Fly Now, Earn Later: Borrow SkyMiles from American Express

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American Express has introduced a new perk for holders of its co-branded Delta credit cards. They're calling it Fly Now, Earn Later, where you can borrow miles against what you'd earn on future purchases. Think of this as an interest-free mileage loan.

How It Works

Based on your card spending patterns you will be allocated a maximum amount of miles you can borrow, similar to the way credit card companies assign a credit card limit to new applicants. Once you determine your needs, you can borrow miles up to your mile limit; it can take up to 72 hours for the miles to post to your account. You now have six months to “pay off” your miles by spending on your credit card. After the six-month period if you still have an outstanding balance of borrowed miles, then you will be charged 2.5 cents per remaining mile.

Now don't get all excited, because you're not likely going to be able to borrow 100,000 miles — in this offer below we only had the option for 6,500 miles; meh.

American Express Delta SkyMiles Fly Now Pay Later Offer

Who is Eligible

Eligibility appears to be open to holders of all Delta co-brand cards (we've not seen any exclusions):

Also, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Your account must be in good standing to access Fly Now, Earn Later
  • The maximum number of miles you can borrow is determined by various factors including your card activity
  • You can only have One Fly Now, Earn Later outstanding balance at any time
  • The start date is defined as the date that the borrowed miles post to your Delta SkyMiles account
  • The end date is defined as the last day of the sixth billing cycle after the start date
  • Outstanding miles after sixth months will be charged at 2.5 cents per mile
  • Allow up to 72 hours for borrowed miles to post to your Delta account
  • Borrowed miles cannot be transferred or returned, and are subject to the Delta SkyMiles terms and conditions

Overall

Is this earth-shattering? No. However, if you need a bump to get to an award threshold, those final few miles posted quickly to your account could save you a ton!

Source: Doctor of Credit

Fly Now, Earn Later: Borrow SkyMiles from American Express
5 (100%) 6 votes
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Comments

  • Interesting approach – will be fun to see if other brands try this.

  • In a situation where you need a minor amount of miles to top off, it could be useful. Otherwise, meh.

  • An interesting addition to the miles/points options. Pretty sure I won’t be participating in this but I appreciate their inventiveness.

  • I think this is an interesting idea. A couple of times I have been 1,000 or 2,000 miles short to redeem an award.

  • lol, that’s barely enough for one-way short flight.

  • Brandon Rabbitt says:

    I hope this idea could also work for AA and united in the future. It would be great.

  • this used to be a perk of the centurion card and then it was taken away.

  • This isn’t really news worthy… If you could borrow 50k points or more it might be pretty useful but it does not look like you can borrow anything other than a very small amount of miles only useful to very few

  • Jacqueline parsons says:

    I’m liking the thinking behind this, it surely will promote loyalty within the card and great for anyone needing a small amount of miles to make a redemption.

  • This is quite an unusual and interesting idea. I imagine it will be small scale to start with, and if it goes well they might start ti increase the miles they are prepared to lend. The credit card issuer can’t really lose as it encourages spending on the card, and if you don’t they are charging quite a high rate for the miles.

  • i don’t think the intent here is to give anyone 100,000 miles for free business class flight, rather just to top off your account when you are shy a few thousand from an immediate award need. Even in the example above, 6500 may not seem like a lot, but assuming it’s non-delta spend, that’s still $6,500 that delta is loaning you in spend…and AMEX is leveraging you into using your card for that spend instead of a potentially more lucrative card ( with another bank ).

    Clever scheme really. I’d say it works out well for both sides if the limits are kept small.

  • This is an interesting idea and will no doubt be useful for some people. Definitely cheaper than buying miles to top up an account if you are just a few thousand miles of the requirements for a flight. Of course, this happens just after I cancel my Delta Amex card!

  • We are fairly big spenders using CC for everything just to collect miles. Be interesting to hear of other people’s borrow limits as 10k is always handy.

  • I will give you two cheeseburgers on Tuesday for a cheeseburger today. If you remember the old Popeye cartoons you’ll understand the reference.

  • Interesting idea, but clearly its usefulness is tied totally to the amount of one’s targeted offer. Additionally, anyone planning to take advantage of this should make certain that whatever spend can be met, so you’re nor billed for these…SkyPesos are not worth anywhere near 2.5 cents apiece!

  • I actually love this idea! I wish they would pick up on this on other carrier-based charge cards!

  • Wow such an innovative idea! It would be more convenient for the card users, and also benefit both the card company and airlines too! Win win win situation there.

  • Very interesting marketing. Would be better if you could borrow more and at 2.5c I’m sure they are making money on it if you end up paying for it.

  • Do the miles have to be bought in 1000 increments or can it be some odd number like 591?

  • Sometimes 6500 miles can really help – it can put you over the threshold for an award ticket. And can save you from having to buy miles to reach that level.

  • Interesting concept. Not sure how useful it would be, but if you are a few thousand miles short in a trip it would be better to borrow than to have to buy.

  • I’ve received a 25K mile limit and have the platinum and delta reserve cards. Between my rent and other expenses this was easy to tackle in less than 6 months.

    The second time I did it, I earned the same amount of miles but didn’t realize it was tied to a specific card account. I liked it to my platinum card then randomly switched my higher paying bills to delta reserve and now I’ve come up short by a few thousand miles ($250). I may gofor either a lower limit or request again on my delta reserve.

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