It’s the time of year when people suddenly realize they haven’t used much (or any) of the annual $200 airline incidental credit benefit that comes with The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, and Hilton Honors Aspire American Express Card. (Aspire cardholders can earn up to $250 back each year.)
And they suddenly start to panic.
Fear not, my friend. If you selected Delta as your preferred airline for the incidental credit benefit, here’s an option that can easily earn you back some (or all!) of that $200 (or $250). Even if you don’t want to plan a trip right now. Or leave your house.
Take a Trip (or Earn a Delta eCredit) from a Pay With Miles Booking!
Pay With Miles is a feature available exclusively to Delta SkyMiles® American Express Card members.
Cardholders can apply SkyMiles toward eligible flight purchases at a rate of one cent per point. SkyMiles are redeemable in blocks of 5,000. For example, 5,000 SkyMiles knocks $50 off any remaining cash balance. 10,000 SkyMiles is worth $100, and so on.
Pay With Miles tickets earn MQM and MQS. Any remaining cash balance earns MQD and redeemable SkyMiles.
Plus, Pay With Miles is a great (and easy) way to help you get back that $200 airline credit.
How Pay With Miles Tickets Count Toward the $200 Amex Platinum Credit
Delta Pay With Miles tickets are considered award activity. And award ticket cash balances generally trigger the airline incidental credit.
Here’s how I booked (and canceled) a Delta Pay With Miles trip — and scored an eCredit.
For my blogging example trip, I decided to keep the fare low. (I didn’t want to get burned too much if the Pay With Miles trip didn’t work for the airline incidental credit.) I searched for something in the $150-ish range.
I found a $149.20 Main Cabin roundtrip between Los Angeles (LAX) and Las Vegas (LAS). Perfect! (Remember, if you plan to go the Book-a-Pay-With-Miles-Trip-and-Cancel-It route, your departure and destination cities really don’t matter; you’re not taking the trip.)
I applied 5,000 SkyMiles ($50 off the fare). My outstanding cash balance was $99.20. I charged that to my Amex Business Platinum card.
I decided to wait more than 24 hours to cancel my trip. Why? Because I didn’t want the 5,000 SkyMiles redeposited back into my account, nor did I want the $99.20 refunded to my Amex card. So, I set an iPhone alarm for about 30 hours later.
The $99.20 charge was reimbursed to my Amex account a few days later. As my five-year-old daughter says, “Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!”
I now have a $149.20 Delta eCredit to use sometime before the end of 2023. Plus, the credit will earn MQD, MQS, MQD, and redeemable SkyMiles once its trip is completed. Knowing me, I’ll probably use it to take a trip between LAX and Vegas.
Keep Track of Your eCredits
Here’s where Delta IT fails customers — intentionally or otherwise. (I lean towards the former in this instance.)
Pay With Miles ticket eCredits aren’t visible in neither your Fly Delta app nor your Delta.com eCredits and Certificates wallet.
But Delta ticketing representatives can see them. This means you must call Delta to book a flight using your Pay With Miles eCredit(s) or ask for the credit number and amount. The simplest way is to record the eCredit number once you cancel the trip. (I keep mine in an Evernote file.) You should be able to manually apply it when booking a trip later.
Delta Pay With Miles cashback balances once again trigger the airline incidental fee reimbursement perk. Even if you don’t need to plan a trip now, you can book a Pay With Miles ticket, charge the cash balance to your eligible Amex card, cancel the reservation a few days later, and receive a Delta eCredit.
Just remember to 1) take advantage of the credit before December 31, 2022 and 2) use your eCredit next year.
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