How to Maximize the Delta 100% Transfer Miles Bonus Promotion

by on September 12, 2011 · 114 comments

in Delta

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Delta currently has a 100% bonus when you transfer Delta miles between accounts until September 30, 2011, which basically equates to them selling miles at roughly 1.1 cents a piece. I have been getting a lot of emails about this promotion, so I thought I’d lay out a couple different scenarios so you can decide if this makes sense for you. While Delta SkyMiles are among the hardest to redeem at low levels, it can be done, especially when redeeming for partner awards (like Air France, KLM, V Australia and China Southern). I recommend using Expertflyer to find partner award availability and then calling Delta to book. See this post for more tips on booking Delta awards and my most recent one about Maximizing Delta Awards.

Scenario 1: You have no Delta miles and no American Express Membership Rewards Points and let’s say you want to get 120,000 miles, which is enough for a roundtrip ticket to Asia or even Mauritius/Seychelles with a stopover in Europe (like I did this summer).
Step 1: Set up two Skymiles accounts. It doesn’t matter the names or addresses on the account, because you can book awards for whoever you want. Create accounts here. Cost: Free
Step 2: Generate at least 1 mile in each account. You can do this a ton of ways, like transferring any of your hotel points to the Delta account (for example Starwood Platinum members can transfer a single point into a single Delta mile), buying an item through the Skymiles Shopping Mall or dining at a Skymiles dining establishment. Your account needs to be at least 10 days old and most of these methods take about 10 days for the miles to post, so do your qualifying activity as soon as possible. Cost: As cheap as $2 if you buy a single iTunes song for each account through the shopping portal.
Step 3: Once the 10 days have passed and you have at least 1 point in your accounts, you’ll then buy 8,000 SkyMiles with one account, which will actually turn into 16,000 with their concurrent 100% Buy Miles promotion. Cost : $301
Step 4: Transfer 15,000 miles to account number 2. Cost: $180. Account 2 will now have 30,000 miles.
Step 5: Account #2 now transfers 30,000 miles back to Accounts 1. Cost: $330. Accounts 1 now has 61,000 miles.
Step 6: Account 1 transfers two batches of 30,000 mile back toto account #2. Cost: $330 x 2 = $660. Account number 2 will now have 120,000 SkyMiles – enough for that trip-of-a-lifetime award to Asia or Africa in business class.
Total Cost to Generate 120,000 SkyMiles: $1,471 or 1.47 cents per mile. Not bad, since most business class awards to Africa and Asia are well over $5,000! Of course you don’t actually have to use those miles for business class – I just used that as an example. 120,000 miles can also get you two coach tickets from North America to Europe and remember that Delta allows a stopover and open jaw on awards, so you can build in multiple cities on your trip to maximize the value of the award.

Scenario 2: You have a boatload of American Express points, but no SkyMiles and you want to create 120,000 SkyMiles
Step 1: If you don’t already have one, set up two Skymiles accounts. It doesn’t matter the names or addresses on the accounts, because you can book awards for whoever you want. Create accounts here. Cost: Free
Step 2:
Generate at least 1 mile in one of the accounts. You can do this a ton of ways, like transferring any of your hotel points to the Delta account (for example Starwood Platinum members can transfer a single point into a single Delta mile), buying an item through the Skymiles Shopping Mall or dining at a Skymiles dining establishment. You can also transfer 1,000 Amex points which will post instantly to each account, so you only need to wait the 10 days before continuing with your transfers. Cost: $~1
Step 3:
Make sure at least one of those SkyMiles accounts are linked to your Membership Rewards account. -> Points Summary -> Expand Linked Travel Programs (bottom right) -> Scroll to the bottom and click “Link additional programs,” not Enroll.
Step 4: Register the SkyMiles account that is linked to your Membership Rewards to this 50% Amex transfer bonus. To read more about that promo you can check out the original post.
Step 5: Transfer 10,000 Amex points to your linked Delta account. The miles and bonus should post almost instantaneously, so you will end up with 15,000 SkyMiles in Account #1. Cost: $6 in excise fees.
Step 6:
Transfer 15,000 miles to account number 2. Cost: $180. Account 2 will now have 30,000 miles.
Step 7: Account #2 now transfers 30,000 miles back to Accounts 1. Cost: $330. Account 1 ends up with 60,000 miles. .
Step 8: Accounts 1 makes two 30,000 mile transfers back to account #2. Cost: $330 x 2 = $660. Account number 2 will now have 120,000 SkyMiles.
Total cost: $1,179 plus the value you place on 10,000 Amex points.

