DELTA.com and then go to: skymiles / manage my account

Then click on Manage Profile then at last Certificates & eCredits! Then you will see the list of all the certificates of any kind you have including the one from your AMEX card.

You then simply click the box to select it and pick where you want to go.

Now some good info about these. As you can see below, if I want to use mine to go on a ski trip, I as primary will earn MQM and RDM’s ( medallion qualifying miles and redeemable (ie Skymiles) miles ) but my bride will not! We will NOT be able to get upgrades but other medallion benefits are extended to us.

Now another kool thing is if you do not plan to use it, you can buy a ticket for two of your friends to use as you can see below ( note your friends  DO NOT  get your medallion benefits or free bags ):

Per the T&C, you MUST pay for the ticket with your AMEX card but friend #1 will earn miles and friend #2 will not. Also, if YOU are part of the SKYBONUS program I talked about here, as you can see from the photo above, YOU will earn Skybouns points for their trip!

So do not let these things go to the trash if you don’t use them. Either  “give”  your friends them or provide a great gift to someone you love! And if you are thinking about a Delta AMEX card, be sure you keep the value of free companion ticket in mind before you pick the card that is right for you! – René
.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

What will be the impact of the new dual NYC hub mean for Delta flyers going forward

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

The C concourse at ye ol’ CVG is a veritable third world country nowadays, and being replaced by JFK as a Delta hub seems appropriate when considering that the 1960’s era Terminal 3 was described by a Delta executive the same way!

Hence, the already begun overhaul to expand Terminal 4 in order to accommodate all of Delta’s international gates under the same concourse. They’re also adding a 24,000sq. ft. SkyClub which will be the biggest Delta offers us. If you want to watch the animated model here.

When considering the also upcoming changes to the fleet including the gradual elimination of the CRJ100 & 200’s talked about here, this hub change seems to fit in well. It would seem to me that the JFK overhaul is designed primarily to appeal to the international business traveler. Having to connect through JFK as opposed to CVG, however, could result in more flight time and longer travel days for domestic business travelers. Of course there remain DTW, MEM and ATL as hub connection options as well, but some of these will likely shift to JFK with the completion of the expansion and will alter the duration of overall travel time for those affected. At least it will be a bit more comfortable in the CRJ700 & 900’s with business “type” seats and wifi onboard!

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

30 more Delta Air Lines readers Q&A on the way!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

1) deltaplat & Aleks asks – If I’m a medallion member and I fly on another Sky Team partner, do I get the bonus miles I would if I were flying on Delta? What other medallion benefits when flying on Delta do or do not apply when flying on the rest of Sky Team? And, how have other ST partners, primarily AF and KL, been so far honoring Elite+ and/or SkyPriority of DL elites?

Bonus miles for Delta are based on the Delta fare class if you book Delta flights or code share flights. Keep this in mind on the web site as if you book KLM / AF code flights it could affect earnings and you can check this chart at the Delta site.   Most of the time the partners are good about honoring Elite+ etc but you sometimes have to remind them of that fact. Also, it was just announced that the skyteam benefits should be aligned soon.

2)Samuel asks – Do you have any idea what’s the Delta policy on operational upgrades (op-ups) – I know status makes a world of difference, but how about time of check-in?

Since an operational upgrade is “controlled” by the airport it is not an official Delta policy. However, I have been told the ground personnel is to follow the policy outlined here. Having said that, there are exceptions as once the boarding door closes the head purser is in charge of the flight ( after flight officers ) and can do as they please.

3) David AL asks – Question about the DL Reserve. My renewal is in May. Can I then book the companion cert in June, and cancel the card and have the $450 prorated back to me? I’m picking up the Biz version instead.

You ask a great question. The terms and conditions for these type of certs all just say “Tickets must be purchased with your Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express”. Now, I had a gold personal card but no longer. I still have the $99 companion ticket voucher in my account as well as my FREE one from my Reserve card. I am sure I could use them both if I would want and your question spurred me to write a blog coming Monday btw. To be safe I would pay for the ticket with your old card before you cancel as once it is booked it is yours no matter what! Also AMEX does NOT prorate cards so just keep it until year is up.

4) The Deal Mommy asks – I have a RT reward coming up in AF IAD-CDG-MAD-TFN. At the time I only had the 60k miles so booked it in Economy. I have more miles now. Is it worth the 40k miles, plus $150, to fly in a business class seat? It’s really only the IAD-CDG leg that will be upgraded since intra-Europe biz is so bad. I’m a lowly silver so will have to pay the fee, but do have lounge access via plat AMEX. I know we’re supposed to get best value by booking business, but am having trouble deciding on this one. Your thoughts, please?

