You heard it here first last month (Yes, we’re aware the post disappeared for a while. Long story.). And now it’s official. Except the news is even better than we originally thought.
TakeOff 15 is live. But it’s not restricted to just Delta Air Lines SkyMiles® Reserve American Express cards.
Cardholders of six Delta SkyMiles® Amexes are now eligible to receive discounts of at least 15% on select award tickets. (Terms apply.) This is officially a new card benefit for the:
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card is not eligible for TakeOff 15.
To celebrate, Delta and Amex announced elevated welcome offers for those six eligible cards. The offers are available through March 29, 2023.
Delta’s TakeOff 15
Delta SkyMiles members who add their eligible Delta Amex card to their Delta virtual wallets will see discounted award prices when searching “Shop with Miles” itineraries on Delta.com and in the Fly Delta app.
It looks pretty cool, right?
The discount does not apply to taxes and fees. You can pay those with a credit card — and it doesn’t have to be your Delta Amex. I booked a TakeOff 15 trip and used my Chase Sapphire Reserve®® to pay the taxes and fees. (Just for science.) I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes, though.
”At Least” 15%?
TakeOff 15 will round down the price nearest 100 miles. So, you might get an extra few tenths of a percent or something. (Hey, it’s better than a kick to the head!)
Are All Flights Eligible for TakeOff 15?
Only itineraries in which all flights are operated by Delta Air Lines and/or Delta Connection are eligible. If there’s even one partner flight in your trip, the discount does not apply. (That said, some award flight searches may yield better prices on partner airlines. Though I’m not holding my breath.) So, you might see a disparity in prices when selecting trips.
Pay With Miles, Miles + Cash, and Delta Vacations are not eligible. Just full award tickets.
”Can I Apply the Discount to Award Trips I Already Booked?”
No — but there’s sort of a way around that.
See what the current award price is for the trip you booked. If It’s cheaper than what you paid, cancel your reservation and rebook using the TakeOff 15 price.
”Can I Book Discounted Tickets for Other People?”
A Delta source pointed out that yes, you can book award travel for others using your TakeOff 15 discount. You don’t need to be on the trip with them.
Does TakeOff 15 Work for Authorized Additional Cardholders?
From what someone at Delta told us, it’s valid only for the primary cardholder. If you want to use TakeOff 15 but aren’t the primary cardholder, get thee your own Delta Amex 🙂 . (Or find a primary to book your ticket for you.)
What About Earning MQD?
Delta made the blockbuster announcement last year that award travel permanently earns MQM, MQS, and MQD. MQD earnings basically earned at a penny per SkyMile.
Award tickets booked with TakeOff 15 earn MQD based on the final, discounted price.
A source inside Delta told us exclusively that an internal memo indicates there are already known glitches pertaining to some of the award price displays — specifically when booking reservations for multiple people on the same reservation number. The final price should be accurate — but the total miles discounted might be incorrect on the shopping page if you have an outdated version of the Fly Delta app. Get the latest version of the app.
And then there’s this that a reader sent me.
Unfortunately, that problem corrected itself and he couldn’t book First Class for 37,400 SkyMiles.
Will Delta Crank Up Award Prices?
It’ll be interesting to see if Delta increases award prices to “make up” for the discounts. Plus, TakeOff 15 is a good incentive to enlist more Delta Amex cardholders (or inspire those who hold just the paltry Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card to upgrade).
15% Discount For All the Premium Delta Amexes?
I found it interesting that the 15% discount applies to all Delta cards above the no-annual-fee Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card (See Rates and Fees.) I’ve spoken with others who thought a tiered discount might be more appropriate.
For example, people holding the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card — which carries a $550 annual fee (See Rates and Fees) be entitled to the 15% discount. But those who have only the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card — a $250 annual fee card (See Rates and Fees) would get, say, a 10% discount.