Scenario 3: We have 30,000 SkyMiles, but want to get to 120,000 so you have enough for that dream award.
Step 1: Create a second account or use a friend/family members that you have access to. Cost: Free
Step 2: Transfer 30,000 miles to account 2. Account 2 ends up with 60,000 miles. Cost: $330.
Step 3: Transfer 30,000 miles to account 1. Account 1 receives 60,000 miles. Cost $330
Step 4: Conduct another 30,000 mile transfer from account 2 to account 1. Account 1 receives 60,000 miles. Cost $330
Total cost: $990. We went from 30,000 original miles to 120,000 miles – a 90,000 mile increase for only $990.

Scenario 4: You have a boatload of SkyMiles, but want to take advantage of this promotion because you know you’ll be able to use even more in the future and redeem them for more than the 1.1 cents you buy them for. The opportunities here are endless because you can create multiple new accounts and keep transferring back and forth. The only limit is that any single account can only transfer up to 150,000 miles in a year and receive up to 300,000 miles via intra-Delta transfers per year (this rule does not apply to American Express transfers which only have a transfer limit of 999,000 to any given transfer partner per day). I can imagine an enterprising individual easily manufacturing millions of points for $11,000 per million. Of course, Delta makes the rules and can change them at any time, so any extreme behavior can and will most likely be met with an account freeze or mileage loss so don’t get greedy!

Terms & Conditions:
¹Transaction must be completed between now and 11:59pm EST on September 30, 2011 to receive the 100 percent mileage bonus. The 100 percent bonus mile offer expires at 11:59 pm on September 30, 2011. Bonus miles for Buy Miles transactions will be awarded to the purchaser’s SkyMiles account. Bonus miles for Gift and Transfer Miles transactions will be awarded to the recipient’s SkyMiles account. The 100 percent mileage bonus will post within 24 hours of purchase. This program may not be available in all markets or geographic areas. Buy, Gift, and Transfer Miles may only be received into SkyMiles accounts that have been established for at least 10 days and have earned at least one mile since enrolling in the SkyMiles program. Please refer Delta customer service representative to 970631.

Miles may be purchased for $0.035 USD per mile (minimum 2,000 miles) plus a 7.5 percent Federal Excise Tax. An additional 5 percent GST and/or other applicable taxes apply to purchases by Canadian residents. Purchased miles are not refundable and are applicable toward all SkyMiles awards. Purchased miles do not count toward Medallion or Million Miler status.

For Transfer Miles transactions, you will be charged $0.01 USD per mile, plus a $30 USD processing fee per transaction or as otherwise set forth on the order form. All amounts paid by the member for the transfer of miles pursuant to this Agreement are exclusive of any applicable taxes. A 5 percent GST and/or other applicable taxes apply to residents of Canada on the $30 USD processing fee. Miles can be transferred in increments of 1,000 miles, with a minimum transfer of 1,000 miles. Transferred miles are applicable for all SkyMiles program awards. Transferred miles do not count toward Medallion or Million Miler status. Each member is limited to transferring no more than 150,000 miles from his or her account and no recipient may receive more than 300,000 transferred miles from any other SkyMiles program account or combination of accounts in any calendar year. Any miles beyond this limit will not be transferred from member’s account or posted to any recipient’s account.

²Taxes and fees for Award Travel are the responsibility of the passenger and must be paid at the time the ticket is booked. Award Travel seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or in all markets.

All Delta SkyMiles program rules apply. To review the rules, please visit Offers, prices and rules are subject to change without notice. Offers void where prohibited by law. Additional restrictions may apply.

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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  • April D. Thompson

    Thanks for this. I kept coming back to that postt trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of this offer. I’m all over Scenario 3/4!

  • RamKashyap

    Such an elaborate explanation for each scenario. Thank you so much.

  • Juliusmcruz

    What if you don’t have membership rewards points?

  • Zach Hanlon

    What do you guys think about this? Transfer what ever points you want to a second/third account then merge the 2/3 skymiles accounts into one? Is that cheating the system? By merging accounts you then avoid the transfer fee back to your primary right?

  • Anonymous

    Thats what Scenario 1 is

  • Anonymous

    Yea that should work

  • Dave

    I wish CO, UA or MR (membership rewards) would ran such a program … buying at 1.1 cents.

  • Sara Donna

    Beautiful…So glad you’re there to work out the details for us!!

  • Anonymous

    US Airways has it at 1.478 cents a mile and they can be redeemed on Star Alliance flights at pretty generous ratios

  • Brent Lucas

    Bro..I have a SKyMiles points account right now, should I involve that in Scenarion number one or create three new ones?

  • Anonymous

    If you have active accounts, then you can skip that step. I was just demonstrating for someone who has never had a Delta account.

