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- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
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Delta recently announced that as of Jan. 30, 2020, its American Express co-branded credit cards will be relaunched. In advance of the changes, Delta has limited time offers for the month of October on three personal and three business cards. These offers expire Oct. 30, 2019.
With only a few days remaining on these offers, in this post we discuss if it makes sense to apply for the cards, how you can maximize the benefits and why taking advantage of an offer may fit into your overall strategy.
Personal card offers
Business card offers
Should you apply now?
This decision largely boils down to one question: How much do you value perks with Delta?
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
Both of these cards have a high welcome bonuses going at the moment:
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within your first 3 months and a $50 Statement Credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express: Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Additionally, earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
As shown above, the card has three upcoming negative changes:
Annual fee will increase from $95 to $99.
There will also be no discount on Delta SkyClub access (currently it costs $29 to access the lounge).
No more Medallion qualification dollar (MQD) waiver starting in Jan. 1, 2020. Currently, you get an MQD waiver after spending $25,000 a year.
Offsetting these changes is a new category bonus: 2 SkyMiles per $1 at U.S. restaurants and a $100 statement credit after spending $10,000 on each card. The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express will also offer 2 SkyMiles per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, while the business card will offer 2 SkyMiles per $1 on U.S. shipping and advertising expenses.
How these changes stack up against other credit cards
Other credit cards provide a better return on grocery store purchases without an annual fee. For example, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card earns 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 at U.S supermarkets and has no annual fee. This bonus applies to the first $6,000 spent annually.
Membership Rewards points transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio, so it's pretty tough to justify an annual fee card from Delta that gives you the same perk as a card with no fee. Furthermore, a $100 statement credit for spending $10,000 a year on the card? There’s way better ways to put $10,000 to use to earn a higher point return.
Losing the MQD waiver is also a deterrent because if you are the type of person who charged a lot of expenses on the card and mixed that with revenue-based flights, you had one less obstacle in the way of reaching status. Starting in January 2020, that MQD waiver perk is gone.
The changes on this card are largely negative. If you really fly with Delta a lot and don’t feel discouraged by the changes, going for the welcome bonuses probably makes sense for you.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
These two cards are also running high welcome bonuses. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is offering a substantial number of miles: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express is offering 80,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 MQM after spending $6,000 in three months.
The annual fee on both cards is $195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020), but if you spend $100 on a Delta purchase in the first three months, you will get a $100 statement credit. That effectively reduces the annual fee for the first year to only $95. Terms apply.
As with the Gold cards, the changes are largely negative as well:
Annual fee will increase from $195 to $250.
The 10,000 redeemable bonus miles will no longer be included when receiving bonus Medallion qualification miles after meeting spending thresholds (10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 and another 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 on the card).
Delta SkyClub access will increase from $29 to $39.
To counteract these negatives, both cards will offer Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement ($100 every four years) and 3 SkyMiles per $1 at hotels and on Delta purchases. The personal card will provide 3 SkyMiles per $1 at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, while the business card will offer 1.5 SkyMiles per $1 on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more up to 50,000 SkyMiles.
It’s nice to get the $100 Global Entry credit, but so many other premium cards offer that perk. Furthermore, the 3 SkyMiles per $1 on hotels and Delta purchases? If you want those Delta miles so badly, you might as well get The Platinum Card® from American Express, which pays out 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights booked directly or through AmEx Travel.
Since Membership Rewards points transfer to Delta at a 1:1 ratio, you’re getting almost 67% more Delta SkyMiles. Although the annual fee is $550, with $200 in Uber statement credits and a $200 airline fee credit, you’re looking at a $150 annual fee card with way more perks. The loss of the 10,000 bonus Delta SkyMiles is disappointing as well, although given the relative difficulty using Delta miles, that point is somewhat moot.
At least you could still earn your way to status with this card, which remains a significant perk if you’re that type of traveler. Again, if the negative changes don’t deter you, jumping on the high welcome bonus makes a lot of sense and is a great way to lock in the lower annual fee (at least for one year).
» Learn more: American Express Platinum review: Luxury isn’t cheap
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
The Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express has a pretty big limited-time bonus available: Earn 75,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer Expires 10/30/2019. Terms Apply.
And here's the offer for the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card: Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. With Miles Boost®, you can earn 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $30,000 or more in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Earn an additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after you spend $60,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year for a total of 30,000 bonus miles and 30,000 MQMs. Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit. Terms Apply.
The annual fee on both cards is $450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).
The changes on these cards are more of a mixed bag instead of largely negative. The negatives are:
Increase in the annual fee from $450 to $550.
No SkyPriority Security Lane access.
The increased benefits on these cards include AmEx Centurion Lounge Access for same day flights and two Delta SkyClub guest passes. This is solid perk considering the Centurion Lounge is now only available to holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express. You will also receive a $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck statement credit, 3 SkyMiles per $1 on Delta purchases and complimentary upgrades.
The biggest benefit of these cards is the ability to spend your way to status and access to the Centurion Lounge. Although you will also receive complimentary upgrades on flights without having elite status, the likelihood of such an upgrade will probably be quite low considering how many other tiers are above you.
If you fly frequently with Delta, this card may provide a lot of value, given the excellent lounge benefit and ability to reach Gold status, which requires 50,000 MQMs.
Do these cards fit into your Delta strategy?
If you’re not dissuaded by the oncoming slew of negative changes and see value in the positive changes, applying up for one of the cards before Oct. 30, 2019, would be advantageous. You will have two months until the adverse changes kick in.
Delta SkyMiles are notorious for being difficult to redeem, so this is an important point to keep in mind. However, Delta is part of the SkyTeam alliance, so there are plenty of partner redemption options. Furthermore, the recent announcement of the partnership between Delta and LATAM will hopefully result in decent award availability into Central and South America. There are lots of changes on the way for Delta, so this is an interesting time.
Another important point to take into account is your location and airline preferences. If you live near a Delta hub, like flying Delta and enjoy the benefits the credit cards offer, then you may get a lot of value out of the cards. However, if you only sporadically fly Delta and are airline agnostic, these benefits may be of little value to you.
If you’re just starting out with credit cards and are apprehensive about paying an annual fee, look at the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, which is offering a smaller welcome bonus: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. As of January 2020, the card will also offers 2 SkyMiles per $1 at restaurants worldwide (as opposed to just in the U.S.), which is great because there will also be no foreign transaction fees.
Given that the card has a $0 annual fee, the lack of foreign transaction fees is a great perk. If you’d like to pick up some SkyMiles without the commitment of an annual fee card, this would be a good one to have.
The bottom line
Lots of changes are on the way for Delta credit cards in January 2020. Six of the credit cards are running decently high welcome bonuses through Oct. 30, 2019, so if any of the cards make sense for you, now would be a good time to apply.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best airline credit card for you Baffled by points and miles? Let the 80/20 rule guide you Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program: The complete guide