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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Today American Express launched limited time welcome bonus offers of 50,000 Delta SkyMiles for three of its co-branded Delta Air Lines cards: the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card (both personal and business versions) and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles credit card (personal version only). The welcome bonuses for these cards are normally 30,000 SkyMiles for the Gold cards and 35,000 for the Platinum card, so the present offers are substantially better. These offers will be available until September 8, 2014.
Which one is best for you? If you’re just looking to top up your mileage account and want basic benefits like free checked bags, the Gold version is the best long-term option. If you need MQMs and can hit high spend thresholds, then the Platinum version is likely the best fit. Another reason to get the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card is that it comes with a companion ticket every year upon card renewal, so if you’re able to get value out of that feature, then this card is definitely the one to choose.
Here are more details of the present offers:
Gold Delta SkyMiles American Express
Type: Personal or Business
Bonus: Get 50,000 SkyMiles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months, and earn a $50 statement credit after your first Delta purchase (also within 3 months).
Benefits: Earn 2X miles per $1 on Delta purchases, 1X miles on everything else. Check your first bag free on every Delta flight for you and up to 8 people on your reservation. Priority Boarding and 20% In-Flight Savings. Discounted Delta SkyClub access ($29 per visit). On the Business version, save 3% to 10% automatically on business expenses from FedEx, Hertz, OfficeMax, and more with OPEN Savings. No foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95, no annual fee for additional card.
Why Get It? This is the highest public welcome bonus we’ve seen on this card in a while. I’ve made no secret of my frustrations with Delta regarding their recent devaluation and the planned shift to a revenue-based loyalty program, but you can still find ways to put SkyMiles to good use.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express
Type: Personal (business version also available, but with lower welcome bonus)
Current Bonus: Get 50,000 SkyMiles and 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months, and earn a $100 statement credit when you make your first Delta purchase within 3 months.
Benefits: Earn 2X miles per $1 on Delta purchases, 1X miles on everything else. Check your first bag free on every Delta flight for you and up to 8 people on your reservation. Earn a bonus of up to 20,000 SkyMiles and 20,000 MQM’s annually (10,000 of each for $25,000 in calendar year spend, and another 10,000 of each for a total of $50,000 in calendar year spending), Priority Boarding and 20% In-Flight Savings. Annual Companion Certificate for one roundtrip economy ticket in the 48 contiguous United States. No foreign transaction fees.
Annual Fee: $195
Why Get It? Again, this is the highest public offer we’ve seen since the 55k bonus from over a year ago, though that one had a much higher spending requirement. This card holds value for those looking to boost their MQM’s through spending. The companion ticket that you receive every year after card renewal might also be worth it for Delta frequent flyers out there, and can easily offset the annual fee of the card if you maximize it.
Not all the recent news coming from Delta has been bad. Starting this month, Delta is offering free entertainment on domestic flights of 90 minutes or more, and the airline recently made some modest improvements to its transcontinental economy service between JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.
While I currently value SkyMiles less than almost all other airline miles, with Delta having already made so many recent changes, I have to think they’re unlikely to devalue again anytime soon. That doesn’t add any value to the present card offers, but it does make them a safer bet if you don’t have immediate plans to redeem your SkyMiles. With the low spending requirements and some interesting benefits, these cards are definitely worth considering if you can apply before September 8 and get the increased welcome bonus.