  • Anonymous

    That’s my job :-D

  • Anonymous

    NP- i hope you can take advantage of it!

  • Anonymous

    Let me know how many you end up hauling in :-)

  • AS

    This seems designed to cheat the program rules. The rules are quite clear: “Members may not maintain more than one SkyMiles account.” at the link you provided.

    Creating accounts for fictional people or people who don’t want this account technically may not be cheating, but it is no question cheating in spirit.

  • Anonymous

    Who said they have to be fictional people? Just make one for your spouse/partner /best friend/ etc. I wrote this assuming we all know at least 2 people who would be willing to help accrue points.

  • Anonymous

    And remember, Delta is making money off of this promotion. They are betting on people using these miles for less than a cent (the average use is probably much less) or not using them at all. I don’t think its against the spirit of the rules to try and maximize your gain from this promotion.

  • Learpax

    I have about 100K in Sky miles and 25K in AMX and in writing with names that I qualify for the 75K bump and will get in in about another 4-5 weeks. I have been interested in doing a flight to AMS or another Fun European location on Flying blue one of these days when they put in their 50% discount and timing works for me. I was saving the points for that. I know FB has high taxes. So now I wondering if is it better to transfer to delta and keep them there or leave it at AMX?
    I have no easy way of directly making points on Flying blue, transferring from AMX is it.
    Thank you

  • AS

    So essentially your argument is, since ‘Delta is making money off this promotion’, that gives you free license to bend or break their rules?

  • Anonymous

    No, I think the better argument is that if you don’t know 2 people to help you do this promotion, you probably wouldn’t need the miles anyway.

  • Garrett

    would you not recommend using more than 10k MR points? Could it bring down the total cost of getting max amount of miles?

  • hoglard1

    How does this relate to the DL/AX MR transfer programs (i.e., the 40% rebate, and the 50% +MQMs)? All of them seem to run thru 9/30/11. What’s the best way to maximize DL miles, and in what order should one do the transactions? Thx.

  • Anonymous

    It all depends. I personally value Amex points at 2 cents a piece so getting a 50% bonus to Delta would mean that I value Delta miles at 1.33 cents a piece or more, which is true. However, I personally like having Amex to use for Star Alliance/ Oneworld awards, so I’d rather create Skymiles at 1.1 cents a piece using the transfer method. There’s no one right answer- it all depends how much cash you want to spend, how you will use the Skymiles and how you value Amex points

  • Anonymous

    So it would cost you 50k Amex to get a business class half off award and you’ll pay at least $500 in taxes. Whereas you can transfer 67k to Delta and end up with 100k which is enough for a roundtrip award in business class on Air France/KLM and other Delta partners and taxes are usually around $100. For the flexibility you get and the cash you save in fees, I think transferring to Delta makes more sense than hoping for a Flying Blue Promo Award to work for you.

  • Anonymous

    See my comment below. It really all depends on 1) How much you value Amex 2) How much you value Delta 3) How much cash you have

  • Jo

    These SM transfer opportunities are really a tough call for me. As I am an airline retiree, I have lifetime flight benefits, however flying HK is always preferable to SB. I do try to provide tkts to my grown childen & their families via my SM account, but it’s so against my grain to even pay the mileage transfer fees/taxes, etc., after grunting it out for years to reach retirement. With the reality being the only harder thing than flying SB is to secure SM seats at low redemptions, I am compelled not to ignore these opportunities. So, pointsguy, were you I, would you consider it a good use of my Chase Sapphire 100,000 pts cash out option to cover about 800.00 in SM transfer costs? (It’s Chase’s money, not mine, so to speak.) My yield would be about 160,000 SM. Thanks.

  • Striper2
  • Federico

    Thank you for the information (I forgot about the bonus promotion).

    I want to fly MIA-CAI (Egypto) before 2013, is $1.350 o Y and $5.000 for J class. I only have BA and AA miles.

    BA Miles= 80k Y or 160k J, taxes + ridiculous QY fees

    AA Miles= 90k Y or 135k J + taxes

    Delta SkyMiles=80k Y or 120k J + taxes

    but I have 10k MR and 50k pending points…

    I had never transfered MR to SkyMiles, so I can take 50% bonus before 9/30. My wife, my brother and my cousin have SkyMiles accounts.

