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Delta Devalues Amex Gift Certificates in the SkyMiles Marketplace

by on September 24, 2011 · 34 comments

in American Express, Delta

The SkyMiles Marketplace (delta.com -> Skymiles -> Use miles-> SkyMiles Marketplace) is an online mall where you can use your Delta SkyMiles to buy merchandise and gift cards. Historically, if you have a Delta branded American Express card and/or are a Delta Medallion, there were some decent values like American Express gift cards that cost 11,000 miles per $100, so just about a penny a piece. Not bad, since SkyMiles can be minted like crazy – especially with 67% and 50% transfer bonuses from American Express.

However, overnight this week Delta devalued that redemption drastically. Now, you can only purchase American Express Gift Cards if you are a Delta Amex holder and the redemption rate is an eye popping 21,500 miles. Less than a half a cent per mile is a royal waste in my opinion. Redeeming via Delta’s Pay With Miles feature will at least get you Delta flights at 1 cent per mile towards airfare.

Less than a half a cent per SkyMile is not a good redemption in my opinion

There are still gift card opportunities that aren’t horrible (though I still wouldn’t redeem for them unless I was extremely strapped for cash). A $100 Macys/Saks/Ruths Chris gift card will run you 13,000 miles.

Saks gift cards for 13,000 miles. Not a great deal, but an option nonetheless

I understand that Skymiles can be hard to use, but my advice would be to still redeem them for travel (especially premium) with Skyteam partners since those awards are always at the low level. Finding that space and piecing together the perfect award can be challenging, but it can be done. Check out my posts on the topic for more information or feel free to comment below with any burning questions you may have about getting the most value out of your SkyMiles.

Maximizing Stopovers, Transfers and Open Jaw Ticketing on Delta Awards
Delta.com Quirks and How to Work Around Them to Find Low Awards
How to Book a Delta SkyMiles Award
How to Get To Australia With Delta SkyMiles

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Liz

    Are gift cards only available if you have the Delta Amex? I can’t locate the Saks card (or any gift cards) on the site and I wonder if it’s because I don’t carry their Amex…

  • Anonymous

    Correct- they are now only for Delta brande Amex holders. They used to be available for anyone/medallions

  • Mpohl

    Darn’…this might be my fault! :) Over the last six months I have cashed out approx. $2,000 in Amex GC. In my opinion Delta Skymiles are next to useless, so I figured that that was a good alternative. But with the reported devaluation that is not an economically feasible route any longer.

  • Jdkdkkddkdkd

    Skymiles are actually excellent for me.

    just booked Hawaii for 40k rt with decent connections.

    Prob score UG to the west coast and then who knows opup or at least exit row to aloha

    Mahalo

  • Ryan

    Hopefully this is only temporarily and no one redeems for these outrageous prices and Delta lowers the redemption.

  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    just binging it more in line with Amex Membership rewards redemption of 2 points per dollar. We must all tell AMEX how much we appreciate their devaluations for our benefit….

  • Mikermilez

    grrr Delta…I don’t blame AMEX for this one. I was just about to transfer 50k points under the current promo. thanks for the heads up on this Brian. this was my best use of mr points with delta and their promos. anyone have any other cash out options for mr points that get close to this one??

  • Anonymous

    First United now Delta. I think it’s going to be a trend. With so many easily accessible miles out there, airlines will have no choice but to up the ante and make our point/miles as valuable as the US dollar :( bummer.

  • Hahahehe

    Boy am I glad I redeemed by 150k miles earlier this month

  • http://twitter.com/stiffem Bob

    I’m a little disappointed you were not harder on this complete lack of notification from Delta, just like when they changed the Asia redemptions overnight. Of course I understand if you get free Business Class Fares to Tokyo, you have to be sensitive to Delta and cannot be objective.

  • http://twitter.com/stiffem Bob

    I’m a little disappointed you were not harder on this complete lack of notification from Delta, just like when they changed the Asia redemptions overnight. Of course I understand if you get free Business Class Fares to Tokyo, you have to be sensitive to Delta and cannot be objective.

  • Anonymous

    Ha.. the headline of the piece is “Delta devalues amex gift certs”. I agree that more notification would have been nice, but im not sure what bitching about it after the fact would have accomplished. I’d rather provide constructive advice on how to maximize Delta miles than to bitch and complain.

