Here are two questions that go hand-in-hand.
How many American Express points are needed for a Delta ticket?
One of the reasons why I absolutely love the American Express rewards program is the fact that you can use your points to buy airline tickets or you can wait and transfer those points to specific airlines for miles.
The reason why I say ‘wait’ is because American Express will offer transfer bonuses to different airlines. So far British Airways is in the lead with multiple transfer bonuses this year, it would take too long to go back and count how many they have had. So far Delta = 0 🙁
While you can wait to transfer points to miles, you can also use those rewards points to redeem for a ticket right now. Normally when you use rewards points for an airlines ticket, you will get 1 cent per point. So, if your ticket cost $500, then you would need 50,000 rewards points to pay for that ticket, if you went through the American Express rewards portal. The positive about buying your airline ticket with rewards points is that you get credit for the miles you fly. This is good if you are planning on flying long distances.
If you were to transfer your rewards points to miles, then the value of your ‘miles’ would increase. I have been able to purchase multiple tickets for 25,000 Delta SkyMiles, the same ticket that would have cost me 50,000+ rewards points had I purchased that ticket directly through the AMEX portal. When I buy airline tickets using miles, I do not get credit for the miles I fly.
When it comes to purchasing tickets, its usually cost effective to transfer the points to the airline and then use those miles to buy the ticket. Keep in mind that American Express will charge you a transfer fee that will max out at $99.
If you were to buy a Delta ticket using your American Express points, the cost would be the price of the ticket x 100. ($550 ticket x 100 = 55,000 rewards points).
How many American Express points are needed for a First Class ticket?
Whenever I fly, I try to get the best value for my miles. This includes flying First Class most of the time. The cost of First Class will depend on your location and where you are flying to. Also the price will be determined on the popularity of the flight and if you are flying at a high peak time. If you have a flexible schedule you can usually find a better price, based on how busy the specific route currently is.
The best way to spend your American Express points on a First Class ticket is to first transfer those rewards points to the airline of your choice.
I just did this exact thing a few months ago to purchase 2 First Class tickets for my wife and I to fly to Tampa Florida. Had I gone directly through American Express the same tickets would have cost me 180,000 reward points each. Remember that AMEX will value your rewards points at 1 cent each and flying from Anchorage to Tampa First Class is usually $1,800+ for 1 ticket. Flying anywhere from or to Alaska is usually pretty expensive!
I was able to purchase each First Class ticket on Delta for 62,500 SkyMiles. By first transferring my rewards points over to Delta I was able to SAVE 235,000 rewards points. (180,000 x 2 First Class tickets = 360,000 rewards points through AMEX or 62,500 x 2 First Class tickets = 125,000 Delta SkyMiles). Remember that by using rewards points you will earn the miles you fly. Think of your rewards points as money. If you use airline miles, then you get no credit for those miles flown.
Always research your best options. The only thing I didn’t add to the equation were transfer fees from AMEX to Delta and then the $10 fee/ticket that Delta charges for using airline miles.