Double Delta Miles for Amex Spend if You Redeem an Award

I took awhile thinking about whether to post this, and what to say. As a result, Lucky beat me to the punch on this one.

Delta is offering double miles on all credit card spend with their co-branded American Express products between July 1 and September 30 if you redeem an award of at least 10,000 miles, e.g. a 25,000 domestic coach saver award or a 10,000 mile redemption for cash and miles. (Registration required.)

Double miles is always tempting, and this one doesn’t appear to be capped like most Delta Amex promotions have been in the past. But it’s still not enough to tempt me to acquire a Delta American Express or to use one.

Say that I was going to put $100,000 in spend on a credit card during the promotion period. I’d earn 200,000 Delta miles. That’s great, but might get me one business class ticket to Asia (one-way at low, the other direction medium, for 180,000 miles). In theory it could get me two business class tickets to Europe (most likely if I can find availability on Air France).

On the other hand if I put that same $100,000 in spend on a Starwood American Express, I can transfer those points to Air Canada Aeroplan and I’ve got enough for a first class ticket (not business) to Asia with two stopovers, crossing the Atlantic or the Pacific or one ocean in each direction.

Or I’m 78% of the way towards 2 business class tickets to much of Europe.

Or I’m within 1000 miles of enough points transferred to ANA for two Virgin Upper Class tickets from the US to London.

And more importantly I’ve got the transfer flexibilitiy that points in Starwood entails, as opposed to having Delta miles.

Double miles is about the only thing that would tempt me to spend money on a Delta American Express, unless I was looking for elite qualifying miles based on credit card spend and I cared more about my elite qualification for domestic upgrades than award redemption. But leaving aside elite qualification, it’s a pretty easy calculation for me — not going to switch spending over to Delta for this product.

That said, if you have a Delta American Express card and you plan to use it anyway, register for this bonus because double miles are better than not.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I’m getting somewhat tired of this hackneyed line that the only thing someone may want to redeem SkyMiles for is a business class ticket to Asia (in which, yes, these are truly SkyPesos). But for those of us who value getting more trips out of our miles rather than splurging for business class, it’s not a terrible deal. Just last night I found plenty of availability from D.C. to Japan in coach for 60,000 miles, only $30,000 worth of spending with this offer.

    I guess I don’t know the readership here, and I may be in the minority in wanting to get two coach trips instead of one business class trip. And yes, SkyTeam is clearly lagging behind the other alliances in terms of their frequent flyer programs. But I feel as if the opportunities for non-premium redemption at least warrant a mention.

  2. Thanks Gabe! I agree that those that fly a lot might only want to use miles for premium redemptions, but when I think about one trip or two…I can deal with a little time in coach and enjoy two vacations (or one vacation with 2 people) rather than cutting my precious vacation trips in half.

    Gary, rather than bagging on Delta please give us constructive insights from your vast experience and help us make the best out of whatever program we choose to follow! You’d bring much more value to boardingarea.com if you did that!

  3. @Marco, read me regularly, you’ll see I’ve offered quite a bit on how to make Delta Skymiles work the best they can.. from talking through redemptions on Singapore before that partnership ended, to talking about finding Air France award space, to the boon that the Vietnam Airlines partnership has proven. And also see this post on what to use Delta miles for, and how to find the seats even with their broken online booking engine: http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2010/04/04/what-in-the-world-to-do-with-those-delta-skypesos/

  4. @Gabe, as I have written in the past — Delta award space is not impossible. And the JFK-Tokyo route in particular has been doable recently. But their SEC filings also show that their members also have to spend more miles per award than other carriers.

    As for credit card spend, if you are interested in coach tickets — the occasional double miles offering aside — you’re better off getting a good cash back card and buying tickets (which earn miles and which don’t face the same capacity controls).

  5. @Gary

    I’ve been following you for some time now and you’ve offered some nice items but at the same time mock them by calling them skypesos. I don’t care for the editorial aspect of the posts, that’s all I was meaning. It’s the same reason I don’t listen to Rush or Hannity or watch Oprah. All I want is unbiased information about how to make the most for my buck. Keep contributing quality material without the attitude and your industry expertise will keep helping travelers for many many years to come!

  6. @Marco I offer readers my judgment. Read it or not. I did coin the phrase Skypesos, I think it captures something meaningful. But wow, I’ve never in my life been compared to Rush Limbaugh.. geez! 🙂

  7. @Gary

    You can tell my life is locked up in the Skymiles program 😉

    Thanks for the humor and keeping it real. As for Skypesos I’m not sure it’s that meaningful. It would be more meaningful if it were harder to earn skymiles. Maybe SkyDollars is a little more accurate (if some other program were the Euro equivalent).

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