    1) transfer 60k MR to my cousin’s SkyMiles acc.=90k SkyMiles + $36

    2) make 3 transfers of 30k each to me, my wife and brother’s account (3×330=990) for a total of 60k SkyMiles on each account

    3) make 2 transfers of 30k each from my brother’s account to my wife and me. (3×330)

    120k SkyMiles on my account and 120k on my wife’s account, enought for 2 R/T on J class for just 60k MR points and $1686
    Went from 60k MR/90k SkyMiles to 240k miles, a 150k SkyMiles increase for $1650. Still the same 1.1 cent per mile


    for $330 extra I can save 20k MR points and use Scenario 3 (transfer 40k MR to 60k SkyMiles)

  • Garrett

    I’m new to this game but I have about 60k MR points I’ve accrued and can never find a use for (up until recently I only had the blue so I couldn’t transfer to airline partners). I just read your other comment about some fares being up to $500 in taxes after a 5ok redemption which doesn’t sound like a deal. The 1ook/$100 deal sounds great though!

  • Dave

    Thanks Brian. Excellent suggestion.

    My Europe trip will likely be a couple of years away. So, I am just accumulating points as cheaply as I can now.

  • Jim

    What about a SPG transfer of 40000 with 10k xfer bonus into new acct b, then 50k transfer to real account 1. 100k miles for 40k spg points. Do they post fast enough or does it take weeks? Never transferred out of spg.

  • Anonymous

    100k for 40k SPG plus $560 in fees. It takes about a week to transfer from SPG to Delta.. sometimes less depending on the day you do it and when they run the sweep

  • Napolehon

    I just wanted to share my success – thanks to TPG.

    I needed to go to an African country to visit family. Was going to buy coach tickets for $1500+. After reading TPG’s post,I was able to do this:

    1. I transferred 100k AMEX to Delta and got 150K plus the 25k mqm.
    2. Transferred 150k to my wife’s acct and back for $3300.
    3. Booked business class AF trips to Africa for 120k +$170.

    spent $1320 + 170 for each business class tix which is cheaper than what my coach class tix would have cost! A business class tix would have cost about $9000 each :)

  • Sam

    In Scenario 2, what is the purpose of having 3 accounts as opposed to 2? so lets say I have 40,000 Amex points. Cant I transfer them to a Delta account for 60,000 miles after the 50% bonus, Then transfer those 60,000 miles to another account to get 120,000 miles for $630?

  • Anonymous

    You are right- a third account isn’t necessary for any of the scenarios. I updated the post

  • Anonymous

    Hearing stuff like this makes me VERY happy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Anonymous

    Hearing stuff like this makes me VERY happy. Thanks for sharing!

  • newby

    Let say I want to transfer 25K from AMX to delta. If I transfer this to my buddy and he is registered for the 50% bonus will he still get the bonus or not, knowing that I did this to my own account the last time they allowed this.
    Is the 50% bonus based on receiving FF account or paying AMX account. This is not a new account, he has had it for years just hasn’t done much to it.
    Then have him transfer the miles in to my account for the 100% bonus before end of the month.
    Thanks you

  • Scott

    There is an advantage in multiple accounts: If you transfer to more than one account at once, the $30 fee only gets charged once. If you transfer 30k each to two accounts, in one transfer, it costs $630, not $660. I found this out halfway thru generating 750k points for 5 accounts in this way a few weeks back….

  • Napolehon

    I know I will never pay for business class @ $9000 but still that puts my delta miles @ $0.075 each. I have to fly this route quite often so I decided to pursue Gold for this year and shoot for Diamond next year. the 125% bonus rdm itself makes it worthwhile for me :)

  • Frequent Miler

    Scott, I just did the same thing — I moved 60K miles for $630 instead of $600. You beat me to the comment post by 12 minutes :)

  • Anonymous

    I thought max transfer was 30k?

  • Frequent Miler

    Yes, 30K per person. You can transfer 150K (I think) at a time if you have 5 recipients. That way you only pay the $30 fee once. Of course, if your goal is to consolidate points, that doesn’t help much since now you have to transfer all of those miles back to one person and each of those transactions will incur additional fees. In the end, I don’t think it will make a huge difference in the amount paid, but it is good to know in case your circumstances warrant it.

  • Frequent Miler

    The best use of this trick, I think, is if each of the recipients needs 60K added to their accounts. Not hard to imagine if a family is planning to travel together…

  • Scott

    I needed 150k in each of 5 accounts… Wish I’d spotted this trick earlier in the process though….

  • Ri Zheng

    Do the new account(just created today) have to wait 10 days for me to transfer miles from an older account?

  • Maury

    If I already have two old Skymiles accounts, do I still need to have at least 1 mile in each? Thank you

  • Joseph

    Can using a Delta Gold, a Chase Sapphire, or Amex Gold Premier get you 3x or 2x points in paying for transfers?

  • Ri Zheng

    What if you create 4 more accounts with your name… and transfer & merge?

