Delta SkyMiles Debit Cards from SunTrust Are Back

Sep 8, 2015

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After a hiatus of over a year, SunTrust Bank is once again offering the Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card to eligible members, including new account holders. In a marketplace where rewards debit cards have all but disappeared, this could be good news for award travelers seeking opportunities to boost their SkyMiles account balances.

For years, this card was a solid option to earn miles — albeit Delta SkyMiles — on expenses like tax and mortgage payments that normally wouldn’t earn rewards without incurring a fee. However, SunTrust stopped issuing the card to new applicants last summer, and devalued existing accounts less than two months ago. While those recent negative changes remain in place, the card may still prove useful even beyond the modest sign-up bonus. Here are the details:

Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card

  • Earn 5,000 bonus miles after your first PIN Point of Sale or signature-based purchase within the first 90 days.
  • Earn 1 mile per dollar spent on PIN Point of Sale or signature-based purchases.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on all direct Delta purchases, such as tickets and in-flight purchases.
  • $75 annual fee (with some exceptions).
  • Earnings capped at 4,000 miles per month.
Delta SkyMiles World Debit Card
SunTrust’s Delta debit cards can help you earn SkyMiles, but pay close attention to fees and other important conditions.

The card is only available to Signature Advantage Checking Account holders, and unfortunately, that account comes with its own set of fees. Members with a total deposit balance below $25,000 will be charged a steep $25 monthly fee, which takes a huge bite out of any potential rewards. TPG lists SkyMiles at 1.2 cents apiece in his most recent valuations, so the monthly limit of 4,000 miles is worth $48. That means the Delta debit card really only makes sense if you also have a substantial banking relationship with SunTrust. Members with over $100,000 in total deposits will get a reduced annual fee of $25 for the SkyMiles debit card, which improves the value proposition somewhat.

A business version is also newly available for most business checking accounts; however, this card is even less lucrative. The Delta SkyMiles Business Debit Card is identical to the personal card in many respects, but only earns 1 mile for every $2 in spending, and has an earning cap of 2,000 SkyMiles per month, making it practically worthless.

Bottom Line

If you have considerable expenses that can be paid easily with a debit card, but not a credit card, and if you have (or could have) a banking relationship with SunTrust that allows you to avoid monthly fees, then this relaunched Delta SkyMiles product offers pretty good value. However, most people will be better off focusing on the top credit card offers and using the occasional debit payment as a way to boost spending toward earning lucrative sign-up bonuses.

What experiences have you had with SunTrust and Delta SkyMiles debit cards? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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