Big Changes Coming To Delta Amex Cards In 2020

Filed Under: American Express, Delta

American Express and Delta have a massive co-brand agreement that’s worth billions of dollars per year to Delta. What makes these cards so rewarding is the perks they offer when flying Delta, and also the ability to earn Delta status through spending on the cards.

Well, it has just been announced that big changes will be coming to Delta American Express cards as of January 30, 2020. So, what’s changing with each of these cards?

Here’s a graphic with some of the changes, and then I’ll get into more details below:

Blue Delta SkyMiles Amex Changes

Let’s start off with some good news. The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express will be undergoing entirely positive changes, as follows:

  • The card will earn 2x SkyMiles at restaurants worldwide (currently it earns 2x SkyMiles at restaurants in the U.S. only)
  • The card will have no foreign transaction fees
  • The card will give you access to Delta’s Pay With Miles feature

My Take On Blue Delta SkyMiles Amex Changes

These changes to Delta’s no annual fee card are entirely positive, so that’s good news.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex Changes

The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card (review) will be undergoing quite a few changes as of January 30, 2020, which are both positive and negative (though I’d argue they’re a net negative).

The positive changes to the Gold Card include:

  • The card will earn 2x SkyMiles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (currently it earns 1x miles)
  • The card will offer a $100 Delta flight credit after $10,000 of spending in a calendar year

The negative changes to the Gold Card include:

  • The card will no longer offer a Medallion Qualifying Dollar (MQD) waiver starting in 2020 (currently spending $25,000 on the card gets you an MQD waiver)
  • The card will no longer offer discounted access to Delta SkyClubs (currently the card offers $29 per person SkyClub access)
  • As of January 30, 2020, the card’s annual fee will be increased to $99 from $95

My Take On Gold Delta Amex Changes

I consider the changes on this card to be the most negative. The card will no longer offer an MQD waiver, so now there are almost no circumstances under which it makes sense to spend money on this card.

2x SkyMiles on U.S. supermarket purchases isn’t that compelling, and it’s not worth spending $10,000 on the card to earn a $100 Delta credit.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles Amex Changes

The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card (review) will be undergoing quite a few changes as of January 30, 2020. While there are positive and negative elements to the changes, I’d argue they’re mostly negative).

The positive changes to the Platinum Card include:

  • The card will earn 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases and hotels (currently the card offers 2x miles on Delta and 1x miles on hotels), and 2x miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (currently it offers 1x miles in those categories)
  • The card will offer a TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years

The negative changes to the Platinum Card include:

  • The card will continue to offer 10,000 bonus MQMs when you spend $25,000 and an additional 10,000 bonus MQMs when you spend $50,000 (as it does now), but it will no longer offer 10,000 bonus redeemable miles at each of these thresholds
  • The cost for discounted Delta SkyClub access will be increased from $29 to $39 per person per visit
  • As of January 30, 2020, the card’s annual fee will be increased to $250 from $195

My Take On Platinum Delta Amex Changes

Again, I consider these changes to be largely negative. The annual fee is increasing significantly, the cost of SkyClub access is being increased, and if you’re someone who spent money on this card to earn bonus MQMs, you’ll no longer earn bonus redeemable miles.

The TSA Pre-Check credit sounds nice, though so many cards offer it nowadays. The increased mileage earning rates for certain purchases are nice, though far from industry-leading.

Delta Reserve Amex Changes

The Delta Reserve® Credit Card (review) will be undergoing quite a few changes as of January 30, 2020. While they’re a mixed bag, I actually think these could be positive.

The positive changes to the Reserve Card include:

  • The card will earn 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases (currently it offers 2x miles)
  • You’ll earn 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $90,000 and $120,000 in a calendar year (this is in addition to the current thresholds of $30,000 and $60,000, meaning you can earn up to 60,000 MQMs per year at a total of four different thresholds)
  • You’ll receive two complimentary Delta SkyClub passes annually (in addition to the membership offered with the card)
  • The card will offer complimentary Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta same day, though guests will cost $50 each
  • The card will offer a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years
  • The card will offer complimentary upgrades for non-elite members, though with very low priority

The negative changes to the Reserve Card include:

  • The card will offer the increased potential to earn MQMs, but you won’t earn bonus redeemable miles when passing $30,000 or $60,000 of spending (previously you’d earn 15,000 bonus MQMs and 15,000 bonus redeemable miles at each threshold)
  • SkyPriority security access is being cut
  • As of January 30, 2020, the card’s annual fee will be increased to $550 from $450

My Take On Delta Reserve Amex Changes

As someone who is considering spending my way to status with Delta, I’m actually sort of digging the changes to this card, I think? Spending $120,000 on this card in a year would earn you 60,000 MQMs, which is more than enough for Gold status. With these changes, this is the most MQMs you have ever been able to earn with one Delta card.

