Big Changes, New Look for Delta’s Amex Credit Cards
delta american express

Big Changes, New Look for Delta’s Amex Credit Cards

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A major overhaul of Delta’s co-branded American Express credit cards took hold Thursday, including some new benefits, huge new welcome offer bonuses, disappearing perks, and slightly higher annual fees. And they all got a facelift with a brand new look, too.

Delta announced these changes back in September, giving loyal Delta flyers and cardholders plenty of time to prepare. The changes range from the minor (slight name changes, new card art, and metal cards) to the good (new benefits and larger welcome offers on every card) to the negative (some cuts and increases to annual fees). Every card in Delta’s portfolio has been overhauled, from the no-annual-fee Blue card to the top-of-the-line Delta Reserve card.

Any new applicants for these cards starting today, Thursday, Jan. 30, will pay higher annual fees and receive the new set of benefits. If you’ve already paid your annual fee, you’re in luck – you’ll get any new benefits while paying the lower annual fee until your card renews again.

On the whole, these changes should be positive for many travelers. But they don’t come without some major drawbacks. Read on for our breakdown of all the changes to each of Delta’s co-branded American Express cards.

 

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card. 

 

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card. 

 

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card. 

 

 

Click Here to learn more about the Delta Reserve Card from American Express.

 

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

The Gold Delta Amex card is now officially known as the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card. Aside from the cosmetic change, it’s getting a few new benefits while retaining most of what it previously offered – with one major downgrade.

 

delta gold

 

New Benefits
  • The card now offers an enhanced earning rate at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. You now earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent on both categories (was 1x per dollar spent).
  • You can now earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on the new card in the first 3 months, plus an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of Card Membership.
  • The card offers a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year.
  • The Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card now offers 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent on U.S. shipping and U.S. advertising as opposed to 2x SkyMiles at U.S. supermarkets on the personal version.

 

delta gold

 

Negative Changes
  • As of Jan. 1, 2020, the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) waiver is no longer available. You could previously spend $25,000 in a calendar year to earn the waiver towards earning Medallion status.
  • Gold cardholders can no longer purchase access to the Delta Sky Club for $29 per person. That popular benefit has now been discontinued for the Gold card. 
  • The card’s $95 annual fee has increased to $99 for new applications or upon your next renewal.

 

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

Like the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, the Platinum Delta card also has a new name: the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express card. Like the rest of these cards, it has a new look. And now, it will be made of actual metal.

Most of the benefits on this card, like the annual companion pass, haven’t changed – with a few notable exceptions.

 

delta plat

 

New Benefits
  • The card now earns 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both hotels and on Delta purchases. 
  • Like the Gold card, it earns 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
  • You can now earn 80,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first 3 months, plus an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of Card Membership.
  • The card now offers up to a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.
  • The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Card now earns you 1.5x SkyMiles on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more as opposed to 2x SkyMiles at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants on the personal version.

 

delta gold

 

Negative Changes

 

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

Just like its two lower siblings, Delta has rebranded this card the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card – complete with a new look and an actual metal card.

The Reserve card keeps most of its existing benefits while adding a few exciting new perks – all for a fairly hefty annual fee increase.

 

delta reserve

 

New Benefits
  • The card now earns 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. 
  • You will now earn an additional 15,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending both $90,000 and $120,000 in a calendar year. That’s a marked increase from the previous bonus thresholds of $30,000 and $60,000, and it allows you to earn up to 60,000 additional MQMs per year toward Delta Medallion status.
  • You can now earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $5,000 in purchases on the new card in the first 3 months, plus, an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of Card Membership.
  • You will receive two, one-time guest passes to the Delta Sky Club. This is in addition to the free Delta Sky Club membership the card already offers.
  • You can now get in free to the American Express Centurion Lounges when you are flying Delta on a ticket that was purchased with the Reserve card. You can also bring up to two guests in with you for a fee of $50 each.
  • The card also offers up to a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.
  • You now qualify for complimentary upgrades on Delta flights, even for non-Medallion members. However, you will still be below Medallion status members on the upgrade list, so upgrades will likely be somewhat rare.
  • The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Card also offers 1.5x SkyMiles on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more.

 

delta reserve

 

Negative Changes
  • Sky Priority security line access is being eliminated.
  • The card still offers 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $30,000 & $60,000 in a calendar year (plus the new $90,000 and $120,000 tiers), but you no longer earn bonus redeemable miles (15,000 SkyMiles).
  • The card’s $450 annual fee has jumped to $550 upon renewal or for new applicants.

 

Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

Even Delta’s no annual fee Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is getting a few updates. For starters, the card has been rebranded as the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express card.

 

delta blue

 

New Benefits
  • The card now earns 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (this was previously limited to U.S. restaurants).
  • The card now allows you to use Delta’s Pay with Miles feature, one of our favorite ways to use SkyMiles.
  • Much like Delta’s other credit cards, you will no longer pay foreign transaction fees as of Jan. 30, 2020.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on the new Card in the first 3 months.

 

delta blue

 

Our Analysis 

For the most part, this is a strong overhaul to the suite of co-branded Delta American Express credit cards. While annual fees are increasing on all versions of the card, I think they are fair when you factor in the added benefits.

But that doesn’t mean everyone will come out ahead. And some downgrades hurt more than others.

Cutting the ability to buy a day pass to Delta Sky Clubs from Delta’s Gold card is a tough blow for many travelers. The cost for those day passes is increasing for Delta Platinum cardholders, while the addition of a $100 application credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck won’t be a gamechanger for everyone. Meanwhile, the additions to the Reserve and Blue cards are mostly solid.

