American Express has announced limits on transferring points to Delta starting January 1. The squarely blame a broad policy change at Delta for this.
Effective January 1, 2015 Delta is making a program-wide change limiting the number of points that can be transferred into a SkyMiles account from any partner loyalty program, including the Membership Rewards program. As a result, there will be 2 important changes that will limit the total number of Membership Rewards® points that you can redeem for Delta SkyMiles: (1) the total number of Membership Rewards points that can be transferred out of any Membership Rewards account into one or more Delta SkyMiles accounts will be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year, and (2) the total number of Membership Rewards points that can be transferred into any individual Delta SkyMiles account will be limited to 250,000 points per calendar year.
Delta has been pretty much inactive in the promotions space. Outside of promotions where they are matching what others offer (e.g. earning bonus miles for premium cabin London trips) and modest hotel bonuses with Hilton, Delta just hasn’t been printing miles like they used to and like other airlines do.
There’s been a dearth of transfer bonuses. During the time when they got serious about putting together their revenue-based frequent flyer program we saw an end to the 30% to even 80% bonuses (admittedly a stackable offer mistake) we used to get for transferring American Express points to Delta.
And now we learn that Delta is limiting the number of points that any of its partners can transfer to Skymiles in a year. So presumably we’ll be seeing similar restrictions coming to other programs, like Starwood Preferred Guest.
Through December 31, 2014 you’ll be able to make transfers into Delta as usual. For American Express Membership Rewards that means transferring up to 999,000 miles per day. I’m not sure why you would want to do that, but it’s possible.
Delta is the last-remaining major US airline transfer partner for American Express Membership Rewards, and they remain a transfer partner. Personally I prefer transfers to Aeroplan to book Star Alliance awards without fuel surcharges, transfers to Singapore for Singapore Airlines premium cabin awards, and transfers to British Airways for short-distance non-stop flights. I like transfers to ANA for their distance-based award chart despite fuel surcharges, as well.
While Delta miles are generally the least valuable currency of major US airlines, they do present some strong options. Amex transfers to Delta are instant. You can use Delta miles to get business class awards for the whole family to Australia at the saver level. Here are the Top 8 Best Uses of Delta Miles.