Skip to content

Delta Amex Cards Are Offering Elevated Referral Bonuses, Up to 20k Miles per Referral

Jan. 19, 2019
7 min read
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.

While a travel credit card with welcome bonus and bonus spending categories tend to get the most attention, referring friends or family to cards you use has long been a good way to earn points and miles. Even better, many card issuers often offer limited-time elevated referral bonuses (subject to change at anytime) to encourage you to refer others to sign up. For those who hold one of the Delta cobranded American Express personal cards, now is one of those times.

Through Jan. 30, the personal Delta Amex cards are offering some fantastic referral bonuses, including the best-ever referral bonus for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: 15,000 SkyMiles per approved referral.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Even better, thanks to a change Amex made last year, those you refer can choose from any of the Delta cobranded Amex cards, not just the specific card you have. You'll still receive the same referral bonus if the person you referred signs up for any of the Delta cobranded Amex cards, even including the business cards.

After seeing the elevated referral bonus on my personal Platinum Delta Amex card, I checked with the members of the TPG Lounge Facebook group to find out what offers they were seeing. Group members reported that both the personal Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the personal Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express were offering elevated referral bonuses, though the business cards were not.

The downside is that the welcome bonus for the person you refer isn't quite as good as some of the other elevated welcome bonuses Amex has offered for these cards over the last couple of years. The welcome bonuses for most of the personal cards are still significantly better than the current public offers, though, so if your friend needs to open one of the cards now rather than waiting for a better offer, this offer may be a great option for both of you.

Gold Delta Amex

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is currently offering 12,500 SkyMiles to card holders for each approved referral, up to 55,000 SkyMiles per calendar year. Friends approved for this card will receive 50,000 SkyMiles after spending $1,000 within their first three months of card membership.

According to TPG's current valuation of 1.2 cents per Delta SkyMile, that 12,500-mile referral bonus is worth $150, while the 50,000-mile welcome bonus is worth $600.

Aside from the welcome bonus, this card offers a free checked bag on flights that are both marketed and operated by Delta (for the card holder and up to 8 others traveling on the same reservation), as well as Zone 1 priority boarding. Additionally, spending $25,000 within a calendar year on this card will exempt the card holder from the MQD requirement for Silver, Gold or Platinum status with Delta, and spending a whopping $250,000 would waive the MQD requirement for Diamond status. This card comes with a $95 annual fee that's waived the first year.

If your friend can wait a while, 60,000-mile welcome bonuses after spending $1,000 in the first three months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months have been publicly available several times over the last few years. Amex also occasionally sends out targeted offers for 75,000-mile welcome bonuses, but I haven't seen those available publicly. However, if your friend needs to get this card soon, this 50,000-mile referral offer is at least significantly better than the current public welcome bonus of 30,000 SkyMiles after spending $1,000 in the first three months and a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months.

Platinum Delta Amex

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express is currently offering its best-ever referral bonus: 15,000 SkyMiles for each approved referral, up to 55,000 SkyMiles per calendar year. Friends approved for this card will receive 60,000 miles after making $2,000 in purchases within the first three months.

According to TPG's current valuations, that 15,000-mile referral bonus is worth $180, while the 60,000-mile welcome bonus is worth $720.

In addition to the checked baggage, priority boarding and MQD waiver benefits offered by the Gold Delta Amex card, the Platinum Delta Amex gives the card holder an annual companion ticket certificate for a round-trip domestic economy flight within the contiguous 48 states. This benefit helped the Delta Platinum Amex card win Best Airline Credit Card at the TPG Awards. It also comes with the opportunity to earn MQMs each year if you meet certain spending thresholds. This card comes with a $195 annual fee.

Once again, this is not quite as good as the 70,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs (after $3,000 spent in the first three months) and $100 statement credit (after a Delta purchase in the first three months) that has been available a few times over the last few years, though those offers had a higher spending requirement. Still, this 60,000-mile bonus offer is significantly better than the current public offer of 35,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 MQMs after spending $1,000 in the first three months and a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the first three months. So if your friend needs this card soon, this offer may be his or her best bet.

The information for the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Delta Reserve Amex

The Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express is currently offering a fantastic referral bonus of 20,000 SkyMiles per approved referral, up to 55,000 SkyMiles per calendar year. Friends approved for this card will receive 70,000 SkyMiles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of card membership.

TPG currently values that 20,000-mile referral bonus at $240 and the 70,000 SkyMiles from the sign-up bonus at $840.

The Delta Reserve Amex offers the same checked baggage, priority boarding and MQD waiver benefits offered by the Gold and Platinum Delta Amex cards. Like the Platinum Delta card, the Reserve comes with an annual companion domestic round-trip certificate, but this one can also be used on Comfort+ or first-class tickets, unlike the Platinum version. Additionally, the Reserve allows earning more MQMs after meeting spending thresholds than the Platinum Delta Amex and also increases your upgrade priority. Being the most premium card in the Delta Amex lineup, the Reserve has a $450 annual fee.

The Delta Reserve Amex card doesn't offer elevated welcome bonuses quite as often as the Gold and Platinum versions do. The highest offer I've seen for this card was 70,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 MQMs (after $5,000 in spending in the first three months) last fall. Unfortunately, this 70,000-mile referral offer doesn't come with any MQMs, but the spending requirement is not as high as the $5,000 required in the offer last fall. The current public welcome offer only includes 40,000 miles after $3,000 in spending within three months, but also comes with 10,000 MQMs.

Bottom Line

The referral bonuses for these offers are among the best Amex has ever offered for the Delta cobranded cards, and the welcome bonuses for those you refer are well above the current publicly available offers. You'll earn the referral bonus offered on your card if your friend signs up for any Delta Amex card; it doesn't have to be the same card you have, and it could even be a business card.

Remember that these offers will expire on Jan. 30, so you only have a couple of weeks left if you want to take advantage of them. If you're looking for how to get maximum value out of these referral and welcome bonuses, check out TPG's recent guide on how to redeem SkyMiles.

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

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases