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A couple months ago, I was debating whether or not it was time to get a Delta co-branded credit card. I was considering it for a number of reasons.
Although I have shifted more and more of my travel and elite status strategy to other airlines, I still can’t give up Delta entirely. Despite what naysayers complain about, you can still get some very good value out of the SkyMiles program if you book as much as possible on partners like Alaska and Alitalia, which are always at the “low” award levels.
I have maintained Diamond or Platinum Medallion status for years, but even when I was flying the airline more than I do these days, I never got a co-branded American Express card because I was able to retain elite status without them and most other benefits that the co-branded Delta Amex cards offer, I get from elite status anyway.
However, that changed with Delta’s recent Medallion program overhaul, which now necessitates spending between $2,500 (Silver), $5,000 (Gold), $7,500 (Platinum) or $12,500 (Diamond) on the airline depending on your elite status level, or spending $25,000 on a co-branded Amex outright and still hitting your tier’s mileage or segment threshold.
After researching what offers were out there and how they compared to targeted offers I had been sent by the airline, I finally decided to apply for a targeted offer for the Delta Platinum Amex with the following terms:
-Earn 25,000 bonus miles, 5,000 of which are MQMs, after your first purchase on the card. Earn another 15,000 bonus miles, 10,000 of which are MQMs, after you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months of cardmembership.
-Earn 1 mile for every eligible dollar spent with no mileage cap
-Earn double miles on Delta purchases
-Earn up to 20,000 additional MQMs toward Medallion status each year by spending $50,000 in a calendar year with built-in Miles Boost
The chance to earn 25,000 SkyMiles (which I value at about $300) and 15,000 Medallion Qualification miles (~$750) and then the opportunity to bank 20,000 MQM’s every year thereafter based solely on spend was just too good to pass up.
By comparison the best current public offer for this card is just 25,000 redeemable and 5,000 Medallion miles with your first purchase and 10,000 more redeemable miles after you make $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. No contest.
In addition to the MQM’s I would get – which will help towards status requalification both this year and in the future, Delta’s Amex cards offer the unpublished benefit of access to additional low-level award availability. The benefit is discussed at length in this FlyerTalk forum. So that might come in handy on future bookings.
If you haven’t received a similar targeted offer yourself, there are a couple places you can look to see if you can dig up something that’s better than the current public offers.
Creditcards.com has a Card Match tool that allows you to see if you have any of these special offers targeted towards you. I just went on and saw three offers that that beat any public offers out there with points bonuses that are up to 50% higher – including 45,000 SkyMiles for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex when you spend $5,000 in 6 months with the $95 annual fee waived the first year vs. 30,000 miles on the public offer.
To see if you are eligible for any of these offers:
1. Go to the Creditcards.com Card Match Tool:
2. Enter your information
3. You should be redirected to a page with the following four offers from American Express and can apply directly from there.
There is currently the following offer on the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex.
Update: The Card Match tool is no longer loading the 45,000 mile offer for the Gold Delta SkyMiles card. The current offer is 30,000 miles after $1,000 in spend within the first 3 months plus a $50 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within 3 months.
Up to 45,000 Delta SkyMiles for the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express: The public offer out there on this card has been stuck at a measly 30,000 miles when you spend $500 in the first three months for a while now, but this offer beats that by 50%. You get 25,000 miles upon first purchase and 20,000 more miles for spending $5,000 within 6 months.
That’s compared to the current public offer of just 10,000 bonus SkyMiles with your first purchase. The spending requirement on the offer is much higher at $5,000, but you get 4.5X as many miles for it.
Checking for Your Own Targeted Offers
If you might be interested in seeing if there are any other offers for you either on the Gold Delta Amex or the other Delta cards, the other site you should check out is DeltaAmexCard.com. You enter your SkyMiles number and last name and it will automatically populate with any credit card offers for which you are eligible. For me it displayed the Platinum SkyMiles Amex offer I decided to apply for. However, for TPG Managing Editor Eric, it only displayed an offer on the Delta Gold SkyMiles Amex for 30,000 bonus miles. Still better than the public offer, but not as good as CardMatch.
The other concern you might have is if you have recently applied for other credit cards and aren’t sure whether you can apply for more at this time. I recently completed an app-o-rama in March to snag 315,000 points and miles with five new credit cards, including the Mercedes-Benz Platinum Amex. And I was still able to get this Delta Platinum Amex offer when it came along. So it just goes to show that if you’re not a hardcore churner applying for a ton of cards all the time, but keeping your process orderly and neat and even getting a few new cards each quarter, you can still get in on great offer that come along from time to time.
If Delta is a major part of your flying strategy and you are going to concentrate your travel and spending on the airline in the coming year or years, then the other product to consider at this time is the SunTrust Delta SkyMiles check card, which currently carries a bonus of 10,000 miles when you spend $1,000 on purchases within 90 days of opening your account ($75 annual fee) but just until June 30.
Previously, Suntrust only offered the Delta debit cards to those who lived in places where SunTrust is based including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carlona, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, and Washington DC, but recently they opened it up to anyone living in the U.S.
While the sign-up bonus is underwhelming the card also offers the following card benefits:
- Earn Faster: Earn one mile for every dollar you spend on everyday purchases and two miles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases, including tickets, in-flight purchases and Delta Sky Club memberships
- Zero Liability: 100 percent protection against unauthorized purchases
- Satisfaction Guarantee—Receive a refund, up to $250, in the event you are dissatisfied with your item within 60 days of purchase and the store will not accept the item for return
- MasterCard Marketplace: Facebook application that features money-saving offers on clothing, accessories, dining and much more
- MasterCard SecureCode: Helps prevent unauthorized purchases by requiring a unique password for check card purchases online at participating merchants
- Extended Warranty: Doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty for up to one year
- Annual Fee: $75
Not only that, but having a miles-earning debit card – an increasing rarity these days since virtually none are left on the market – can be a real value proposition for certain kinds of transactions where you either cannot use a points-earning credit card, or doing so will be prohibitively expensive.
For example, paying your taxes. Although you might have already paid your annual income tax back in April, many people and businesses pay their taxes quarterly, so if your next payment is coming up, this could be something to consider. There are other mileage earning debit cards that specifically prohibit earning miles from taxes, so the Delta SunTrust card could be your best bet.
As opposed to many credit cards, which the government will charge you between 1.89-2.35% to use to pay taxes, debit cards usually only incur flat fees of around $2.99-$3.99 per transaction, potentially saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Not only that, but many stores are now requiring customers to buy reload cards like Vanilla Reloads or Green Dot MoneyPaks using either cash or a debit card, so points-earning credit cards are out – or you have to search around for a while to find a store that will accept them as payment. With this debit card, though, you circumvent that problem and you can fund your checking account from your reloadable/prepaid account so you’re not burning through piles of cash.
All in all, Delta has some good credit card and debit card products out there with decent sign-up offers, so if you have been considering any of them, now could be the time.
Be sure to check out my Travel Tuesday Top 10: Ways to Redeem Delta SkyMiles for ideas on how to put your SkyMiles to use once you earn them.