4 reasons your family needs a Delta Amex credit card — now

Oct 20, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressDelta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express

The best time to get a new rewards credit card is usually when the bonus is at a peak — especially if it is a card that comes with “once in a lifetime” restrictions on the welcome bonus. Right now is your chance to hop on the wave of increased welcome bonuses on several Delta Amex cards that go as high as 75,000 miles each and come with up to $100 in statement credits for eligible Delta purchases. (Hello, booking holiday air travel for less!)

First, here are the current card deals. These are limited-time welcome offers ending on Oct. 30. After describing the current bonuses, we’ll explore four reasons you might want to consider pulling the trigger on a Delta credit card ASAP.

Personal Delta Amex Cards

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 60,000 miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months, plus a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months. Offer expires 10/30/2019. Terms apply.
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 75,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months, plus a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months. Offer expires 10/30/2019. Terms apply.
  • Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 75,000 miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months. Offer expires 10/30/2019. Terms apply.
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

1. Top off your Delta SkyMiles account and save on airfare

Getting a new card isn’t all about the welcome bonus, but 75k bonus Delta miles are pretty valuable. TPG values Delta SkyMiles at 1.2 cents each, making that bonus worth about $900. On top of that, you get a $50 to $100 statement credit on Delta purchases (including but not limited to airfare) that you can use in the first three months.

If you use the $100 statement credit (here are some ideas) and agree with the TPG valuation of Delta SkyMiles, that’s a bonus worth $1,000.

Just remember that you can often only get each type of Delta Amex card’s welcome bonus once, so think about if this is the best time for your family to get this particular card.

In terms of using the miles, Delta has periodic flash sales that drop the price of awards to very attractive levels, so you want to be sure and have access to some SkyMiles at those times. We have seen a flash sale drop the price of flights to the Caribbean as low as 9k SkyMiles each way, domestic flights for 9,000 SkyMiles and lie-flat seats to Europe from 86,000 SkyMiles.

2. The Delta Companion Pass is very valuable

The higher-end Delta Amex cards also have a built-in annual companion ticket awarded at each account anniversary. These cards include the personal Delta Reserve, the Delta Reserve for Business, the personal Platinum Delta Amex and the Platinum Delta Business Amex.

I hang onto my Delta Platinum card year after year because of this companion ticket that more than offsets the annual fees for my family. The annual ticket is valid within the contiguous United States. Residents of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands can originate from those destinations to travel to the 48 contiguous United States. (You must have an eligible address on file with SkyMiles.)

If you have the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex, the companion ticket is only eligible for economy-class flights, while if you have the Delta Reserve, the companion ticket can be used for first class, Comfort+ or Main Cabin. There are some restricted fare classes but, in general, I have had success using the ticket to fly when we wanted, as long as we planned far enough in advance and weren’t targeting ultra peak flying dates.

Delta
(Photo courtesy of Delta)

3. Delta is kind of great and the card saves you money

As far as major U.S. airlines go, Delta is often found toward the top of the pack. It ranked highest among the “Big 3” in our most recent TPG Best Airlines for Families study. Its operational stats and onboard experience are frequently a notch above some competitors, so you very well may want to fly Delta when it’s feasible and the price is right. And when you do fly Delta, you can save money and hassle if you have a Delta Amex.

delta-a320-infant-gift
(Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

The Delta Amex cards offer a free checked bag on Delta flights not just for the cardholder, but up to eight companions. They also offer priority boarding and 20% off eligible inflight purchases. For a family, that’s real savings if you check bags since each checked bag typically costs $30 each way if you don’t have a Delta Amex card.

4. The annual fees go up in January — lock in lower rates now

The bad news is that the crop of Delta Amex cards are getting higher annual fees beginning on Jan. 30, 2020. The good news that if you get them now, you can enjoy a year of the cards and perks at the current fees. Here’s what is changing:

  • Delta Gold: $99 annual fee (currently $95) upon renewal or new account opening on or after Jan. 30 (see rates and fees)
  • Delta Platinum: $250 annual fee (currently $195) upon renewal or new account opening on or after Jan. 30 (see rates and fees)
  • Delta Reserve: $450 ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020 — see rates and fees)

Each of the Delta Amex cards is also experiencing some tweaks when it comes to the built-in benefits. None of what is mentioned in this article is changing (other than the annual fees), but TPG has a full rundown of all the changes that take place in January 2020.

Bottom line

My family already has a Delta credit card (or two, actually), but if we didn’t, we’d likely be pulling the trigger now before these limited-time bonuses disappear on Oct. 30. If you aren’t sure which Delta Amex card to select, here’s some help with that decision.

For rates and fees of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card, please click here.

Featured image courtesy of Gades Photography/Unsplash.

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