Targeted Promotion: Delta Rebate on Award Redemptions

by on October 18, 2011 · 38 comments

in Delta

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Many SkyMiles members (myself included) received the following promotion today:

“Book a Delta or Delta Connection® round-trip Award Ticket and earn a 20% mileage rebate in BusinessElite®, First or Business Class and a 10% rebate in Economy Class. Plus, earn a 25% mileage rebate for each additional BusinessElite, First or Business Class Award Ticket and a 15% mileage rebate for each Economy Class Award Ticket.

Here’s how the savings add up:
Award Tickets must be booked by October 31, 2011, and travel must be completed by April 30, 2012. There is no limit on the number of rebates you can earn. Rebates will appear in the redeeming member’s account after travel is complete.”

I think this is a pretty decent promotion and takes the sting out of Delta’s notoriously high award amounts for their own flights. However, I most likely won’t be taking advantage because the rebate doesn’t count on SkyTeam partner awards and I almost exclusively redeem my SkyMiles for international business class on SkyTeam partners, since those awards are always at the low award levels.

However, if you have a current trip booked; for example I have friends who bit the bullet and booked medium level roundtrip awards to Sydney over the holidays (240,000 miles each ticket) and since the person who booked them is Platinum, they are going to rebook the same exact tickets and cancel their current awards since Diamonds and Platinum Medallions can cancel awards for free. Doing this, they will get back 48,000 miles for each ticket. 192,000 SkyMiles for peak roundtrip flights to Sydney is pretty awesome – especially since United and Qantas had no low level awards and probably won’t release any.

Even if they weren’t Platinum Medallions, I’d encourage them to do the same since 48,000 miles is easily worth more than the $150 cancellation fee on an award. However, I wouldn’t pay if I was only getting 15,000 or less miles back. Everyone values SkyMiles differently – personally I’ve always gotten huge value out of mine, but I know I’m lucky because I’m only one traveler and I live in a SkyTeam hub and I have lots of practice booking Delta awards.

Initially I thought this might be an open promotion, but my contacts at Delta confirmed it is targeted and only those who are eligible were emailed. Generally, open promotions will have a registration page – this one does not.

Terms & Conditions

Applicable Routes: All roundtrip routes served by either Delta- or Delta Connection-marketed and -operated flights. Codeshare flights operated by carriers other than the Delta Connection carriers are not eligible for this offer.

Award Tickets: Award Tickets must be booked and redeemed between October 18 and October 31, 2011.

Travel Period: Award Travel must be completed between October 18, 2011 and April 30, 2012.

Blackout Dates: Subject to Award Ticket availability.

Award Validity: Seats for the discounted Award redemption levels are limited and may not be available on all flights. Award redemption levels are valid on Delta and Delta Connection carrier flights only.

Minimum Stay: None

Maximum Stay: None

Cancellations/Refunds/Changes: Tickets are nonrefundable except in accordance with Delta’s cancellation policy. Fees may apply for downgrades/reissues and itinerary changes. Contact a Delta agent or see Ticket Changes for details.

Restrictions: Availability of Award Ticket inventory is limited and may not be available on all flights. Some markets may have more availability than others. Award Tickets are nontransferable.

Taxes/Fees: Award redemption levels shown available at Tickets cost $20 more if purchased from Delta over the phone, $35 more at a Delta ticket counter or ticket office, and these amounts are nonrefundable. Award Tickets require payment of the September 11th Security Fee of up to $2.50 USD for each flight segment in the passenger’s ticketed itinerary. Award Travel for U.S. or international travel requires the payment of U.S. or foreign user, inspection, customs, security or other similarly based charges, fees or taxes of up to $349.00 USD, depending on the itinerary. Taxes and fees for Award Travel are subject to change, 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.

Baggage Charges: For travel between/within the United States/Canada/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands, $25 USD/CAD* fee for first checked bag, $35 USD/CAD* fee for second checked bag. For travel between the United States/Canada/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico/Central America and for travel between/within Mexico/Central America/Caribbean and for travel between the United States/Canada/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic/Guyana/Haiti, $40 USD/CAD* fee for second checked bag. For travel between the United States/Canada/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean (except Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Haiti), $25 fee for first checked bag and $40 USD/CAD* fee for second checked bag. For travel between the United States/Canada/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands/ Mexico/Central America/Caribbean and South America (except Brazil), 60 USD/CAD fee for second checked bag when bags are prepaid during online check-in at (additional 15 USD/CAD surcharge for the second bag, when checking in via ticket counter, kiosk, or curbside). For travel between United States/Canada/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands/ Mexico/Central America/Caribbean/South America (except Brazil) and Europe/Middle East/Asia (except Japan and the Philippines)/Australia/New Zealand, 60 USD/CAD*/EUR* fee for second checked bag when bags are prepaid during online check-in at (additional 15 USD/CAD*/EUR* surcharge for the second bag, when checking in via ticket counter, kiosk, or curbside). For travel between Japan and Guam/Saipan/Palau, $40 USD/CAD* fee for second checked bag. Allowances subject to size/weight limits. Contact a Delta agent or [see Excess Baggage][visit] for details. (*Fees are CAD exit Canada, EUR exit Europe.)

