Please note: the offers mentioned below are subject to change at any time and may not be available.
Back in Sept. 2019, Delta and American Express announced upcoming changes to their entire lineup of cobranded credit cards. Today is the day those changes finally take effect.
Every single Delta SkyMiles credit card — including all four personal and all three business versions — has received a makeover. This revamp includes new, sleek card designs, enhanced benefits and (most importantly) elevated welcome bonuses available for a limited time. In fact, this is the first time that all seven of the Delta Amex cards have elevated offers at the same time — and the bonuses represent all-time highs for some of them. While these changes did come with a few discontinued perks and increased annual fees across most of the card lineup, the updates may add value for many cardholders.
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Let’s take a look at the new benefit structure of each card and evaluate the current welcome bonuses available to new cardholders. Then read on to hear what leaders at both Delta and American Express have to say regarding the changes.
Annual fee: $99 (waived the first year)
Limited-time welcome bonus: Up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months, plus earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. (Offer expires 4/1/2020.)
New earning structure: 2x on eligible Delta purchases, restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
The Gold Delta Amex continues to be a strong, entry-level cobranded airline card. While you previously earned double miles on Delta purchases, you now have additional bonuses: 2x miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Delta has also added the ability to earn an up to $100 Delta flight credit when you spend $10,000 over the course of the calendar year. That equates to spending $833 per month, which isn’t a hard threshold for many cardholders to hit. The card is keeping its standard “elite-like” perks, including a free checked bag and priority boarding.
The limited-time welcome bonus is an excellent value and should be easy to hit. You’ll earn double the typical welcome bonus by spending just $2,000 in the first two months, and you don’t even have a spending requirement to earn the additional 10,000 miles. They will automatically be awarded after your first anniversary of card membership. Just make sure to apply before April 1 if you want to take advantage of this offer. Altogether, this bonus is worth $840 according to TPG valuations.
Though the annual fee is increasing, it’s a minimal change ($4 to be exact). However, two benefits are now discontinued: the ability to earn a Medallion Qualification Dollar (MQD) waiver by spending on this card and the ability to buy discounted Delta Sky Club passes for $29 per person. While casual Delta travelers with the card may not use either of these perks regularly, existing cardholders who have utilized these benefits in the past may view these changes as a disappointment.
APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
Annual fee: $250
Limited-time welcome bonus: Up to 100,000 bonus miles (an all-time high). Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months, plus earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. (Offer expires 4/1/2020.)
New earning structure: 3x on eligible Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2x at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
Like the Gold Delta Amex, this card is getting a makeover inside and out. The Platinum Delta Amex has a new name and new card design, but unlike the Gold card, it now comes in a new, metal form. (We confirmed with a spokesperson from American Express that existing cardholders won’t receive these metal cards automatically but can request a conversion from plastic to metal.)
In addition, you’ll now see enhanced earning rates and a new perk added to the Platinum Delta Amex. Cardholders will now earn 3x on Delta purchases and at hotels, an increase from its original 2x on Delta purchases and 1x on hotel stays. Plus, you’ll also earn 2x on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, a jump from the old 1x earning rate. The Platinum Delta Amex will also be the latest card to offer a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (every four years for Global Entry, every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck) (up to $100). Finally, it’s keeping most of its current benefits. You’ll still receive an annual companion certificate, first checked bag free, priority boarding and 20% inflight savings on food and beverages.
Looking at the current limited-time welcome bonus, you can earn up to 100,000 bonus miles, worth up to $1,200 according to TPG’s valuations. For only a $3,000 spending requirement, plus the stipulation that you have to renew the card to get the full 100k mile bonus, this is a lucrative bonus. Unlike past offers, you won’t earn any bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), but this is still a huge haul of miles — especially when you consider some Delta award tickets have recently appeared for as little as 2,500 miles each way.
There are a couple of negative changes to the Platinum Delta Amex. For starters, the annual fee is increasing to $250 (from $195). Discounted SkyClub passes are also jumping from $29 to $39. In addition, Delta has changed the “Miles Boost” feature that rewarded big spenders. For those chasing elite status, you’ll still earn 10,000 bonus MQMs after you spend $25,000, and then another 10,000 MQMs when you reach $50,000 in spending in a calendar year, but you’ll no longer earn any redeemable miles as part of that benefit.
All in all, the Delta Platinum will continue to be great choice for regular Delta flyers who are hoping to benefit from elite-like perks while attempting to earn status. If you’re a big spender, though, be sure to crunch the numbers to see if the higher earning rates will offset the loss of the bonus miles at the $25k and $50k spending thresholds.
APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
Annual fee: $550
Limited-time welcome bonus: Up to 100,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs), an all-time high for this card. Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months, plus earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. (Offer expires 4/1/2020.)
