Denied Delta Bonus: Plan B ThankYou Points

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Your results may vary. How many times have we heard that? Chase is cracking down on churners. How many times have we heard that?

American Express’s website clearly states for certain cards the sign up bonus is not allowed again if you have ever had the card. Yet I have personal and anecdotal evidence to the contrary. This time the egg is on my face because after the whole ordeal of trying to get approved for the useless Delta Platinum I was told that I would not be receiving the bonus. Mind you, I spoke to the rep and he said that I had the card way back in 2009 and the new rules went into effect in 2014 so I thought there was the possibility that the rule would only be applied proactively. That was the case when I received the Hilton Surpass for the second time past the deadline. Amex is escalating the claim but I think I’ll be shot down.

This still doesn’t solve the question of how I will get from here to Athens to run the marathon. I was supposed to book BIL-MSP-DTW-LHR today for 62,000 miles + $5.60 in business. Without the pesos the chance to fly Virgin Upper Class is now gone. Or is it? Here are a few options with other transfer partners. Note it takes 40,000 Virgins to fly from DTW-LHR and that I have 1,254 Virgins from my BOA churning days.

  • Transfer 57K MR to Delta to top off my pesos account. Pay $5.60.
  • Transfer 39k MR to Virgin, transfer 7000 MR to Delta to fly coach to DTW. Pay $424.60
  • Transfer 39k UR to Virgin, transfer 7000 MR to Delta to fly coach to DTW. Pay $424.60
  • Transfer 31kTY to Virgin, transfer 7000 MR to Delta to fly coach to DTW. Pay $424.60
    • Citi ThankYou has a 25% transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic.

Here are the issues:

  • Virgin doesn’t allow you to use miles for the Delta segments I have above. I called in and they said they would treat the Delta component as a separate award. Hence the need to transfer the MRs to Delta.
  • Second, transferring the ThankYou points can take 7-14 days! I’m not a fan of writing with exclamation points but how do they expect me to trust that there will be availability after that long?
  • Finally, the fuel surcharges are $419. What’s worse than hitching a ride with someone then they ask you to throw down on gas?

In the end, I rolled the dice and went with the ThankYou points option. I checked Virgin and Delta and both show tons of business class availability for the date I’m traveling. I value URs the most followed by MRs so I’m hesitant to burn those. The ThankYous will transfer to SQ so why not save as many as I can? As for the $419 fuel crap, I’m using the $400 off of my well fought for Wells Fargo card to cover that.

What do you think? Should I have transferred my MRs to Delta and flown first class the whole way and save the $400 in fuel? Or is it wiser to spend 38k mixture and live to fly SQ suite another day? Maybe I should’ve stuck to the peasant class option and flown US Air for 18k American.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Amex bonus shenanigans and the inherent shenanigans with Delta Skymiles…not a good combination.

    Is it possible to transfer TY to Singapore and fly on Aegean?

    • ahahah right!

      and if im transferring to SQ, i’m flying SQ lol. it is only $100 to fly to greece from lhr but im thinking of taking the train as far as i can get.

  2. Option 2 saves 11K points and costs $424. And you gave up domestic 1st class on the DTW segment. I’d call that a bad trade-off. Option 3 is the same as option 2 except using UR instead, so that’s even worse. Option 4 saves 8K more miles, so if you treat TY and MR as equivalent (both transfer equally to SQ), $424/19000 pts is a value over 2.2 cents per point. If MRs are worth more than that, or TYs are worth a lot less than MRs, go with option 4. But on my valuations, option 1 seems best.

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