SkyClub Hopping for Amex Points

by on May 7, 2011 · 22 comments

in American Express, Delta

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As I wrote about earlier this week, you can collect coupons worth 300 American Express Membership Rewards points every time you visit a SkyClub and show your American Express Platinum Card (not the Delta Platinum Card). It looks like this promotion will run through May and June, or until points obsessed TPG readers clean out every SkyClub of their supply!

I had my first experience yesterday when I was flying JFK-LAX, but I made a few rookie mistakes that I hope you can all learn from. I got to JFK at 8am for my 9am flight and I entered the airport through Terminal 2 (Medallion entrance), but that was a mistake because my flight was leaving from T2, so it would have saved me more time to enter through Terminal 3 – hit up those SkyClubs and then continue to T2 – hit that SkyClub and then board my flights.

So instead I had to walk all the way T2-T3 and my second rookie mistake was that both T3 SkyClubs were closed! Doh! If I would have checked this handy listing of all SkyClubs, I would have known that they didn’t open until 1pm. At least I got some exercise!

When I finally got to the T2 club, I showed my Amex Platinum card and boarding pass (which was unnecessary since I have SkyClub access as a Diamond Medallion) and the agent waved me through and asked if I wanted to make a donation to a charity. I felt a little callous saying “No, but can I have a 300 point coupon?” She nodded and handed me a paper coupon from a huge stack and I was on my way. For the record, as a rule of thumb I don’t donate to charities on a whim (like in grocery stories or airline lounges), because I actually research charities before deciding which ones should get my donation.

Paper Certificate

I then boarded my BusinessElite flight to LAX (which was fantastic as usual) and when I landed at LAX, I figured I’d snag another coupon by swinging into the SkyClub. I showed my Platinum card and boarding pass and he waved me through, so I asked for the coupon, which he gave me without any hesitation. Once again, they had a huge stack – my mouth started watering thinking that collectively, those little 300 point certificates could probably equal a nice international first class seat.

So the moral of the story is that you should have a plan of attack, know which clubs are open and always ask for the certificate. While 300 points doesn’t sound like a whole lot, you’d only need 210 of these certificates to get an Upper Class Virgin Atlantic flight from NYC-London!

Redeeming these certificates is simple, you just go to this link, enter the certificate number and then your card information and the will points post with 24 hours. Overall, I’ve been very happy with my Platinum card membership, while the $450 fee seems like a lot at first, the benefits far outweigh that cost and the valuable Membership Rewards points I earn can be redeemed for flights on all three major alliances. For more information, check out my Maximizing Amex series, which I am still in the process of completing. The first four posts are: Post 1: Understanding the Card Offering Post 2: Understanding Membership Rewards Post 3: Understanding Transfer Bonuses. Post 4: Platinum Card Review. Post 5: SkyTeam Transfer Partners Post 6: Oneworld Transfer Partners.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • gpapadop

    Ok, every mile addict wants to know…Double dip? Triple Dip? I mean, can you go back to the same club again and hit up another from another front desk employee? When you redeem them on amex, are you perhaps limited to a certain number per day?

  • Chris

    Yesterday at DCA they had a stack sitting on the check-in counter; no need to show a card or specifically request them.

  • Dave

    Is it really 210 Amex points for that NYC-London flight? That seems way too low

  • The Points Guy

    @gpapadop- it says 1 per club per day but ymmv

    @chris- did they let you take as many as you want?

    @Dave- 210 300 point cards-= 63,000 points which is how many amex points needed to transfer to ANA to book a virgin Atlantic biz class award

  • Ted

    Those ATL travelers are gonna score huge….DTW needs more SCs.

  • Tao

    Hi TPG,

    I’m having problems loading your blog on Mac. It always loads ipad layout, which itself doesn’t work on ipad either (can’t select pages, doesn’t direct to the right post, etc.)

  • The Points Guy

    @Tao- my web guy is going to look into it. I have a Mac and have no issues so I’m not sure whats going on. Sorry for the inconvenience!

  • Chris

    I only grabbed one out of curiosity, but I doubt they would have noticed someone taking a handful or more. (Incidentally, I don’t have an applicable Amex card, so the card I have is unused if someone wants it.)

  • larry

    @Chris I would be very happy to take it off your hands :-)

  • Caroline Lowman

    I went to Atlanta today and got 6 out of the 8. One club was closed for updating and one didn’t open until 2 pm. 1800 MR points – not bad for having something to do during my layover :)

  • Claire

    Made it through most of your series of Amex posts (super informative, thank you!) and would like to spring for the platinum if/when the signup bonus goes back up above the current 25k(?) points. But it seems the bonus is only for new cardholders. Is it buried somewhere in the T&Cs exactly how they define “new”? I did have an Amex Platinum in the past but cancelled it ~15 years ago; will that disqualify me? Also curious about your thoughts re: the value of this card for a low spender like me. I travel a lot (2-3 trips/month, almost always domestic) but mostly for business which must be paid with my corporate credit card (not an Amex) so my personal spending on this card would only be like $15 – 20k/year. Lounge access alone makes me want to get this card though.

  • Ted

    @Caroline Lowman That’s exactly what I was talking about. Good for you.

    @Claire Take a look at Frugal Travel Guy’s blog, April 9th post. There are more posts regarding “new”, but his website’s search function does not work well so I’ll let you do the digging.

  • The Points Guy

    @Claire-I bet you’ll be fine. At the end of the day Amex has amazing customer service sp I’m confident you’ll get any signup bonus you apply for

  • M

    If I’m not flying Delta, can I still just pop in and show my card to get the coupon?

  • Peter

    Another tip would be if you have another Plat AMEX (as authorized user) card with your travelling companion – my partner has the Plat AMEX and I’m an authorized user with a separate card – check-in separately (don’t use the guest feature) to get 2 certs per visit.

  • The Points Guy

    @m you need to be flying delta to get lounge access w the Amex platinum card

  • Claire

    Ted and TPG, thank you both.

  • danny

    i managed 5 clubs in ATL yesterday in the hour i had before my flight boarded. T, 2 in A, 2 in B. felt like i needed to hang out for at least 5 minutes in each one as opposed to just turning around and walking out with the cert…

  • Kevin

    Got 8 of them today while, 6 at ATL while waiting for my next flight, plus 1 more from a guy in front of me who didn’t want the certificate and gave it to me! Then one more in SAN. I plan to hit up all the skyclubs I can tomorrow to double up on them. Should net me 4500 MR points, maybe more if I find more people who don’t want them. Not a bad bonus to a $100 AI fair I took originally as a mileage run to net me about 8k miles.

  • D. Whit

    Flew out Monday on the Delta ATL – LAX and stopped by the Sky Club and got one of the certificates.
    Flew back Wed from Lax and got two certificates using Amex Platinum. Now, that I check e-mails, I only see one certificate being accepted.

  • Laurie

    The skyclub on C terminal in Atlanta did not act like they knew anything about this on Sunday. If I call amex, wonder if I could get the points.

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