OK I am going to boil down your question to is business class worth $150 change fee. YES! Why are you still reading this? Call DELTA and burn the miles and the cash! Also try for as much biz in Europe. I agree it is not that great but it is better that nothing for no extra charge! BTW before you spend the money try to see if there have been any schedule changes that will allow you to do it for free.

5) SF asks – Having made PM for the first time in a while, can you offer advise on how i can use my (SWU was PMU) PM Systemwide Upgrade Certs to upgrade a DL marketed/AF operated flight from AF Premium Voyageur to Business class. Reading the T&C it looks like I can do this if my flight is booked in S/W class. What is the best method of determining when the AF flight has Business class upgrade seats available?

I will bundle this with another question about SWU’s. With Delta they stink internationally. In the past you could get good value booking on AF/ KLM but now they have upped the fare code needed and as LUCKY points out in this post it is just not worth it anymore. Now for domestic use the SWU’s can have good value. You many times are paying full coach to get the biz seat. But, depending on the route, a PM or DM may get free upgrades for LUT class if you are willing to risk it.

6) James asks – All things (mainly price/layover time/journey time) being roughly equal, which of Delta’s three main hubs (ATL/DTW/MSP) do you prefer connecting through? And of Delta’s minor hubs, are any to be avoided? Thanks.

This is another one of those subjective ones but also can be quantified somewhat. DTW and MSP in the middle of winter can be hit and miss. ATL in spring storms is bad. EWR seems always to have delays so the expansion makes you humm…. Most of the time I find DTW just works and is not as crazy as ATL. But that is just me.

7) Anna asks – What is the on-time service like for Delta in general? Do their flights usually take off on time/land on time? Are there a lot of cancellations?

I have a blog post on this coming this week. Please check back and I will update. Delta is doing well but I always try to plan for extra time for connections as worst case I have down time to relax in the skyclubs.

8 ) Andrew asks – [I had to edit this shorter sorry Andrew] … how do you know which Delta/American Express card is really best for you and for mileage? I did manage to spend $ 50,000 on the Sky Miles Card in Business/Personal this last year and I did get to Platinum Medallion Level through spending and through travel.

Great question Andrew. For me the Delta Reserve is a no brainier. Why? With that kind of spend you are getting 30k MQM a year. So, with only 20k you are GOLD. 45k you make Platinum Medallion. You get up to 30k bonus RDM’s as well. Skyclub access for up to two. You can add on others with Delta Platinum for free!

9) Ian asks – Is it possible to SDC in the middle of an itinerary and have your luggage arrive with you? I tried this as I had a very long layover in atl. I asked the sky club agent about doing an SDC to an earlier connecting flight and she responded I could change, but that my luggage could not be moved. This struck me as a bit strange.

Great example of how the reps run our airline today. The “rules” are, as a result of passenger bag matching security requirements following Pan-Am flight #103 back in 1988, that the bag must travel with the passenger. The confusion comes into play due to the screening requirements now in place since 9-11, to screen every bag, the idea being that all bags allowed to be checked are safe so who cares which flight you take versus your bag. The big exception that overrides all of these rules seems to be that it’s OK for the airline to separate you from your bag, but not OK for you to separate yourself from your bag. So the answer to your question becomes essentially, it depends on the rep! Ask nice and say I know I am asking for a lot but it would so help me.

10) Danny asks – Mine is more a philosophical question – why Delta? Why did you originally choose Delta as your airline of choice and why do you continue to stick with them? I live in a non-gateway city for any of the major legacy carriers and I’m always curious to know why certain FF are loyal to their airline and why I should consider doing the same.

Why? When I got into the game of miles and points my objective in travel was getting to Sweden to visit my mom annually as inexpensively as possible. The options for reasonably easy travel to Gothenburg were slim and NWA had the best points program to accomplish my objectives. I’ve stayed because I still find that Delta meets my travel needs quite well. And you know they do a TON right for all they do wrong. Plus, what other airline gives away miles as EZ as Delta does? I mean the  GOLD personal  and 

15) Trey asks – Does delta sell drink vouchers on their website or anywhere? My parents will be flying delta this spring and I would like to gift them some drink vouchers but do not have any currently.

You can get them as a SKYbonus redemption but they do not seem to be available officially through Delta. EBay offers abound but be careful as it’s officially against the rules and Delta can  suspend your SkyMiles account  if you buy or sell any of these sorts of perks. Giving them away is perfectly OK, however, so why not check with  Milepoint or Flyertalk and just start a post and ask if anybody has some to spare they’d be willing to put in an SASE you could provide? I bet you get all you need quick ( we are a giving bunch are we not ).