Promotional Reference Code: Please refer Delta reservations representative to 97060524.

Miscellaneous: Rebated miles will post to the SkyMiles account of the qualifying member 8-10 weeks after final segment of Award Travel has been completed. If an Award Ticket consists of travel in both Economy and Premium cabins (BusinessElite, First or Business Class) for either departure or return, the rebated miles for the qualifying Award Ticket will receive a 10% rebate for one ticket and a 15% rebate for all additional tickets redeemed. Fares, taxes, fees, rules, and offers are subject to change without notice.

General: All SkyMiles program rules apply to SkyMiles program membership, miles, offers, mile accrual, mile redemption, and travel benefits. The rules are subject to change anytime. To review the rules, please visit Membership Guide & Program Rules. Taxes and fees for Award Travel are the responsibility of the passenger and must be paid at the time the ticket is booked. Partner offers subject to the terms and conditions of each individual offer. Offers void where prohibited by law. Offers and benefits subject to change without notice. Other 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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  • Longmanzz

    I got this promotion. And wonder too things: if I book a reservation for me and someone else using all my miles, will the miles on the other one get the rebates? what if a reservation not including me? And from the T&C, if there is a single segment that is in economy, the whole trip will be categorized in economy. What if I select all business but a transfer is in economy due to availability?

  • Heather ✈

    Hi Brian, you recently talked about stopovers, transfers and open jaw, if you were to help me, what would be your charge? Is this considered one ticket? Or do you charge per boarding pass? We were thinking of taking a trip to Europe next year and going to different countries (on one award ticket). Thanks.

  • Chris

    I’m wondering if I will be eligible for the rebate if some of the itinerary is on DL but contains segments on a partner (ex. JFK-LHR DL, LHR-CDG AF, CDG-LHR AF, LHR-JFK DL). Delta should make this clearer.

  • Anonymous

    Its very clear- the rebate is only for Delta and Delta Connection itineraries. Yours won’t be eligible.

  • Anonymous

    I no longer book award tickets for people- just don’t have the capacity. There are plenty of other sites out there though, like and

    My goal is to teach you how to do it yourself! :-)

  • Anonymous

    Yes- all tickets you book, whether you fly or not, will get rebated. If any leg is in Economy, then you get the Economy rebate. I think thats dumb since you’d be paying the business class price, but thats what the rules say!

  • Chris

    I wish it were that simple, but the terms don’t mention anything about “itineraries,” only roundtrips. If, as part of the above itinerary, I have an embedded DL roundtrip (JFK-LHR, LHR-JFK), it isn’t clear whether the points redeemed for that portion or all of the itinerary will be eligible, despite the presence of a partner segment.

  • John DTW

    I have an award ticket booked at the low level on Delta for travel in November. Is it safe to say that if I redeposit the ticket, the low level seats will immediately become available again so I can rebook it under this promotion?

  • Leigh

    Question: I’m a DM, my wife a GM. I didn’t receive the email, but she did. I clicked on the link in HER email, signed into MY account, and booked HER an award ticket. Ya think I’ll get a rebate for her ticket? :)

  • Anonymous

    No, but it cant hurt to try!

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t do that because they won’t necessarily go back into inventory. I’d only book if its available then cancel the old one. Even though you may get a 20% rebate, if your award is now only available at medium or high you will come out way behind

  • Anonymous

    Right… your Skyteam multi-partner award is not a Delta or Delta Connection roundtrip, so it won’t be eligible for the promotion. Maybe you’ll still get the rebate- or a portion of it, but I wouldn’t bank on it

  • Gitty

    I am managing like 14 accounts in total. I researched to see the difference who got targeted and didn’t, and I saw that all of them that had a balance less than 100,000 miles got this offer, the ones with a balance more than that didn’t get the promotion. If thats the case then it is just another way for Delta to get people with low balances to fly or transfer Amex points. Could anyone confirm otherwise?

  • Anonymous

    I have more than 100k and I got it :-) However I wouldn’t be surprised if it was targeted to people who have done Amex transfer in the past to encourage them to transfer more.