From the looks of it, Amex and Delta appear to be encouraging more spending on the cards by adding more ways to earn bonus SkyMiles. This has long been a gripe of the cards, and one of the biggest reasons we think most people are better off putting their everyday spending on a flexible points credit card.

One thing we didn’t see with this refresh is a CLEAR membership added as a benefit to the Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express card. It will offer up to a $100 credit for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, but because of Delta’s ownership stake in CLEAR, I thought we might see CLEAR as an added benefit like we recently saw with the American Express Green Card.

 

Bottom Line

After roughly four months of warning, you can officially say hello to Delta’s overhauled suite of SkyMiles credit cards. Whether it’s an improvement or a downgrade will vary wildly, traveler by traveler.

On the bright side, if you’ve already got one of these cards, you won’t pay a higher annual fee until your next renewal date. That could give you plenty of time to maximize some new perks at a lower price tag.

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.

29 Responses

  • Thanks for the update. Would it make sense just to keep my Platinum card just for the Companion fare benefit, boarding and baggage benefits , and use a Capitol One Venture card to accumulate points faster (2X miles every purchase)? As I understand it, I would book on Delta, pay with the Venture card and still receive the Delta perks?

    • The miles they earn are very different, but it probably makes sense to transfer your spending that earns bonus points on the platinum card to the platinum card. Use the Venture card for everything else.

    • The Blue SkyMiles card does not offer a free checked bag. All of the other versions do and will continue to offer that benefit after Jan. 30, 2020

  • Is it worth upgrading feom the gold to platinum mainly for access to the lounge, which will be removed from the gold? I take 1 to 2 intl trips a year and that perk has been a godsend over the last year alone…

    • If you upgrade to Platinum, your new annual fee will be $250. Add in two lounge visits each year and you are looking at $328 out of pocket. Of course, you will get the annual companion ticket which can take care of a large part of your out of pocket annual fee cost, but that is a tough call. You could get the Amex Platinum card (non-Delta version) and pay $550 each year and get a ton more benefits, including free Delta Sky Club access when you are flying Delta.

  • What a freakin JOKE! They are getting soooooo CHEAP and forcing us couple times per year travelers to pay absorbinant fees for a stupid upgrade card just to access the sky club!!! They are slowly taking all the perks and fun out of traveling! I’ll be cancelling my Gold Am Ex and saying adios to the once value minded $29 sky club pass!

    • I canceled my Delta Gold because of this. It was really the only benefit that meant something to me, since I never check a bag and other cards provide more valuable rewards on spending.

    • The goal here is to reduce the number of people in the lounges. Every time I’ve been in a lounge, it’s very crowded. The point of the lounge is to reward loyalty to the Delta brand, and being able to get in for $29 with an inexpensive CC was setting a low bar that made a poor experience for actual loyal/consistent customers. I have never had Delta medallion status and do not have a more expensive card so I’m in the same boat as you, but I also understand why Delta is doing it so I’m not bitter in any way.

  • I have the Gold Skymiles card and see all negatives in these changes. I have considered the Amex Platinum (non Delta) as I used the lounge access but always want my carry on so need the Main Cabin 1 boarding. Not sure what to do as I travel 2x per month and feel a bit screwed over here.

    • Amex is now giving Gold cardholders a $100 credit to use towards a Delta purchase after you spend $10k on the card in a calendar year. This essentially takes care of the annual fee. In my opinion, Amex is trying to encourage more everyday spending on this card and taking away some of the ancillary benefits the card currently has. It will be better for everyday spending with that new $100 credit, but worse for lounge access. The Amex Platinum card is a great option. If you travel 2x times per month, I think you would come out ahead on the Platinum card. Especially if that travel is with Delta.

      • Thanks Nick. Are you referring to the Delta Platinum or the non-branded Platinum ? I would be willing to invest in the Non-branded but then would lose my priority boarding correct ?

        • I was referring to the non Delta Amex platinum. You could hold it alongside your Delta gold. You are correct the Platinum won’t give you any boarding or baggage benefits.

  • I think I should stay with my Amex Bonvoy card. I can transfer the Miles to not only Delta but so many others and if I transfer 60k, they kick in another 5k. I receive access to the lounges. And I can stay in any Marriott anywhere in the world. Is there a reason not to do this?

    • If you are going to stay with one card, I would suggest a flexible card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. While you can transfer Marriott points to airlines, it is generally not a great value and should only be used to top off your account for a redemption you are going to make. The transfer ratios on the Chase cards are much more favorable.

  • My wife and I like to travel and recently got the platinum card because she got a new job where she will be traveling ~1 every over month and can use the card, then the company will reimburse. We now use the card for everything to rack up point to travel for vacations. Should we stick with platinum?

    • As long as that travel is on Delta, it is a good option. You will soon earn 3x on both Delta flights and hotels.

  • Do you know if the credit for the TSA pre-check applies to additional cardholder members on the account or is it only for the primary account holder?

  • Seriously, another blogger pitching these changes as good? I understand these blogs are supported by links but it is astonishing the degree to which all the bloggers have sold out.

    • Hi Cindi,

      I highlighted the changes as fair based on the new benefits and annual fee increases. I also made sure to highlight the negative changes coming to each card. Most (not all) travelers will benefit from these changes.

  • I’ve already had (and cancelled) the Gold Delta Amex card. With the name change to the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, will that change the once-per-lifetime ability to get the sign-up bonus?

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