I love technology, but sometimes technology decisions baffle me.  Take, for example, Delta and their 3 gift cards redemption limit on their website.

Airline Gift Cards

Customers can buy airline gift cards, either from the airlines or at a store.  I purchased a handful of Delta gift cards over the years, due in part from credit card airline reimbursements.  I had also been gifted a few gift cards by family members. Most are in $50 denomination, with a few in higher denomination. I knew it was only a matter of time before I use them.

I got that chance earlier this year, when I was looking to book a trip for 3 passengers. It was only when I got to the payment page when I realize you could only use 3 gift cards per transaction.


a screenshot of a gift card


Seriously?  When the Delta gift cards are cash equivalents?

Also, nowhere on its website (its gift card ordering page, the FAQ, or the terms of conditions) indicates that there is a gift card redemption limit per transaction, either.

Because of this limitation, I decided to use up smaller denomination first. I can get around the limit quite easily.  Instead of booking a round trip, I decided to book a one way reservation for each person, pricing out at about $150 per passenger. I was able to use up the smaller denomination gift cards that way, but it was a major waste of my time.   As a Delta cardholder, the baggage benefit that would have been extended to those on my reservation, did not apply to my party.

Interestingly, since I ended up booking the trip as one-way reservations, I looked to see if there are better deals on the return.  It turned out there was a deal with Jetblue. If Delta didn’t make it such as hassle to use up their own gift cards,  I would have opted to book with them the whole way through.

In Conclusion

Delta, if you are reading this:  You can do better than a 3 gift cards redemption limit.  Maybe you have legitimate concerns about fraudulent uses, but a 3 gift cards redemption limit rule is not very customer-friendly.  Maybe you could also take lesson from other airlines too.

For example, American Airlines (AA) allows the use of “up to eight (8) Gift Cards at one time toward the purchase of a ticket to hundreds of exciting destinations throughout the world.”

Also, it can’t hurt to be more transparent about the limit, so people can decide whether or not to buy your gift card.

Because of this limit, I’ve actually begun to opt in favor of buying other airline gift cards.


Have you run into this situation?