16) Eric S. Asks – Is there a way to search for award availability on Skymiles partner GOL Airlines in Brazil? Have you heard of anyone successfully booking an award using/connecting to GOL?

It doesn’t look like this would work easily through Delta.com, but depending on what kind of travel you want to book – US to Brazil using Delta flights connecting to GOL flights or all GOL flights originating in Brazil on GOL connecting to Delta flights to other destinations – the easiest solution might be to utilize the GOL site to check for availability & flight numbers and then call Delta to see if they can act as liaison to arrange the flights for you.

17) AJM asks – Is there a place on your blog or elsewhere that I can find a dictionary-of-sorts with all of the abbreviations used on travel blogs? I’m relatively new to this and often can’t decipher what’s being said! Help!

Yes! We’re working on it! I will find a good place to put it & ask what you all think. This is a great idea as we do tend to shorten everything in life like it is all a big text or tweet!

18) LKM asks – I have an upcoming flight to Kauai in a few weeks with my husband in coach. I have the delta gold credit card, is there any chance that we could at least score exit row seats if using the online check-in 24 hours in advance. We are very infrequent flyers so I don’t know the game well. We are both very tall and it would be nice to have a little more comfort on such long flights….MSP to LAX to LIH. Would have loved to get into the miles game sooner and grabbed first class, but not enough miles or money for that this time around. Any advice for optimum seats would be greatly appreciated.

It’s never too late to get started in the miles game! Welcome to the FF world! You’ve taken a good first step in getting the AmEx Gold SkyMiles card which gives you Zone 2 boarding at least. Your best option here is to check to see if economy comfort seating is available on your flights and see if you can book that for the fee, which according to Delta.com varies from $80-$180 per segment depending on length of the flight. Since full roll out of economy comfort isn’t scheduled for completion until this summer, if it isn’t available you could call and see if a nice rep will give you an exit row since the economy comfort you’d love to book isn’t available on your flight yet. If not, hang up and call back and ask the next rep you get!

19) Dave asks – If I have to call DL to book an award ticket which is UN-BOOKABLE on dl.com, is there any way to get around paying a telephone fee?

Yes. One of the great things about DL is that when a rep works on a ticket it is LIVE on DL.com. So, have them work it up for you, when they ask if you want to ticket, say hang on and let me look over it, and then just ticket it free online and say I think I am good to go thanks for the help and you save the fee!

20) Allen asks ( too many questions – kidding ) I have two questions. 1) Obviously status is important to a frequent biz traveler. But what about the travelers who only take a few family vacations a year? I made to PM this year, but I will have very little biz traveling this year. Wondering if it is worth to pursue any status next year. My Delta AMX plat gives me almost a SM without upgrades. 2) When booking a family trip (2 adults & 2 kids), shall I book all parties on one PNR, or on separate ones so I can score an upgrade on my PNR. Can the latter one be a real pain during IROPS? I always used one PNR to keep the family together, but hated not being able to use my status for upgrade. :)

There is more to life than status. As pointed out in  Q41 in Q&A  Delta Reserve card gets you so much why do more. Next, I would never ever split a PNR. Forget the upgrade and stay with the family and get a nice free HOOU (have one on us) coupon to drown your sorrows.

21) Eric asks – I have an AMEX gold if I upgrade to plat will I get a $99 companion cert or a free one?

Maybe. But don’t do this – never upgrade. Get the BIZ Plat card and they you will have both. Book with the GOLD then cancel GOLD. Then you have the free one with the Plat card! ;-)

22) robe0341 asks – Do you use any tools to help you find Delta award availability or cheap flights? Things like KVS or Expert Flyer or Flyer Talk? If so, do you have any tips for newbies trying to use them?

I have not used these yet. I look forward to this years DO in Chicago to learn more but those who use them email me what you think or what tips to use them! (I will be there – will you be? Fun for all!)

23) gpapadop asks – Can you post a blog on how companion upgrades work?

In a nutshell with status you drop to the lowest level of medallion. For example (and I know this sounds like a joke) a Diamond a Platinum and a Gold all book “L” class tickets on the same PNR. All will drop down on the upgrade list to Gold and clear at that level. You can split the PNR but as already talked about that can be very bad! You can read more at the Delta web site here.

24) Rob asks – Hey, which Atlanta crown room is best?

The one you got into free ;-) & the one with the xspress spa one floor down!

