Delta rolled out a brand new paid membership called Delta SkyMiles Select, which gets flyers priority boarding on every flight, eight free onboard drinks a year, and a limited-edition bag tag for $59 per year. Think of it as a lite version of Delta Medallion Status.
And while there’s not a ton of value there, it could make sense for some travelers. Especially if you can get it for free.
We’ve heard from a few readers who were successfully reimbursed for the entire SkyMiles Select membership fee by charging it to an American Express credit card with annual airline fee credits. Top-of-the-line American Express cards like the American Express Gold, the Platinum Card from American Express, and even co-branded offerings like the Hilton Aspire card offer between $100 to $250 in annual credits for U.S. airlines.
Reader Adam W., for example, charged the $59 fee to his American Express Gold card. That purchase entered his account as “Delta SkyMiles.” Five days later, American Express’s airline fee reimbursement kicked in to cover the entire charge.
While it’s a small sample size, that’s encouraging. The trick here is that you have to select Delta as your preferred airline before actually making the purchase. If you’ve already picked a different airline, hope is not lost. Some users have had success with changing it up mid-year by calling American Express.
It’s also likely that the $50 to $100 statement credits currently available on Delta’s co-branded Amex cards would cover SkyMiles Select enrollment, though that remains unclear.
This is good news. American Express ended the ability to buy gift cards on Delta and Southwest with these credits, making them harder to use. Add it to the list of the best ways to use those Amex airline credits each year.
SkyMiles Select won’t make sense for everyone. If you’re flying Delta frequently, you’re probably better off with one of Delta’s co-branded credit cards, which get you a free checked bag, priority boarding, and 20% off onboard purchases on every flight.
But this is a fun and new way to put the annual airline credits from Amex cards to use.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.