I got an email from a reader and wanted to share it with you:
“I recently applied for a targeted offer on Delta Amex card that is giving me 60,000 miles but it’s costing me $200.00 (annual fee). But I get a $100 statement credit if I spend $100 on a Delta purchase within first 3 months. So I’m going to buy $100 of miles and get something for my money. So it’s really 60,000 + $100 worth of miles for $100.
Anyway, the story being that I called Delta to ask what a “qualifying Delta purchase” is and they told me “hotel and flights only”. I asked, “Not gift cards or miles?” They said no. I read the fine print. It didn’t make sense. But the fine print was kind of vague. So I wrote Delta and asked for a written explanation with a copy of the fine print. They wrote me back saying that you could buy miles and a whole bunch of other things.“
It seemed odd to me when they said that airline gift cards don’t qualify. Usually, as long as you buy them directly from airline website, it will be considered an eligible purchase. In fact, it’s much more likely to trigger the credit than buying miles. The latter is often processed by Points.com, a middle man of sorts. It does depend on airline, of course, but buying gift cards is usually much safer. In fact, unless you need the miles to top off an account, it really makes more sense to go that route. You can buy revenue flights and more importantly, you can sell a gift card if you are pressed for cash. Here are some options from Giftcardgranny:
Often, you can do it electronically, which is a nice plus. Sure, you would take a loss, but getting 82% back if you choose Amazon gift card isn’t actually all that bad. And it sure beats buying expensive miles for which you have no immediate use. Airline gift cards usually don’t have an expiration date, so you can also hang on to them till a good opportunity presents itself.
A funny story. I recently sold my American Airlines gift card (at a loss) because it was sitting around my house for over two years. Well… A week later a friend called and asked me for help in booking airfare. The cheapest option was, you guessed it, American. Irony, it’s the story of my life.
I asked my reader to follow up with Delta and this was her response:
“Just so you know. I emailed for further clarification and I was told that the gift cert works as a qualified purchase, but not the miles. So I bought a gift card. And I have their email to back it. We’ll see! Thanks!”
This is what I suspected, so I’m glad she got it clarified. I’ve mentioned before that if you want to succeed in The Hobby, you have to learn the art of HUCA (hang up call again). Many times the reps will tell information that has nothing to do with reality. If something smells fishy, follow up, several times if needed. It’s much better than being stuck with miles for which you have no use.
Yay or nay to Delta credit card?
Yay…for some. Speaking of Delta credit card, there is currently a targeted offer of 60K miles+$50, first year annual fee waived. Check this non-affiliate link to see if you can get it to come up. I believe Danny the Deal Guru blog was the first one to report on this offer but if not, I apologize to anyone I’ve unwittingly shafted.
Don’t listen to those who say that Delta miles are useless. Sure, it’s not my favorite currency, but you CAN find value if you have flexibility. In this case, you can potentially get 4 one-way tickets to Alaska+$50 credit, and have 10K miles leftover. Some routes on Delta cost only 5K miles, but they don’t tell you which ones (tip: the shorter the route, the better your chances are). It’s like a game, a frustrating game any time you are dealing with Delta. But you can win if you are persistent.
Anyway, I did a search last month to see just how bad Delta award availability is from Florida to Anchorage, and was pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t mean, of course, that it will be wide open for the route you need. I’m just saying don’t discount this program and always check all of your options.
Also, remember, Delta partners with Alaska Air, which has extensive route coverage in Western part of US. If you are Delta hub-captive, you should at least look into this bonus. But whatever you do, don’t collect the miles via everyday spending. That’s what Membership Rewards program is for, specifically Amex Everyday Preferred. Yes, some use Delta co-branded card for manufactured spending in order to gain top-tier status, but I doubt too many middle-class families would think that the juice is worth the squeeze. Am I right?
P.S. Speaking of Amex cards, many are reporting getting some juicy targeted offers via CardMatch tool (my affiliate link), like 50K offer on Amex Premier Rewards Gold with only $1,000 minimum spending requirement in 3 months. Your credit is not pulled if you click on that link, it simply presents you with options. I got a rock, but you may have a better success.