Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Discontinuing Companion Ticket Benefit in 2013

Dec 20, 2012

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In my post earlier this week ranking the top American Express travel credit cards, I included the fact that the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card gives cardholders a $99 annual companion ticket (for L,U,T fares) benefit. However, as of January 25, 2013, this benefit will be discontinued on this particular card.

Like several other airline credit cards, the Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex comes with a companion ticket benefit for cardholders. Each year they renew the card, they get a $99 companion ticket where you could buy one ticket and get the second for $99 plus taxes and fees. It is valid on economy class fares L,U and T in the contiguous 48 United States and while the companion doesn’t earn miles, the primary ticket does- making it great for Medallions who want to bring along a less mileage-obsessed companion.

Per Amex, they found that very few cardholders were actually taking advantage of it so they’ve decided to discontinue it. The good news is that if you were interested in this card, you have until January 24, 2013 to apply and you will still get the companion certificate once when you renew your card after the first year. After that, it will truly no longer be available. I hope that they decide to reinvest in other benefits to make the card more lucrative, because many other airline products offer more value.

As a reminder, the current public bonus on the card is 30,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months, you get 2x points on Delta purchases, and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year. However, from now through December 24, 2013, it looks like there is a bonus of 45,000 miles on both the personal and business versions of the card when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

Before you apply for the card, though, you might want to think about getting either the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card or the Delta Reserve card instead since both of those still come with companion certificates– and the Reserve card is evn good on first class A fares.

Both the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards will continue to offer companion tickets.
Both the Delta Platinum and Reserve cards will continue to offer companion tickets.

In fact, as I pointed out in my rankings, both cards are actually a lot more valuable than the Gold version since they both come with the opportunity to earn elite-qualifying MQMs on Delta and the Reserve comes with Delta Skyclub lounge access.

Though the annual fee on the Reserve card is high at $450, the Platinum’s annual fee is just $150 ($55 more than the Gold SkyMiles Amex); neither is waived the first year.

The Reserve card’s annual Reserve Companion Certificate is available for first/business (or economy) travel within the 48 contiguous United States – a potentially super-valuable perk since transcontinental first class tickets can cost thousands of dollars. The other reason this card can be very valuable is that it has unparalleled MQM-earning potential among the card offerings. It awards cardholders with 10,000 MQMs upon first purchase and up to 30,000 more MQMs a year based on spending (15,000 at $30,000 and another 15,000 at $60,000).

The Platinum card’s companion certificate is valid for one round-trip economy class companion ticket with the purchase of certain adult round-trip fares on published routings within the 48 contiguous United States. The Platinum card comes with 20,000 miles upon your first purchase with the Personal Card (5,000 of which are Medallion® Qualification Miles); or 30,000 miles with the Business card – 15,000 on first purchase (5,000 of which are MQM’s) and an additional 15,000 when you spend $500 in 3 months.

If you already have the Platinum or the Reserve, you could think about getting the Gold SkyMiles Amex since the $95 annual fee is waived the first year, and you will get the companion certificate once – though essentially you’re getting a $194 companion ticket by paying the annual fee next year to get it and then paying the $99 on the certificate fare itself. Instead, I’d go for the valuable MQM bonuses on the Platinum or Reserve cards and use the companion certificates from one of those.

The bottom line is, this card benefits aren’t very compelling and it’s a shame the companion pass is going away because, when used appropriately, it easily made up for the annual fee. I can only hope that Amex has plans add new benefits to the Gold Delta SkyMiles card to bring it some more value in 2013.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 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. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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