And the battle for Seattle continues between Alaska – the city’s stalwart – and new entrant on the scene, behemoth Delta, who is muscling in on the smaller airline’s longtime hub. Not only have the airlines launched a bevy of competing promos, most of which means savvy consumers can score some pretty great bonuses over the course of next few months depending on their travel plans, but Delta continues to fire salvo after salvo in its attempt to dethrone Alaska in its home region.
However, these more recent volleys have been a mixed bag for flyers. Earlier this week, Delta announced that starting May 1, it would begin restricting Alaska MVP elite benefits while flying Delta including no more free checked bags and no more SkyPriority access. On the more consumer-friendly side, however, Delta has been sending out Seattle-area SkyMiles members targeted Delta co-branded American Express offers like the one below:
Not only is the offer for 50,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months 20,000 more miles than the current public offer, but recipients also get a $200 statement credit when they make a Delta purchase with their new card in the first three months, and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. You must apply by May 11, 2014.
This is as high a bonus as we’ve seen on this card in a while – the other high was through the Card Match Tool and was for 45,000 miles…and you had to spend $5,000 in 6 months in order to get it, so this is a much better offer in my opinion, and if you’ve been considering this card and got the offer, I would apply for it. That’s because not only is the bonus pretty high for this card, but also because Amex has announced that starting May 2, 2014, you will only be able to get the sign-up bonus on each of its consumer cards once – no matter if you had it and closed your account for years then apply for it again. So if you’ve had this card in the past but not at the moment and were targeted for this offer, this is your last chance to score a bonus on it at all, let alone one of this size.
Though Delta’s other Amex cards like the Platinum SkyMiles Amex and the Delta Reserve can be a better value for folks looking for their added benefits like the ability to spend your way to earning Medallion Qualifying Miles, and the Reserve’s (recently restricted) SkyClub access, you might still apply for this offer now and then get one of those cards later when their bonuses go up higher. These cards have also recently become better options for international travelers thanks to the fact that they will be available with EMV Smart Chips and will begin waiving foreign transaction fees starting May 1. For more information, see my post on Choosing the Right Delta American Express Card For You.
Though I personally plan to dump Delta thanks to all the recent negative changes to the SkyMiles program – including award chart devaluations, elite revenue requirements and a new fare-based mileage-earning structure being put in place in 2015 – I know many flyers are sticking with the airline, whether out of misplaced loyalty or a lack of options. So in that case, having a co-branded Delta Amex is more significant since if you’re not an elite, it gets you perks like free checked bags and priority boarding, while if you’re already a Medallion elite, you can bypass those new Medallion Qualifying Dollar requirements of spending $2,500-$12,500 on tickets by putting $25,000 of spending on your co-branded Delta Amex card instead.
While I’m sure we’re in store for some more negative news thanks to Delta’s push to make Seattle a new hub, at least there are some positive elements of the move for consumers to take advantage of, including this increased sign-up bonus – and hopefully some more both on the other Delta Amex cards and for flyers based in other regions!
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