American Express, Delta Air Lines

[Expired] Last Hours: Up to 100,000 Delta SkyMiles

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All of the offers below have now expired. 


The entire suite of Delta credit cards from American Express were overhauled on January 30th, 2020. The bonuses expired April 1, 2020. 

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I’ll highlight the bonus offers first and then a reminder of the changes.

Welcome Offers Across the Range of Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards from American Express

For Consumers:

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

  • Up to 70,000 miles: Get 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first cardmember anniversary. How To Apply

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

  • Up to 100,000 miles: 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months and 20,000 more bonus miles after your first cardmember anniversary. How To Apply

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

  • Up to 100,000 miles: 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in 3 months and 20,000 bonus miles after you renew card membership in one year. How To Apply

Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card

  • Get 15,000 Delta SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months.  How To Apply

Delta Amex Credit Cards For Small Businesses:

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Up to 70,000 miles: Get 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first cardmember anniversary. How To Apply

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Up to 100,000 miles: 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months and 20,000 more bonus miles after your first cardmember anniversary. How To Apply

Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express

  • Up to 100,000 miles: 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 MQMs after you spend $5,000 in 3 months and 20,000 bonus miles after you renew card membership in one year. How To Apply

With that out of the way, and with a reminder that the above offers are only through April 1, 2020, let’s look at the feature and earning changes.

Feature and Earning Rate Changes on the Delta SkyMiles Credit Cards from American Express

All seven of the Delta Amex cards have been refreshed.

Personal Delta Amex Cards

Even the no-annual-fee Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is getting tweaked with 2X SkyMiles on
purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants worldwide as well as no foreign transaction fees (which is a nice feature on a no-annual fee card, although Capital One credit cards already do that on ALL cards). You can also now use Pay With Miles with this card (1 cent per mile value.)

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express now gets 2X SkyMiles on tickets bought directly with Delta and at restaurants worldwide as well as U.S. supermarkets plus a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 annually. The card LOSES the benefit of qualifying you for an MQD waiver, which is a huge benefit of the card as it stands. This means that if you fly enough miles for Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion status but don’t spend enough Medallion Qualifying Dollars, you won’t get a waiver by spending $25,000 in a calendar year on this card anymore. The annual fee rises $4 to $99 (waived your first year).

On the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, you’ll earn 3X SkyMiles on purchases made directly with Delta (up from 2X) and on purchases made directly with hotels, 2X miles at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets, and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. A negative change? When you hit a MQM bonus level (10,000 each at $25,000 and $50,000 in annual spend), you’ll no longer also get miles. Right now, for example, at $25,000 in spend you’d get 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles. No longer…. Also, Sky Club Single-Visit rates go from $29 to $39 The annual fee rises $55 to $250.

And on the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express, which sees a $100 annual fee increase
(from $450 to $550), you’ll earn 3X SkyMiles on purchases made directly with Delta, Amex Centurion Lounge Access, 2 Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, “last in line” complimentary upgrades even if you have no Delta Medallion elite status. I’d initially missed another benefit addition buried deep in the Amex website: The MQM Boost, which gives you 15,000 MQMs when you spend $30,000 and $60,000 has been modified to add additional tiers for $90,000 and $120,000, offering a heavy spender the chance to get up to 60,000 MQMs off just this one card.

The negative changes here are a similar loss of bonus miles at MQM spend thresholds as the above Platinum version and no more SkyPriority access unless you also have Gold or higher Medallion status.

Business Delta Amex Cards

The Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express now gets 2X SkyMiles on tickets bought directly with Delta and at restaurants worldwide as well as U.S. shipping and U.S. advertising plus a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 annually. The annual fee rises $4 to $99, waived your first year.

The card LOSES the benefit of qualifying you for an MQD waiver, which is a huge benefit of the card as it stands. This means that if you fly enough miles for Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion status but don’t spend enough Medallion Qualifying Dollars, you won’t get a waiver by spending $25,000 in a calendar year on this card anymore.

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express now earns 3X SkyMiles
on purchases made directly with Delta and on purchases made directly with hotels, as well as 1.5X SkyMiles on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 50,000 bonus miles), a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, Sky Club Single-Visit rates go from $29 to $39 and the annual fee rises to $250 (up $55).