  • Anonymous

    Is there any way to take advantage of this offer if you have already signed-up for a Delta bonus transfer? I was disqualified, probably because I had registered for previous Amex bonus offers.

  • emily

    For those with the Amex Platinum, it’s noteworthy that my $100 transfer was reimbursed since I have Delta as my selected airline to credit :) Since I didn’t have another planned use for it, free miles!

  • Mooper

    May I add an important Scenario 5: You have a friend/family member with many DL points but a lower/absent status and you want to buy SkyMiles for 1.1 CPM *and* make them more valuable via the better redemption/change/fee options that come with upper status. For example, pay $330 to move 30K Skymiles from your son’s account (he has no status) to your account (you are DM), and you’ll wind up not only with 30K miles purchased at 1.1 CPM, but the original 30K SkyMiles will be worth more because you can make much better use of them.

  • Frequent Miler

    Ri Zheng — that’s fiendishly clever, but I wouldn’t bet on you getting away with it.

  • Frequent Miler

    Good point! As long as the family member with status is also booking award travel with the ones without status, that is true. Delta has a box you check when finding award flights that says “I am traveling”. Supposedly they use this to determine whether to show you better redemption options. I’m not sure if that’s true about change fees and such as well?

  • Anonymous

    Its true for changes as well. If a Platinum/Diamond makes awards for family members, they can change them for free up to 72 hours from departure. So I agree with Mooper, this promo might be a good time to combine the families miles in the persons account who has the most status

  • Anonymous

    That is awesome!

  • Anonymous

    You can just create a new Skymiles account which should be eligible for the 50% or you could do the 67% bonus- the only catch is that you’d have to wait a couple months to get the rebates

  • Ri Zheng

    I will let you know ;)

  • Anonymous

    A commenter upthread just said they got the $200 in credit from Amex Platinum for her purchase, which leads me to believe these purchases are coded as airfare/travel so the odds are good

  • Anonymous

    As long as they’ve had points in them at one time or another, you don’t need to do anything else

  • Anonymous

    Yes: “Transfer Miles may only be received into SkyMiles accounts that have been established for at least 10 days and have earned at least one mile since enrolling in the SkyMiles program”

  • Frequent Miler

    So, just to clarify, the person with Platinum/Diamond status does not need to be flying in order to make free changes as long as the awards were made with that person’s account?

  • jin

    WHen you transfer miles to another account, how long does it take for the 100% additional miles to be posted? Is it instantaneous? Because I want to transfer towards the end of the month but do not want to miss the 9/30 deadline.

  • Anonymous

    Correct. As a Delta Diamond I can book an award for you and then cancel/change it whenever I want (up until 72 hours before departure) and get all my miles and taxes back. I do not need to be on the same itinerary.

  • Anonymous

    Should be instantaneous… or 24 hours max. Per the T&C “The 100 percent mileage bonus will post within 24 hours of purchase. “

  • jin

    is there a way to disenroll from the amex/delta deal…i stupidly also signed up for this promotion and havent tried transferring yet so dont know if i’d be disqualified

  • Anonymous

    Yes- call Delta and ask them to unenroll you

  • John

    Thank you TPG, certainly appreciate the info. New to this so I apologies for the simple question. You prefer to hold MR for Star Alliance vs Delta in one of your comments. I am planning a trip with my brother to Europe for a month. To accumulate points, assuming I start from scratch, would you consider the US Airways promo to be better for me than this transfer promo? Delta transfer is ~$990 for 120k, while US Airways would be ~$1,375 for 100k, plus whatever I can do with Grand Slam promo.

  • Anonymous

    Where are you based and where are you trying to go?

  • Anonymous

    Sorry. Would be from LAX to whatever ends up cheapest to fly to. Hitting MAD, Italy, PAR, LHR, AMS, Berlin as the main ones. Sorry just created the account, hence the different name.

  • Raj B

    So 30k points on a transfer for $130 net by using all of the $200 AMEX Platinum allowance that will expire on 12/31 anyway?!? That’s the best deal yet!

  • Puzzler

    I’m a bit confused. The T&C say that “…no recipient may receive more than 300,000 transferred miles…in any calendar year.” Do the BONUS miles count as “transferred” miles? In other words, could one receive 300k AND get bonus miles for the transfers, or is the TOTAL limited to 300k?

  • Matthew Desario


    I just wanted to thank you for the earlier post about the 67% Delta Rebate. I was previously going to pay 840K for 4 tickets (20 & 2X on OW using SM) LAX-CDG(stop)-NBO(dest)-CDG-LAX and I’d already resigned myself to signing up for the promo and getting 340K miles back in 6-8 weeks, spending a total of 500K miles. After reading your blog, and signing up for EF and KVS, I was able to book LAX-CDG(stop)-LHR-NBO(dest)-COO-CDG-DTW-LAX in O for all four of us for a total of 420K miles and $996 in taxes. Did I mention the part where we’re all in O? Also, since I ultimately transferred 850K miles, and go 340K in that bonus, I’m only actually paying 20K/$250/ticket.