New earning structure: 3x on eligible Delta purchases (up from 2x in the past)
Like the Platinum Delta Amex, the newly-named Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card will now earn 3x miles on Delta purchases and is also getting a refreshed card design and metal form. Though its annual fee is climbing to $550 (see rates and fees), there are also a host of new benefits offered on the revamped card:
- Additional 15,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $90,000 in a calendar year, and another 15,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $120,000 in a calendar year (on top of the existing 15k MQM-earning opportunities at $30,000 and $60,000 in calendar year spending)
- Two, one-time guest passes for the Delta Sky Club (to complement the existing individual Sky Club membership)
- Complimentary access to American Express Centurion Lounges when flying Delta with a ticket purchased on the card (up to two guests may also enter for a fee of $50 each)
- Complimentary upgrades for non-Medallion members
- A Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (every 4 years for Global Entry, every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck) (up to $100)
- Terms Apply
Like the Platinum, cardholders will no longer earn redeemable miles for meeting certain spending thresholds as part of the Miles Boost. Additionally, Sky Priority security access is being eliminated.
The limited-time bonus offer is similar to the Platinum Delta, with a very important addition. As part of the initial bonus earned when you spend $5,000 in the first three months, you’ll also get 20,000 MQMs to help you hit elite status. Combined with the new MQM earning thresholds and the MQD waiver you receive after spending $25,000 in a year, you could hit Platinum Medallion status with Delta by spending $120,000 on the card in 2020 — without taking a single Delta flight.
APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
Annual fee: $0
Limited-time welcome bonus: 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months. (Offer expires 4/1/2020.)
New earning structure: 2x on eligible Delta purchases and restaurants worldwide
Delta’s no-annual-fee cobranded Amex, now called the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card, is the only revamped card to offer new benefits without sacrificing any existing perks or raising the annual fee. Cardholders will now be able to earn 2x on restaurants worldwide (previously only at U.S. restaurants) on top of 2x on Delta purchases. The card is also notably eliminating foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees) and giving cardholders access to Pay with Miles, which can help you offset part of the cost of a flight with your miles. And when you take a flight, you’ll continue to enjoy 20% savings on Delta in-flight purchases.
The Blue Delta Amex will be offering a limited-time welcome bonus of 15,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months — worth $180 according to TPG’s valuations.
This isn’t the flashiest of the Delta credit cards, even with the added benefits. However, it remains a strong option for beginners who are simply looking for a way to supplement their Delta SkyMiles earnings with a no-annual-fee cobranded card .
APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card
Delta business cards
Delta’s Amex business cards are also all getting a makeover with new names, new card art, new perks and their own limited-time welcome bonuses. Most of the changes mirror the personal cards, but with enhanced bonus categories more suited to small business owners — which a spokesperson from American Express told TPG was a major priority in this refresh.
Annual fee: $99 (waived the first year)
Limited-time bonus offer: Up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months, plus earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. (Offer expires 4/1/2020.)
New earning structure: 2x on Delta purchases, restaurants, U.S. shipping and U.S. advertising in select media
Like the personal version, this card is expanding bonus categories beyond Delta flights and adding a $100 Delta flight credit after $10,000 in spending each year. Discounted Sky Club access and the MQD waiver will also be eliminated. The addition of three new bonus categories is good news for those who want to put more than just travel purchases on the card. However, the removal of discounted Sky Club access and the MQD waiver is still a hit for those who would have otherwise used the perks. If you’re hoping to have a card to help you hit elite status, you’ll have to look elsewhere — though many small business owners will likely appreciate the higher earning rate on shipping and advertising purchases within the U.S.
Annual fee: $250
Limited-time bonus offer: Up to 100,000 bonus miles. Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months, plus earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. (Offer expires 4/1/2020.)
New earning structure: 3x on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 1.5x on single eligible over $5,000 (up to 50k miles per year), 1x on all other eligible purchases
Business owners who regularly make larger purchases will enjoy the new ability to earn 1.5x on all purchases over $5,000 — a perk similar to The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. Like the personal Platinum Delta Amex, the business version is adding a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit, but it’s also raising Sky Club access to $39 and eliminating the bonus miles you get through Miles Boost (the bonus MQMs aren’t changing). This all comes with an increased annual fee of $250.
For frequent Delta flyers, the additional mile earned on all Delta purchases is a positive, while the new bonus categories will be great for big spenders and those who regularly travel overnight. However, you’ll want to carefully evaluate your spending habits to ensure that these extra miles will offset the loss of redeemable miles through Miles Boost.
Annual fee: $550
Limited-time bonus offer: Up to 100,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs). Earn 80,000 bonus miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months, plus earn an additional 20,000 bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. (Offer expires 4/1/2020.)