  • Gitty

    But actually all of the above accounts have had Amex transfers, and still only the small ones got targeted. There might be more factors in play, but I still believe that this is one of them.

  • Chris

    I did not get the e-mail, but was able to register with the promo code. Am I eligible?

  • Anonymous

    Where did you register?

  • Chris

    Never mind. I got the e-mail later.

  • Tracey

    Hi! How was your friend able to get a ticket to SYD for 240,000? Ive been trying for 4 months and they are asking for 370,000 roundtrip on Delta. Any suggestions? Im Platinum Delta as well. Get most of my points through Amex.
    Also, w your experience, do you think any holiday promos will be coming up in the near future through Amex Membership rewards and Delta? Thank you. Love your blog!

  • Heidi

    I also have over 100k and got the email

  • John DTW

    Thanks, that’s what I was afraid of. It is currently at the low level. I checked to see if I could duplicate the ticket and it came back at the non-low level.

  • Fjr44

    I just booked an award trip yesterday… 2 tix for 200,000 in businees class for all flights. called up delta just now and explained to them that I wanted the promo code applied. they transferred me to the promotions dept and a nice wommen cancelled my tix for no fee and rebooked so it showed up as todays date! I didnt get the email promotion but when i went under my skymiles account and looked under my delta promotions tab I was already registered for it. Thanks TPG!

  • FrequentMiler

    I received this offer in September, but it was only good until the end of September. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of it.

  • Gzhang97

    Hi Brian, any idea if this promo applies to DL itineraries with stop-overs and/or open-jaw? Thanks!

  • ballardFlyer

    Regarding the rules and tickets for others, would 2 award tickets booked at the same time count as 1 booking or would it be 2? I’m wondering if I should book my girlfriends award ticket as a separate PNR to save the 5% (25 vs 20)?

  • ballardFlyer

    Well, I rebooked both on one PNR anyway because I was able to save 30K miles just by snagging a lower award level. No brainer with free PM award ticket changes. Only time will tell, but I’m hoping the second ticket will score the 25% rebate instead of the 20%.

  • Trent Swanson

    have two accounts over 100K, got email for larger of two accounts (and account to which AMEX MR points were transferred)
    have 1 account under 100K. No AMEX transfer. No email.

  • Chris

    It all happened so fast. I think I searched when I saw the FT thread here:

    It shows up on my Promotions Status page on Delta.

  • Mokeeffe

    I received the offer and have well in excess of 100K miles and have made previous Amex transfers. I fail to see how DL benefits from Amex transfers?

  • Anonymous

    Just be careful of that part that talks about Economy/First mixed. I fly out of a city only serviced by Delta Connection partners, so very few of the flights to JFK (which is where I need to go out of) have first class. So, if someone is like me, they could select Business all the way and still only get 10% because of that first leg if it doesn’t have the first class cabin.

  • Anonymous

    My hope is that you get the rebate based on the award level redeemed. If you redeemed at the business class level but have one economy class leg, I think the system will still register that as a business class award. Lets hope at least! If not, I think you could argue that point that you had no other choice.

  • Anonymous

    As long as its all Delta flights, I bet it will

  • Anonymous

    I would hope the same thing, but I wanted to throw that out there for others. The reason I am nervous is I was going to redeem 4 economy class awards to the Middle East, but I would get 4 Business tix if I was sure that the first leg would not cancel the extra bonus out.

  • Andrew10412

    what is the official policy on canceling and re-booking award tickets? if the award was currently showing at high, would they charge your friends the difference to reissue it?

    i tried to reissue an award ticket so that I would be able to use an MCO at the airport, and they told me that since the award price had gone up, if they reissued it they would have to charge me the higher price.

    it is pretty obnoxious that they are treating award tickets in the same manner as revenue tickets when it comes to reissues etc. (if the price goes up you pay the difference)

  • Supon

    I just cancelled my two business class award tickets to Thailand in March and then rebooked exactly the same thing again…I got 108,000 points back. I am very happy!!!!!

  • mpp

    Anybody get clarification from Delta about the open jaw? The T&C clearly state
    “All roundtrip routes served by either Delta- or Delta Connection-marketed and -operated flights. ”
    Is an open-jaw flight considered round trip?

  • Longmanzz

    Does you know that if I have to do 2 econ or 2 business to get the additional bonus for the 2nd one or I can do 1 econ and 1 business or the other other around? From the T&C it is unclear because it is saying additional ticket.
    And I assume if I book 2 tix in one reservation will count as a single ticket thus no additional bonus?

  • Omsllc

    Did you already get your rebate miles back in your account?

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