    Air France and Kenyan Airlines meaning that O is first class. I even checked the equipment to make sure that I chose the seats that were rated as quietest. So I guess what I’m trying to say, is thanks for making the entry into this a little easier. It’s quite intimidating at first but going to Africa for a Safari, staying with friends in Paris for a week is pretty great. I even booked long haul overnighters to save on hotels. :)

  • emily

    I’m not sure. I have a feeling they won’t partially reimburse for purchases over $200 but I haven’t tried it. I was making a transfer for a family member who just needed a few more miles for her award ticket so the total was $100 and it was reimbursed. Not sure exactly how they make those decisions though…

  • ClayD333

    Thanks Emily, now this deal makes sense for me :)!

  • David

    quick question: do the fees paid to Delta for the promotion get coded as airfare on my Amex gold premier rewards card for 3X points?

  • ClayD333

    How long did it take to get reimbursed. I did 30k for $330-200 today. Hope it works, but if it doesn’t, Ill do 17k for 200 and try again. fingers Xed..

  • Kj2364

    How do I put Delta as my selected airline on my platinum card? That makes this worth doing for me. Thanks.

  • P J

    If using the amex PRG card for the purchase on Delta for the transfer, does this count as airline travel points for the 3X?

  • James

    My wife and i each only have 8601 miles. We’re looking to go LAX-CDG-MIA around xmas/nye. It’s $1241 or 92,000 miles per ticket (plus $91.10 taxes). We also have $100 credit in each of our names from a Delta screwup. Trying to figure out the cheapest way to make this trip work. Thinking doing the miles transfer to accrue enough to get 92k miles and buy 1 ticket, but just not sure how much that’d cost. Thoughts?

    Sorry for the seemingly SAT math problem!

  • Fdezarra

    Do we have to keep track of the days or will the transfer option appear when the accounts are eligible?

  • FindAWay

    To carry Scenario 3 even further, see:

  • Miguel

    Has anybody tried this? Are we 100% sure there’s no restriction about how many back and forths between the same 2 accounts can take place?

  • Lauren

    For deals like this it would be awesome if you could include a section in your post that states:
    “Last time this deal was offered [date]”
    “Expected next time this deal will be offered [date]”

    This deal seems to come around frequently. I currently don’t need extra miles now, but likely will need more in about a year after I use them for a trip so it’d be helpful to know how often you see certain types of deals become available (annually, 3x/year, etc)

  • King KIng

    looks like you only can transfer up to 4 people at a time?

    “One to four SkyMiles recipients may be included in a single transaction”

  • RB

    Just want to post my experience with this Delta promotion and how it worked for me. I, too, was curious if anyone had success with multiple transfers, etc and how fast the transactions posted:

    We have 3 existing Delta Skymiles accounts, each with just a few miles in them already as we do not fly Delta much (one account is mine, one is my wife, and the other is my Dad who no longer travels much). Our ultimate goal was to combine the miles in my account and my wife’s account, at the lowest cost, while also transferring some Amex membership rewards points (we currently have a few hundred thousand Amex membership rewards points, but want to save most of those to transfer to Continental (to use on Star Alliance airlines) before Sept 30, but have some to spare if we need to transfer to Delta). The ultimate goal was to get around 150,000 Delta miles total in the either my account or my wife’s account – enough for one business or first class ticket. Also, we did not want to use any of Account 3′s balance as my Dad wanted to keep these miles for his use. So we basically just used Account 3 as a conduit to facilitate the transfers.

    Account 1: 17,460 miles
    Account 2: 7,892 miles – this account has elite status
    Account 3: 37,445 miles

    After walking through a few scenarios and comparing prices, we decided to do the following:

    Step 1: Transferred 50,000 Amex Membership rewards points to Account 2 (my wife’s Delta account). (My wife is an additional cardholder under my Amex account, so no issues transferring to her Delta account). Delta is currently running the 50% bonus on miles transferred, so we took advantage of this promo. Once we processed the transaction on Amex, it instantly hit the Delta account and we increased this account’s balance by 75,000 miles (50,000 miles transferred + 50% bonus = 75,000 miles total). Total cost for transfer was $30 (Amex charges $0.0006 per point transferred).