25) Richard1148 asks – I know that the award calendar is said to be broken, but recently have I have found that NO low level FC domestic awards price out correctly. Every one I check for any US domestic route prices as a medium award. (International awards seem OK). Do you know if there is a known bug in the system that DL is working on to fix this, or is DL simply not offering any low level domestic FC?

As Delta keeps working on fixing the broken search engine I bet we will see more and more of this. When this happens we can search KLM / AF web site or just call I hate to say. I bet we see more of this until the fix is done ( if it ever gets done )!

26) Ozzie asks – Extra Bag Problem. Why isn’t there better website integration between partner airlines Delta, KLM and Air France – and do you think it will ever improve?

If you have not flown internationally you have not experienced the “toss over” to the KLM system for check-in. Now most of the time it works. I had EC offered free as a Platinum Medallion once and ended up in 1st with an SWU. For now, when things go wrong, keep your receipts if you are forced to pay for a bag and then scan then and tweet them to @DeltaAssist and I bet you get a check or ETV for what you paid. Not cash but better than nothing.

27) Dan asks – I booked a reward flight for two people to Europe – arriving and department at different airports. I received a note from Delta saying that “there has been a change affecting one or more of your flights” and I “may be eligible to change your flights(s) by clicking the Change Flights link.” Can I use this change to cancel one of my reward tickets without penalty? If so, would I also be refunded the Economy Comfort fee?

Yes. Always keep 90 minutes in mind. A change outbound or inbound and you can do just about anything you want for free. A great feature Delta still offers to us all with or without status!

28) dwh asks – Which cities, based on your knowledge, give low level elites the best chance at an upgrade?

It is not as much the city as it is the route. DM & PM heavy routes like ATL-LAX or DTW-ATL not good. So always fly where no one wants to go?!?

29) Jordan asks – Will Delta ever expand the Medallion upgrades program to the Hawaii routes? If not, what’s the best route to try to mileage upgrade to Hawaii? What is the best time to request these upgrades (e.g., 30/60 days before departure)?

I doubt you will ever see this. Or, as many hope will happen, SWU’s will be better for both Hawaii and International use. That is our best hope. If not, look to spend the miles for the seat. It is as far as Europe so I don’t mind spending some more miles!

30) Connie asks – What is the best way to book6(family of 6)low level award tickets SLC to MCO w/o breaking them up into smaller groups and risk not having enough low level awards.

I would just find anything for 6 and as talked about before add a ton of legs so you can then, later when the schedule change happens, get just what you want for all 6!

 ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺

Thanks all for this round. There were some hard ones here and I bet next month gets even harder. Love it! – René

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

Q&A on the way & update on 25,000 Skymiles Skymall deal points soon to post

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

I am still working on all the Q&A from yesterday and will have them up at some point today but  for now I did get this update from Aaron from Skymall about Decembers 25k deal. The points are on the way soon it would seem!

 
[they will post the] “last week of January up to the first week of February. Miles typically post after 60 days after the order date to allow for returns etc.

So the wait is almost over for our points and this is the same timetable as it was last round! Price match last time took another 2 weeks if I remember right on top of that – René

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

WINNER of the $50 Hyatt gift card is … (me) no try again #43 – AJM

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

I WON ( I know I can not win so pick again – but I did win)

AJM ask – Is there a place on your blog or elsewhere that I can find a dictionary-of-sorts with all of the abbreviations used on travel blogs? I’m relatively new to this and often can’t decipher what’s being said! Help!

Congratulations AJM – email me your name and address to deltagoldflyer @ gmail.com from the SAME email you posted with and I will get the gift card in the mail to you.

I will post answers tomorrow afternoon so be sure to check back then! Thanks for all the great questions and for supporting the blog everyone. – René

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .

Delta Air Lines Q&A round 2 plus another $50 HYATT Gift Card giveaway!

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We will receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertiser Disclosure, and advertiser partners, such as American Express, visit this page.

It is time for round two of Delta Q&A. I want you to first look over last month’s 40 Q&A as any repeats will NOT COUNT. Please post a question in the comments section below today by 7PM and tomorrow, Saturday, I will do my best to post the best ones in the blog with my answers.  ( I again may save some really good ones for a full day blog post so if you do not see your question that may be why but you still have a chance to win the gift card! ) ;-)

 

NO MORE Questions for this round – check back tomorrow for the winner! – Rene

 

And to make this really fun and motivate you to ask a NEW Delta question, any new questions ( not just comments ) have a chance to win a Hyatt $50 gift card!

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

. .