A negative change? When you hit a MQM bonus level (10,000 each at $25,000 and $50,000 in annual spend), you’ll no longer also get miles. Right now, for example, at $25,000 in spend you’d get 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles. No longer….

And lastly, the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express earns 3X SkyMiles on purchases made directly with Delta, 1.5X miles on (apparently all) purchases after spending $150,000 per calendar year, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, Amex Centurion Lounge Access, 2 Delta Sky Club one-time guest passes, and “last in line” complimentary upgrades even if you have no Delta Medallion elite status. As with the Personal Reserve, the MQM Boost, which gives you 15,000 MQMs when you spend $30,000 and $60,000 has been modified to add additional tiers for $90,000 and $120,000, offering a heavy spender the chance to get up to 60,000 MQMs off just this one card.

The negative changes here are a similar loss of bonus miles at MQM spend thresholds as the above Platinum version and no more SkyPriority access unless you also have Gold or higher Medallion status. The annual fee rises $100 to $550.

You can explore the changes on the special website that Amex has put together here.

Are these Changes Good or Bad? Or Both?

In all cases, the answer is largely that it depends on your own situation.

The first point I’ll make is that you are, in all cases with these cards, earning Delta SkyMiles (which I value as of today at 1.2 cents per point). These “miles” are not flexible or transferable. They can only be used on Delta to buy Delta (and partner/SkyTeam) awards and subject to Delta’s award rules (I’d say award chart but they don’t have one. The price of an award is whatever they say it is when you want to redeem. That could be 100,000 miles one day and 450,000 miles the next…)

So, generally, I prefer you earn transferable credit card points. For example, credit cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards Points (which I value at 1.75 cents each) give you points that can be transferred to Delta, but they can also be transferred to 22 other transfer partners. And in many cases, you can transfer those Amex points to another transfer partner and book the same Selta flight for a fraction of the miles, for example with Virgin Atlantic.

All things considered, I’d much rather earn those Amex Membership Rewards points than Delta SkyMiles.

But let’s make the assumption that despite that, you like these cards because you either like SkyMiles as a program, or you are so loyal to Delta that the benefits themselves appeal to you.

The no-annual fee Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card earning 2X on restaurants (so, 2.4% rewards value assuming a 1.2 cent value of a SkyMile) isn’t bad for a no-fee card and the no Forex fees make it useable internationally. But it’s a tough card to actually recommend applying for because I still think you’d do better with one of these solid no-annual fee credit cards. The no-annual fee SavorOne Rewards from Capital One, for example, gives 3% cash back on dining and has no forex fees.

The Delta Gold cards lose the most, with the MQD waiver gone. The new bonus categories on the business side are welcomed, but you can do much better all around with your business spend. Really, my old rule of this card being “ok” for you if you check bags around 4+ times a year and never earn status, it’s OK for that purpose. Otherwise, you should be thinking about the Platinum or Reserve cards, or no Delta cards at all.

The Delta Platinum credit cards, though, take a bigger hit than anyone I’ve seen discuss this has mentioned. On top of a $55 increase in the annual fee, I think that *most* people that get the Delta Platinum cards get them for the MQM Boost feature (the bonus 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles at the $25,000 and $50,000 annual spend thresholds). By removing the 10,000 bonus miles from this, you are earning 20,000 less miles per year on annual spend of $50,000. Now think how much you would need to earn on the new bonus categories to even that out. The Global Entry / PreCheck credit is nice, but basically all premium cards already offer that benefit and you can only use it once every 5 years across all of your cards. It retains the annual companion fare and many get well more than the annual fee with that each year. Others do not…

Arguably the best enhancements are on the Delta Reserve cards. as you are still getting the Delta SkyClub access but also now Centurion Lounge access and even if you don’t have Delta Medallion status, you can get an upgrade to First Class (domestically) on flights that have cleared all Medallion members and have available seats. But these cards also lose the MilesBoost when you hit the MQM thresholds and again, that hits your overall earn rate hard. Not to mention the annual fee boost!

I think that now is the time to grab my Annual Fee Worksheet and do the math.

Thoughts?

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

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