    Delta is also running a promotion where you receive a 20,000 Amex membership rewards point rebate for every 50,000 Amex membership reward points you transfer to Delta. So, it really will only have us use 30,000 of our Amex membership rewards points, while getting 75,000 miles deposited into Delta Account 2.
    The terms & conditions state that an electronic certificate will be emailed within 6-8 weeks with the 20,000 points to be redeposited into your Amex membership rewards account. I am hoping this comes through. Has anyone had any experience on how quickly this is emailed out?

    Step 2: Account 1 transfers 17,000 Delta miles to Account 3. With the 100% transfer bonus, the total miles transferred equaled 34,000. Total cost was $200 ($0.01 per mile + $30 service fee). Once we processed the transaction, it instantly hit Account 3.

    Step 3: Account 3 transfers the 34,000 miles to Account 2. Given a max of 30,000 miles can be transferred per transaction, however, we needed to split this into two separate transactions. So in this step, Account 3 transfers 30,000 miles to Account 2. With the 100% transfer bonus, the total miles transferred equaled 60,000. Total cost was $330 ($0.01 per mile + $30 service fee). Once we processed the transaction, it instantly hit Account 2.

    Step 4: To continue from Step 3 above, Account 3 transfers 4,000 miles to Account 2. With the 100% transfer bonus, the total miles transferred equaled 8,000. Total cost was $70 ($0.01 per mile + $30 service fee). Once we processed the transaction, it instantly hit Account 2.

    In the end, Account 2 ended up with 150,892 miles in it. Account 1 with 460 miles and Account 3 still has the original 37,445 that it started with. Exactly what we wanted in the end. Total cost for all transfers was $630, we used 30,000 of our Amex membership rewards points, and it yielded an incremental 126,000 miles added to our Delta account. I do realize we could have kept the transfers going back and forth among the accounts to yield even more miles, but did not do so as we wanted to limit the dollar amount we spent. I was very impressed how all the transactions posted instantly. My only concern now is getting the 20,000 Amex membership rewards electronic certificate. Has anyone had any experience on how long it will take to receive?

  • Federico

    Delta 50 bonus transfer is for first time transfer. As far as I know if you get that promo, you can’t get the 20k MR points back (40% promo).

  • Fdezarra

    This was all done this weekend? This promotion is going on till the end of the month? Are there any promo codes that you need to put in to get the 100% transfer bonus? Or does it happen automatically? Thanks.

  • Ri Zheng

    Which card should you use to pay for the transfer? I have Amex Gold Card, which gives 3 points/per dollar on airline charges, but do you know if this charge will be coded as the same way as Delta air fare purchase? I also have Sapphire card, and I’m pretty sure it will be coded as “Travel”, hence receiving 2 points/dollar.

    Please advise. Thanks

    I have used Amex card on hotel booking/air fare in the past, and Amex denied the 3 points/dollar claiming that charge is coded as “tour operator” instead of airline.

  • Ri Zheng

    You can transfer Chase points to Continental , much more valuable, and valued alot higher than 1 cent/per mile.

  • Ri Zheng

    I’m planning on transferring 200K points :)

  • Longmanzz

    for the MR 50% bonus, do you know the first time user applys on the AMEX account or SM account? I have done that last time from my AMEX to my SM. And I heard that I can transfer to my wife’s SM as well which has not been transferred before. So if I transfer to her account, will she get the bonus and 25k MQM if more than 100k transfer? thanks

  • Anonymous

    It applies to the Delta account. If it lets you register for the transfer bonus, then you will get it

  • Anonymous

    I would use Premier Rewards.. it will very likely show up as a Delta charge and thus 3x

  • Big D

    Brian,I have close to 500k MR points. I want to finally make it to Europe for b-day in January with wife. I only have a week to decide on transfer. I have accounts with Continental and Delta with 60K each . What do you think would be best transfer or should I wait for? Thanks for all the help

  • Jenny

    Thanks Brian for the detailed, helpful post! I followed scenario 2 to earn 120K miles. :)

  • Guesty McGuesterson

    You ellipsed the key phrase there. The terms and conditions states in number 4 (I added the 5 stars on both sides of the phrase you left out above):

    “Transfer Miles may only be donated and received by SkyMiles accounts that have been established for at least 10 days and have earned at least one mile since enrolling in the SkyMiles program. This Program may not be available in all markets or geographic areas. Each Member is limited to transferring no more than 150,000 miles from his/her account and no recipient may receive more than 300,000 transferred miles ***** from any other SkyMiles Program account or combination of accounts ***** in any calendar year. Any miles beyond this limit will not be transferred from member’s account or posted to any recipient’s account.”