Because the real winners here are Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card members. They get the 15% discount — while both of those cards offer a $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99 starting the second year. (See Rates and Fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. See Rates and Fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card.)
Delta’s TakeOff 15 benefit is officially live. Eligible Delta SkyMiles Amex cardholders may receive discounts of at least 15% on qualifying award flights.
I think it’s a pretty sweet perk. We’ll have to see if (and how much) Delta increases award prices to cover the costs of its discounts.
What do you make of TakeOff 15?
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card, please visit this link’. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see rates and fees for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, please visit this link. Terms apply.
To see the rates and fees for Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, plplease visit this link.
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It is sweet but it could be better. Discount is not showing when trying to book with my wife’s miles even if I am included in the reservation I assume because she is not the primary cardholder on any of our Delta AMEX cards. We even pay $175 a year for her to have a reserve card on my reserve AMEX acct and she still does not get the discount when using her miles? That’s sort of stingy.
Delta and Amex probably want her to get her own card. (You could opt for the Gold because it’s the cheapest, annual fee-wise.) But, yeah, I hear you! If you’re paying $175 vs the Gold’s $99, Mrs. Scott should be entitled to the discount.
It’s a fantastic deal. After reading this, I immediately applied for the SkyMiles Gold Business card. I think it’s always preferrable to go for the business version of a card since the benefits are almost always the same and there’s no impact on your personal credit score or your 5/24 status. I’ll book maybe 600K of award travel this year, that’s 90K of SkyMiles savings that’s easily worth over $1,000 even at the low end of redemption value.
Agree with Duane. I have a huge stash of Skymiles because I’m a perennial platinum who pays quarterly estimated federal taxes on my AmEx Reserve, so I’m always redeeming miles for personal travel because I need to get rid of them. Assuming delta doesn’t de-value (again) and raise redemption prices across the board, this amounts to a permanent 15% Off Sale for many of us, and for those of us AmEx Reserve folks, this really helps offset the $550/year fee (Skyclub access, annual BOGO cert, and 15k MQM boost every $30k justified it for me, but just barely. This puts the justification over the top and helps me sleep better with my decision). Great reporting/forecasting, C.C.!!!
I was just checking some European flights from Seattle and I noticed that some of the flights have the discount only on certain fare classes. (Often Premium Select but not Comfort Plus)
Perhaps another glitch.
I am now seeing this live. On my primary Delta route, it seems there’s been an underlying devaluation. The 15 percent brings it only modestly better than a month ago. Other data points?
Since this comment, I’ve done several notional bookings through the remainder of the year. Every single booking reflects that there has been a SkyMiles devaluation and the 15 percent discount simply brings the redemption rate to where it was prior to the devaluation. The net result is that it will cost a per $95 per year to preserve one’s pre-devaluation redemption rate.
So 15% off the most horrible redemption rates in flying. Big whoop. Seriously when Delta admittedly sets point redemptions at 1%, why would anyone use them?
Nice! This values SkyMiles at 1.18 cents for award travel and tips the balance even more towards selecting SkyMiles over a voucher when selecting choice benefits.
I wonder why Delta does not apply the same discount to Pay with Miles and Miles+Cash?
Including the Gold and Platinum cards is also good because it might keep a few more people out of the Sky Clubs. If the benefit was limited to the Reserve cards, a few more people might have been inclined to upgrade to the Reserve card.
Tons of glitch.
Most random US-EU would show many weird glitches. I’ve seen no discount on Main but discount on Comfort+.
Also have problem ticketing award. Many says fare is soldout.
It must be great to have a business where you can intentionally inflict pain on your customers, sell them ways to mitigate the pain, and then call it an enhancement or looking out for the customer. E.g., charge outrageous sums in miles for trips then give a slight discount to get customers to hold a credit card, make boarding a plane such a pain options to board early look appealing, and make economy unbearable enough that the demand for extra-leg-room seats and premium cabins and increases. Lounge crowding, etc., etc..