New earning structure: 3x on Delta purchases, 1.5x on all purchases after spending $150k in a year
Like the personal version, the Delta Reserve Business Amex is the card undergoing the largest changes. You’ll now get 3x miles on all Delta purchases plus 1.5x miles on all purchases after spending $150k in a year. The card is adding two Sky Club guest passes (in addition to your individual Sky Club membership that comes with the card) along with two additional opportunities to earn 15,000 MQMs through spending at $90k and $120k (on top of the existing 15k MQM-earning opportunities at $30,000 and $60,000 in calendar year spending). Cardholders can access Centurion Lounges when purchasing a Delta ticket using the card, and they’ll also enjoy complimentary upgrades for non-Medallions.
Of course, there are tradeoffs. The card’s annual fee is increasing to $550, you’ll no longer earn bonus redeemable miles at the Miles Boost thresholds and you no longer get Sky Priority security access. For business owners who are loyal Delta flyers, though, these changes are likely a positive — especially for big spenders who can accelerate their ability to earn Medallion status.
What do Delta and American Express have to say?
We had a chance to speak with leaders from both Delta and American Express, who expressed their excitement about these changes and called them the culmination of significant research with customers.
According to Amex, one of the most common requests from customers was to increase earning potential across products to allow them to earn miles more quickly. We see that call answered in the expanded bonus categories across all cards, most notably the raised 3x earning on Delta purchases with the Platinum and Reserve cards. The new bonus categories added to the Gold and Platinum Delta personal cards make them more attractive for daily use rather than just for Delta spending, and business-specific categories across the business versions of the cards help differentiate these products from their consumer counterparts.
Earning is just one part of the equation, as both Delta and Amex reiterated the goal of smoothing the entire travel process.
Related: Guide to Delta elite status
“We are always incredibly focused on the travel journey, and we really wanted to lean into what can we do to make that end-to-end trip experience even smoother,” said Eva Reda, Executive Vice President of Global Consumer Partnerships at American Express.
This is reflective of a broader trend in the travel industry: new (or expanded) partnerships to that help consumers enjoy a better, overall experience when they hit the road. For Delta, the long-standing partnership with American Express is one of many areas of focus as the airline continues to look at enhancing the customer’s journey, and not only on its planes.
“It goes beyond just air travel,” said Sandeep Dube, Senior Vice President of Customer Engagement and Loyalty for Delta Airlines and CEO of Delta Vacations. “At the end of the day, we know we are a trusted consumer brand. Our customers expect us to take care of them not only on [Delta flights] but beyond what we directly manage. You’re going to see more and more efforts from us where we partner with other entities to deliver an exceptional customer experience across the entire journey.”
Amex and Delta are both excited and hopeful about the ways the revamped cards can elevate the travel experience for customers. Of course, it’s ultimately up to you as consumers to determine whether to add these cards to (or keep them in) your wallets. And while there are clearly some drawbacks to these changes, many travelers may wind up ahead with the new suite of perks.
Th Bottom Line
These updates to Delta’s cobranded Amex cards have been in the works for months now, but it’s exciting to see some lucrative, limited-time welcome bonuses accompany this long-awaited launch. Offers of up to 100,000 bonus miles are a big, exciting deal. While not all of the Delta card changes are positive (and no one likes paying higher annual fees), there is a lot to like about the additional earning opportunities and benefits being added across cards. And I have to say, the new card art is great.
While most of these limited-time offers are tiered, there is no secondary spending requirement. If you’re willing to hold onto the card for at least one year, you’ll earn the second haul of bonus miles after your first anniversary of card membership. The new offers are only valid through Apr. 1, 2020, so for anyone who’s been on the fence about when to apply, you don’t want to miss these opportunities to earn up to 100,000 miles.
Remember that these new benefits kick in today for new and existing cardholders, but if you currently have one of these cards in your wallet, the higher annual fee won’t hit until your renewal. If you (like me) are obsessed with the new card designs, Amex did confirm that existing cardholders could request a new card with the updated design and (if applicable) metal form factor.
Unfortunately, given the once-per-lifetime welcome bonus restriction from American Express, you can’t earn a welcome bonus on one of the above cards if you currently have (or previously had) the older version. However, if, for example, you currently have the Gold Delta Amex and have never held the Platinum Delta Amex, you shouldn’t have any problem applying for and earning the welcome bonus on the Platinum version.
While Delta SkyMiles have long been considered the least valuable currency among the three legacy U.S. airlines, that’s starting to change. Delta’s increasingly frequent flash award sales have opened up some stellar deals over the last year, and many TPGers actually prefer Delta over any other U.S. carrier. If you want to pad your SkyMiles balance to take advantage of the next award sale, or earn perks like priority boarding and free checked bags to make your Delta travels more comfortable, a SkyMiles credit card is a great way to do so.
Make sure you apply for these cards before April 1, 2020 if you want to take advantage of these welcome bonuses before they disappear.