    So the only way to interpret this is that the 100% bonus, since it is received from Delta itself, not “from any other SkyMiles Program account or combination of accounts,” you should be able to receive 300,000 miles directly from 2 or more account holders, thus allowing you to receive those 300,000 miles, plus the 300,000 miles you will receive as a 100% mileage bonus — or 600,000 miles total into your account.

    Any other attorneys here disagree?

  • Anonymous

    Someone confirmed in another post that the 300k does NOT include the bonuses from Delta. Happy transferring!

  • Anonymous

    Search for LAX/SFO to Paris and Amsterdam on Air France/KLM. I use expert flyer to find classic award availability (which is what you can redeem Delta miles for). Its 100k roundtrip in business and you can build in a stopover and open jaw. If you start including Delta flights itll likely increase the amount of miles needed so try to avoid Delta ta all costs! You can also use Alaska air to fly to SEA/PDX and then get to Europe from there. Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Nice! where are you going with those miles?

  • Jake

    Do you think this “discounted” method of acquiring Skymiles, along with the Amex-to-Skymiles promos and the devaluing of the Amex gift cards, could be related to a future devaluation of Skymiles as we know it? Just seems like a lot of signs pointing to it…

  • Anonymous

    They adjusted their award charts this year so I don’t expect it to happen again anytime soon. Honestly, there are so many people blowing their Skymiles on stupid things, I think their planis working. However, if you are diligent you can still get amazing awards, especially on partners

  • DrStils

    I have been checking in on this promotion and this conversation periodically and trying to decide if it makes sense for me or not.
    I fly between Detroit and Palm Beach about twice a month and most of my miles are actually accumulated by using my Delta Gold Amex card. I usually use the “pay with miles” because I’m traveling to see my wife and baby while working in Michigan and there aren’t low level reward tickets usually. Assuming “paying with miles” makes a mile worth 1 cent then I’m actually losing money trying to do this transfer promotion I think. Even if I pay with my Delta card and get 2 miles per dollar I spend I still come out behind.
    By the way: Love the blog. First time poster.

  • Anonymous

    You are right- if you plan to use the miles for Pay With Miles, then this promo doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    Glad you enjoy the blog- hope you post more!

  • Clay

    No reimburse for txfr fees. Per AmEx:

    As per the benefit, you are eligible to receive up to $200 in statement credits each year for the following eligible charges:

    -Baggage fees
    -In-flight food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
    -Change fees
    -Airport lounge passes
    -Airport lounge membership fees

    Since the charge in the amount of $330.00 from Delta Airline is not covered under the eligible charges, we are unable to issue credit for the same.

    Furthermore, I would like to inform that airline fee credit is issued automatically within four weeks of making the eligible charge.

    We appreciate your understanding.

  • Asdfasdfasd

    Just pay cash DTW-Florida the fares are usually <$300 or even <$200. Or even <$60 if Spirit has a sale and you only carryon a small bag and get a seat at the airport.

    Factor in the miles you earn when paying cash and the miles you aren't earning when you burn with pay with miles.

    Also factor in that you would likely be Gold or better if you spent that much on a platinum Delta credit card and flew and now you would be getting upgrades.

    Use those miles to fly with your wifey to Amsterdam

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  • Chris M

    Regrettably, Delta must have changed something in the last few days. Earlier this month, it was possible to gift miles in increments of 1000 and it costed $180 to transfer 15,000 miles. Today you can only gift miles in increments of 2000 and it costs $490 to gift 14,000 miles. This is awful.

  • Chris M

    Ignore my post. I was confusing gifting with transferring. It’s been a long day.

  • shawnsta

    Is it definite that if you transfer from Amex to Delta for 50% bonus that you can’t also get the 40% Amex rebate? Thanks, really need to make a decision at the last minute with only 50k Amex rewards to play with.

  • Striper2

    If it helps, I was advise by Amex to sign up for the 40% reverse transfer first and than sign up for the 50,000 transfer to Delta at a 50% premium. The Amex person even did the Delta transfer for me and the miles immediaitely showed in my Delta Skymiles account.

    The 40% back to Amex shoulf take about 4 to 6 weeks and will show up as an email in my account for a certificate. the Amex person told me to call when I get it and they would facilitate it.

    Delta told me nothing, Amex helped me tremendously.

  • JP

    So if I don’t have a second account as of RIGHT now then I am ineligible for this promotion because 11:59pm 9/30/11 is not ten days away?

  • Anonymous

    All this info is great. I just received an email for this promotion, but it looks like they’ve changed the terms so that only I’m able (and not my wife) to get the bonus. Am I right in thinking that all this info above about ping-ponging back and forth only makes sense if you both are getting the 100% bonus each time?? I tried to use it for her account and it wouldn’t let me. Oh well…

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