American Express has just come out with increased sign-up bonuses on their co-branded Delta Gold and Platinum credit cards. The bonus increases to 50k SkyMiles and 70k SkyMiles, respectively. So, are these increased sign-up bonuses worthwhile?
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While I used to be a Delta loyalist and Medallion elite member, I fled the sinking ship that was the Delta SkyMiles program a few years ago when they announced they would be going to a revenue based elite program. Since the big 3 U.S. airlines have all now gone revenue based for their elite programs, the Delta SkyMiles program has, in my opinion, become a bit more worthwhile as Delta’s on-time percentages and product are the best of the big 3 U.S. carriers.
Earlier today, American Express came out with increased sign-up bonuses on their co-branded Delta Gold and Delta Platinum credit cards. These offers are good through November 9, 2016, so you have a little over a month to decide if you want to take advantage of either of these offers.
The Delta Platinum card is offering an increased bonus of 70,000 SkyMiles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. In addition, you will also earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your Platinum card within the first 3 months.
The annual fee for the card is $195 and it is not waived for the first year. For that annual fee of $195, you will receive the following benefits:
A free checked bag on Delta flights along with a free companion ticket each year upon renewal of your card. It is worth noting you will not earn the companion ticket until your second annual fee comes due in a year.
You will also receive a reduced rate for Delta Sky Club access.
The reduced rate for you and up to two companions is $29 per person – a rate which really does not offer very good value in my opinion as it only permits you access to one Sky Club location. That means if you are traveling on a flight with a connection and wanted to use a Sky Club in your home airport, as well as in the connecting airport, you would have to pay $58 ($29 x 2) to do so.
The Delta Platinum card also comes with Zone 1 priority boarding on Delta operated flights.
The biggest benefit of the Platinum card however has to be the MQM bonus. You will earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus SkyMiles after you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year and will earn an additional 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus SkyMiles after you spend $50,000 on the card in a calendar year. That means that with $50,000 spend on the card in a calendar year, you would earn nearly enough MQMs to reach Medallion Silver status without ever stepping foot on an aircraft.
While the bonus MQMs are great for someone who spends a lot of money on their cards and needs some extra MQMs to push past to a higher Delta Medallion elite tier, if you are focused on earning miles and points for redemptions, you are better off placing that spend on other cards that will earn you substantially more value.
It is also worth noting that by holding the Delta Platinum card and making at least $25,000 in purchases on the card in a calendar year, Delta will waive your Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement for earning status.
The Delta Gold card on the other hand is offering an increased sign-up bonus of 50,000 SkyMiles after spending $2,000 on the card in the first 3 months. In addition, you will also earn a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with you Gold card within the first 3 months.
The annual fee is $95, though it is waived for the first year which makes this the better card to apply for if you are simply picking it up for the bonus miles.
The Gold Delta card also offers a few small additional benefits like a free checked bag on Delta operated flights, Zone 1 priority boarding and the same discounted Delta Sky Club access at $29 per person for the card holder and up to 2 additional guests.
The Delta Gold card also waives the MQD requirement for Delta Medallion status when you spend $25,000 on the card in a calendar year.
Both the Delta Gold and Delta Platinum cards will offer 2x points per dollar spent on Delta purchases and 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases, no foreign transaction fees, as well as a 20% discount on in-flight purchases like food and premium beverages.
If you have any difficulty retrieving these higher offers via the links shared above, you may need to delete your cookies and/or use your browsers incognito mode to get them to show. In any case, make sure you are getting the higher offers if you plan to apply for these cards as Amex is hit or miss when it comes to matching bonuses.
If you have no need for the added MQMs to reach status with Delta this year, I think the better deal is hands down the 50k offer on the Gold card as the annual fee is waived for the first year. If you do need the additional MQMs or have a good use for the companion ticket, the Platinum card could potentially make sense – even with the high $195 annual fee. With either card though, you are better off using another card that earns a multiplier for flights to pay for your flights as 2 points per dollar spent on Delta flights is not exactly a stellar deal. Although I will not be taking advantage of either of these offers, it is always nice to see an increased sign-up bonus on cards.
Will any of you be taking advantage of either of these offers?
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