fbpx

Huge Changes are Coming to the Amex Delta Credit Cards in 2020

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. For more information check out our Advertising Disclosure.

 

Delta and American Express on Monday announced a number of massive changes coming to their suite of co-branded credit cards, with both good and bad news.

There are plenty of changes coming as of Jan. 30, 2020, and it’s a mixed bag. The changes range from the minor (slight name changes) to the good (new benefits on every card) to the negative (some cuts and increases to annual fees). Every card in Delta’s portfolio is getting overhauled, from the no-annual-fee Blue card to the top-of-the-line Delta Reserve card.

On the whole, these changes will be positive for many travelers – but they don’t come without some major drawbacks.

Read on for our a breakdown of all the changes to each of Delta’s co-branded American Express cards.

 

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

The Gold Delta Amex card will be updating its name to the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card come Jan. 30, 2020. It will be offering a number of new benefits while retaining most of what it currently offers.

 

delta credit card

 

New Benefits
  • The card will offer an enhanced earning rate at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. You will earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent on both categories (currently 1x per dollar spent).
  • The card will offer a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year.
  • The Delta SkyMiles Gold Business Card will offer 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 credit card

 

Negative Changes
  • Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) waiver won’t be available. You could previously spend $25,000 in a calendar year to earn the waiver towards Medallion status.
  • Gold cardholders can currently purchase discounted access to the Delta Sky Club for $29 per person. This will be discontinued starting Jan. 30, 2020. 
  • The card’s $95 annual fee will be increased to $99 upon renewal or new account opening on or after Jan. 30, 2020.

 

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

Like the Delta SkyMiles Gold Card, the Platinum Delta card will also be updating its name. Starting Jan. 30, it will be known as the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express card. Most of the benefits on this card are staying the same with a few notable exceptions.

 

delta credit card

 

New Benefits
  • The card will earn 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both hotels and on Delta purchases. 
  • Like the Gold card, it will earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets.
  • The card will offer up to a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.
  • The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Card will offer 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 credit card

 

Negative Changes
  • Platinum cardholders can currently purchase discounted access to the Delta Sky Club for $29 per person. This will be increased to $39 per person starting Jan.30, 2020. 
  • The card will still offer 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $25,000 & $50,000 in a calendar year, but the bonus redeemable SkyMiles that come with them are being removed.
  • The card’s $195 annual fee will be increased to $250 upon renewal or new account opening on or after Jan. 30, 2020.

 

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

As is the case with both the Gold and Platinum versions, Delta will rebrand this card the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card starting Jan. 30, 2020. The Reserve card will keep most of its existing benefits while adding a few unique benefits that are outlined below.

 

delta credit card

 

New Benefits
  • The card will now earn 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. This was previously only available at both $30,000 and $60,000 in a year.
  • You will receive two, one-time guest passes to the Delta Sky Club. This will complement the Delta Sky Club membership this card already offers.
  • The card will now offer up to a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.
  • The card will provide complimentary access to the American Express Centurion Lounges when you are flying Delta on a ticket that was purchased with the card. You can also bring up to two guests in with you for a fee of $50 each.
  • The card will now offer complimentary upgrades, 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 will also offer 1.5x SkyMiles on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more.

 

 

Negative Changes
  • Sky Priority security line access is being eliminated.
  • The card will still offer 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 mentioned above), but the bonus redeemable miles (15,000 SkyMiles) that come with them are being removed.
  • The card’s $450 annual fee will be increased to $550 upon renewal or new account opening on or after Jan. 30, 2020.

 

Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

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

 

New Benefits
  • The card will now earn 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide (this was previously limited to U.S. restaurants).
  • The card will now provide access to Delta’s Pay with Miles feature, one of our favorite ways to use SkyMiles.
  • The card will be waiving foreign transaction fees starting Jan. 30, 2020.

 

delta credit card

 

Our Analysis 

For the most part, this is 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.

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.

 

Bottom Line

These changes will go into effect on Jan. 30, 2020. And if you grab one of these cards now (or have an annual fee renewal before that date), you should enjoy almost a full year with new benefits while paying the lesser annual fee.

 

Want the best flight deals and travel tips delivered to your inbox?
Sign up for Thrifty Traveler, and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter & Instagram

 

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

24 Responses

  1. Jon Demos says:

    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?

    • Nick Serati says:

      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.

  2. Lori Lee says:

    Does the Blue card include no luggage fees?
    Also will the Gold card continue to have no luggage fees?

    • Nick Serati says:

      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

  3. Bear says:

    Is the $25k MQD waiver no longer available at all? Or just gone for the Gold card?

  4. Rachel says:

    Are buddy passes still going to be a benefit of the platinum card?

    • Nick Serati says:

      Yes. The companion benefit isn’t going away.

      • Bob says:

        Removing the sky club access for the gold card is a bummer, but that shouldn’t be a deal breaker for owning the gold card. One trip with you and your partner eliminates the annual fee with the 1 free checked bag for each. Plus now you get $100 after spending $10k.

  5. Kristi says:

    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…

    • Nick Serati says:

      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.

  6. Jeffrey Wisuri says:

    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!

  7. Kim says:

    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.

    • Nick Serati says:

      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.

      • Kim says:

        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 ?

        • Nick Serati says:

          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.

  8. Maxine says:

    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?

    • Nick Serati says:

      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.

  9. Russell says:

    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?

    • Nick Serati says:

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

  10. Chelsey says:

    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?

  11. qofmiwok says:

    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.

    • Nick Serati says:

      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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *