Should I Use the Delta Amex to Get Silver Elite Status?

Jul 13, 2014

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – View the current offers here

TPG reader Joe emailed me to ask:

“My new husband and I have both the Platinum Delta Amex and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (both in my name with him as an authorized user). We currently don’t have status with any airline, but primarily fly Delta from Kansas City, and have been working towards our $50,000 spend for Delta Silver Medallion. We’re also trying to load up on miles for a business class trip to Spain and Israel in 2015. Does it make sense to spend as much as possible on the Amex to aim for Silver Medallion, or should we just use the Sapphire? We also have a Chase Freedom in my name and a US Airways MasterCard in his name.”

The airlines are master marketers, and they have us caught on what I call the “Elite Status Hamster Wheel.” We’re caught up in a vicious circle: keep spending, keep paying, keep earning that Elite status, keep working to retain it. Elite status is  kind of like a drug; once you have a taste, you never want to be without it!

Joe and his husband have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Delta Platinum Amex card (among others). They’re working to spend $50,000 on the Delta card to get the MQM boost and Silver Elite status, but there’s an opportunity cost to that spend. You’re forgoing spend on a more lucrative card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which gives double points on anything related to travel and dining, plus a 7% Dividend on all points earned. Even at the base level you’ll earn 1.07 valuable Ultimate Reward points versus one Delta Skymile.

So many options...which ones to choose? Image courtesy of Shutterstock
So many options…which one to choose? (Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

I value Ultimate Rewards points much more highly than Delta miles, as they can  be use on the 11 Chase transfer partners. With Skymiles, you’re really pegged into Delta and SkyTeam, and you may be looking at at using up to 325,000 SkyMiles to fly to Europe in Business Class if your dates aren’t flexible. So, by putting all your charges on the Delta Card, you risk not being able to redeem for the rewards you want.

My suggestion is that since you’re already getting a lot of the Silver Medallion perks from the Delta Platinum Amex card, you should evaluate your other options. Are you getting upgraded? Are you getting better customer service? Try to put a value on your silver status, and if you don’t think it’s worthwhile, you should put your spend on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card instead. You might also consider getting a few other credit cards to boost your other points balances, and hopefully soon your trip to the Mediterranean will be in reach.

If you have additional questions, please message me on Facebook, tweet me @ThePointsGuy, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

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
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • 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.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.