    I do call Delta out when I think they do stupid things, like when they instituted the idiotic 72 hour rule with awards. So while I appreciate your concern, I don’t feel the need to be sensitive to Delta whatsoever.

  • http://twitter.com/stiffem Bob

    “More” notification, any notification would have been nice. I just believe that Delta continues to set a dangerous precedent of “ZERO” notification and the bloggers don’t call them out on this. I just think you have to walk a tightrope when you take freebies, just my observation, perhaps I am wrong.

  • todd

    There goes the only reason I was keeping the Delta Platinum Amex. Converting some of my credit line over to another card, then closing this out before I get hit with $150 annual fee. Thanks for the heads up!

  • PJ

    a rare finder’s keep was 70K IAD HKG for coach redemption with excellent connection through Detroit

  • Kumar

    Some more bad news, may be not for everyone, today I received letter in the mail from Scana Energy (GA residents) saying that they are ending their association with Delta Airlines from October. As of now, they are awarding 1 skymile for $1 spent on the base price of the gas bill.

  • Mama Claire

    you need to have a disclaimer that you have received comps from what companies and when right up front. otherwise you risk making yourself less and less credible.

  • Anonymous

    I did in every post about the trip including an explanation of the comp http://thepointsguy.com/2011/06/my-trip-to-tokyo/

    I haven’t taken one since and I don’t plan to, but if I do I will absolutely disclose it openly

  • studd

    the more people talk about delta values the more delta de-values. anybody see the connection? maybe stop talking?

  • Helloi9

    really delta are just crooks, plain and simple.

  • Mama Claire

    That’s great, but your taking of the comp would, in your readers’ minds influence your judgment not only on that trip, but on everything you write. This is not made clear to new readers. A header on the top or bottom of the front page in a prominent place would be the RIGHT THING to do.

  • Mike 0

    This is devestating. I was waiting to get to 66,000 points (at 64,000 currently) and was just going to purchase tis morning.

    Essentially stole $300 from me overnight. Never again with Delta get my business….unbelievable.

  • http://twitter.com/mikermilez Michael Rousseau

    i dont see the need to go harshin on tpg. brian is the only blogger i have seen even report on this amex gc redemption change. i have always seen him as fair. there seems to be a lot of jealousy imo regarding comps. isnt the point to maximize our value on trips. well a free flight or hotel stay is about the best value you are ever gonna get! im angry about this change too, but anyone who has been doing points/miles knows it is always fluid. the reason i even have most of my mr points is because of bloggers like brian who blogged about the 75k codes, etc.

  • Mac

    I don’t understand why anyone would have redeemed for the Amex cards at less than 1cpm in the first place.

    Hey people you have a travel currency from a travel company – guess what what you should be redeeming it for….. TRAVEL!!!

    It you thought 11,000 rdms was only worth $100 then you were already playing the game the wrong way and might as well just fly Southwest.

  • lexxx

    this is complete crap. but I feel really bad for the people that were wanting to cash their miles in for the gift cards before they did this whopping 50% devaluation. I’m lucky I got my $2500 worth of gift cards before they did this crap. But, to all affected, I would save the miles for upgrade awards as Delta’s economy class is the most painful economy class I’ve ever seen…

  • Eric Ekshtat

    Hey man I have 81k points and I was waiting to hit 88 and redeem 8 gift cards, so much for that plan. I’m planning on canceling my delta amex gold card because of that annual fee in like februaryish. How do you suggest I spend my points? What has the most value when spending delta. I guess I can redeem at 1 dollar = 100 points on a flight.

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  • H6842

    I AM Extremely disappointed in Delta – VERY Poor way to repay customer loyalty by cutting the promised value in half. I for one am re-evaluating how I travel…and have written to Delta to complain. I encourage others to complain as well.

    If I had only known…I would have cashed out this Summer.

  • H6842

    Points guy…Is there a place at Delta where we can all start writing and possibly get someone’s attention? This is probably legal…but should be criminal.

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  • Maitaiismine

    I’m a Delta Amex cardholder, and I cannot find ANY gift cards at all in the Marketplace. Does anyone know how to find them on the site?

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  • Libertyman

    Neither could I.

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