UPDATED: How Delta Airlines’ AMEX LIES Cost Me $500 in Baggage Fees

Delta Skymiles AMEX is NOT for International Travlers

For the past couple months, I’ve been telling EVERYONE  about how awesome it is to have the Delta Skymiles American Express card. That is coming to an end.

While I am not cancelling the card right away, I am pissed with Delta for LIEING to me about the benefits of this card, and screwing me and Nikki out of $500 at the airport.

Delta is pushing this card pretty hard in the Detroit area – promoting the fact that anyone on the same itinerary as the cardholder will be able to check one bag for free – up to 9 people on the itinerary.

Because Delta charges $25 per checked bag, just one roundtrip for Nikki and me alone would cost us $100 in checked bag fees. That makes the card a no-brainer – apart from all the other benefits AMEX provides.

It only makes sense that I would want to save on baggage checking fees if I was going to be making about 10 international flights in the next year. So I got the card.


Delta does NOT give free baggage checking to Delta Skymiles AMEX cardholders during international flights! Surprise!

Nowhere in their advertising does DELTA say that the card’s main promoted benefit applies ONLY to domestic flights.


A couple days before I left for Bangkok, I called Delta to ask them about the free baggage checking on international flights.

They told me – BECAUSE I WAS A DELTA SKYMILES AMEX CARDHOLDER – that I and up to 9 people on my itinerary would get up to 3 bags checked free.

That’s a total of 6 bags checked FREE for my international flight. I asked the person on the phone a number of questions to make sure I had it right. I even called AMEX to confirm, but they couldn’t speak for Delta.

Anyway, I felt pretty good because Nikki and I more or less packed all of our belongings into 3 suitcases, while 4 other suitcases were filled with gifts we were bringing for her family and friends. That’s 7 suitcases in total.

I knew Delta charged $150 per extra checked bag under 50lbs and $200 per checked bag under 70lbs. So I figured, ok, I’m going to spend an extra $200 on a bag.

‘At least I’m saving lots on the other bags because of my Delta Skymiles AMEX,’ I thought.


When Nikki and I rolled up to the gate at Detroit Metro Airport, I showed them I was a Delta Skymiles AMEX holder.

“You know, the card you guys are promoting,” I said.

They looked at me with an puzzled look, then told me I would be charged for the 3 extra bags.


Yes, they explained. Delta automatically offers 2 free checked bags for international travelers – depending on the length of the flight.

Ok, but I’m a Delta Skymiles AMEX holder. If you offer 2 FREE and my AMEX says I get one, that adds up to 3, which is what your person in customer service told me.

“Um, no,” 3 of them said. They looked at me like I had just said the most absurd thing and they were very condescending in their responses.

“So my Delta Skymiles Amex does nothing for me?” I asked.

“You’re correct. This only helps on domestic flights.”

I figured, ok, I need to go. I’m going to pay this extra $500 on these bags, which I wouldn’t have packed had I known it would cost me an extra $500 to bring, and then I’ll get on the phone with customer service and set the rude gate people straight.


I explained the situation to another customer service person at Delta after checking in. I told them how another rep told me I get 3 bags per person FREE with my card when flying from Detroit to Bangkok. I told them how the gate people disagreed. Then the rep told me they would check on it.

When she came back, she told me I was indeed in the wrong. This card only applies to domestic travel – because Delta already gives 2 bags free on international travel.


“Um, you don’t say this card only applies to only domestic travel any of your advertisements for the DELTA Skymiles Card,” I said.

‘Oh well,’ was her response. (paraphrased).


Domestic Travel: = 0 Free Checked Bags + 1 Free Checked Bag from AMEX = 1 FREE checked bag

Intl Travel = 2 Free Checked Bags + 1 FREE Checked Bag from AMEX = 3 FREE checked bags.


I wrote Delta a couple days ago. I haven’t heard anything yet.

Saving on checked bags is part of the reason I booked my flights to Bangkok, Tokyo, Taipei and back to Bangkok with Delta.

After finding out that this Delta AMEX does NOT help international travelers, I’ll be on the lookout for other solutions for my trips to Buenos Aires, Prague and Berlin next year.

Update: Here’s Delta’s response to my customer complaint. They tell me that this card does not aid international travelers, so they can’t refund my baggage fees. But they did send over two travel vouchers for $100 each as compensation. So that means I only lost $100 in extra baggage fees when you take into account the two bags that should have had free checkin cost me $300. Still, that means I have to use those vouchers with Delta and don’t get an actual refund. It’s a start I suppose.

I responded with some thanks for the vouchers and reiterated that the card policy should be updated to help international travelers or the advertising should be changed to show that the baggage check benefit is not applied to international travel. Otherwise, this card and its advertising remain misleading.

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the service provided while traveling with us.  On behalf of everyone at Delta Air Lines, I  sincerely apologize for the unsatisfactory customer service you encountered

Our goal is to offer accurate information and assistance to our passengers at all times.  I am sorry you did not receive the service you expected and should have received.  Feedback like yours will help us  improve our overall customer service experience.

Further, I would like to inform you that AX cardmembers with a Gold, Platinum, or Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card from AX are eligible for the benefit.  Delta SkyMiles “Classic” and “Options” cards are not eligible for this benefit. To receive the waiver, the cardholder must have received their eligible  card from AX by the date of travel. Companions/family members (up to 8 additional passengers in the same PNR as the primary card holder) are eligible to receive the waiver. Supplementary cardholders on the same AX account are not eligible to  receive the waiver. The waiver applies on flight segments which originate on a Delta or  Delta Connection carrier.  Delta marketed codeshare flights are not  eligible for the waiver even if the reservation has been confirmed  through Delta. Bags that are oversized or overweight are not eligible for the fee  waiver and may be assessed the applicable charges. Any of Delta’s check-in options can be used as long as the AX  cardholders SkyMiles number is in the reservation.

The above mentioned policy is applicable for domestic travel.  Passengers traveling International are allowed to check in two bags for  free of cost.  Thus, you and your wife are allowed to check in total of  four bags free of cost.  Passengers will be charged excess baggage fee  if they exceed the free baggage allotment or size/weight restrictions  for each bag.  Keep in mind that piece, size, and weight excess baggage  charges may be charged independently.  For example, if your allotment is one bag and you have two checked bags with one of them oversized, both  an excess piece and excess size charge will apply.  Thus, you were correctly charged the baggage fee.  Respectfully, I must decline your request to refund the excess baggage fee.  I realize this is a disappointment and trust you will understand our position.

However, as a gesture of apology for the poor customer service, I have issued an Electronic Transportation Credit Voucher (eTCV) in the amount of $100.00 for each passenger.  Please note the voucher number and associated Terms and Conditions will be arriving in a separate email.  I encourage you to add Delta Air Lines to your receiver list so the voucher document is not misdirected to your spam folder.  Please keep the voucher number and the Terms and Conditions since the number is required for redemption.  It is also important to remind you that there is no Direct Ticketing fee for reservations confirmed online at delta.com.

Mr. Smith, again, I apologize for the disappointing experience you and your companion had on your recent trip.  As our valued SkyMiles member, your support is important to us.  We assure you we will make every effort to serve you well in the future.

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