The other benefits, like Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta, are cool as well.

This card makes it easier to earn Delta status, and I’m a fan of that.

What About Delta Amex Business Cards?

The above changes refer to personal cards, though business cards will largely have the same changes. However, business cards will get some extra perks as well:

  • The Delta Gold Business Card will earn 2x miles at restaurants and on U.S. shipping and U.S. advertising; it won’t offer 2x miles at U.S. supermarkets, unlike the personal card
  • The Delta Platinum Business Card will earn 3x miles on Delta purchases and at hotels, and 1.5x miles on purchases over $5,000 (up to 50,000 bonus miles annually); it won’t offer 2x miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets
  • The Delta Reserve Card will offer 3x miles on Delta purchases, and 1.5x miles on all purchases after spending $150,000 annually

New Limited Time Bonuses Coming In October

Delta and American Express are offering limited-time welcome bonuses on these cards following the announcement of these changes. The increased bonuses are valid through October 30, 2019, and the sign-up offers are as follows:

  • The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card is offering 60,000 bonus miles after spending $2,000 within three months, plus a $50 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within the first three months
  • The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card is offering 75,000 bonus miles plus 5,000 MQMs after spending $3,000 within three months, plus a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase within the first three months
  • The Delta Reserve® Credit Card is offering 75,000 bonus miles plus 5,000 MQMs after spending $5,000 within three months

Bottom Line

Amex has been overhauling a large portion of their card portfolio, so it’s interesting to see Delta cards refreshed. Obviously everyone will feel differently about these changes.

Personally I think the changes to the Gold and Platinum products are negative, I like the changes to the Reserve, and the changes to the Blue are unarguably positive.

What do you make of these Delta Amex changes, and how will they impact your use of the cards?

Comments
  1. @ Ben — The 1.5x miles on purchases on the Reserve business card begins AFTER $150,000 spend and not “up to 150,000.” Combined with the lost 15,000 miles per “boost,” this is a HUGE devaluation.

  2. Do any of them give you any travel insurance/protection?

    Why would you care about Centurion lounge access if you have an Amex Platinum? And I think the Amex charges less for guests.

    Personally I don’t have any Delta related cards.

  3. I hold the Platinum, Reserve and held the Gold in the past. Here are my comments

    1) Delta SkyClubs are generally extremely crowded, and the $29 day passes with the Gold and Platinum cards are extremely popular. Removing access for Gold and increasing the fee to $39 for Platinum seems to be a way to address this or monetize it further

    2) I have a different take on the Delta Gold card. The Delta Gold changes seem positive for casual Delta flyers that make the Gold the center of their spending and don’t have many other cards – there are a lot of those users, for better of for worse. Those users will be earning more Skymiles, so it is probably positive for them. Serious Delta fliers (those that were spending to get the MQM bonus) probably held a Platinum card or above.

    3) The Platinum changes are kind of redundant for those that already have an Amex Gold – earning 2x Delta miles on restaurants and groceries isn’t that compelling compared to 4x earning on Amex Gold. It does remain a decent card to give to an AU (which I do)

    4) The Delta Reserve card now becomes a Platinum competitor. Why? I have visited the Centurion Lounge once all year, while using SkyClubs about 20 times. Having Centurion access as a backup to to the Reserve is huge. Also with the fee going up to $550, it is increasingly hard to justify paying for both the Reserve and Platinum.

    I think these are, for the most part, positive changes IF you make these cards the center of your strategy. What’s interesting with Amex is that by increasing fees so much, they are making customers choose whether to focus on the Membership Rewards cards or the various cobrand cards. It doesn’t really make sense anymore to hold Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, Delta Platinum, Hilton Aspire, Bonvoy Brilliant, etc. I’m gonna have to cut some of these cards.

  4. If it wasn’t clear, in Point 4, I am comparing the “Delta Reserve” with the “Amex Platinum,” not the Delta Platinum.

    With these fee increases, across my 7 Amex personal cards, I would be paying $2,240 in annual fees. Time to trim…

  5. Amex is struggling with Centurion crowding problems and they are now allowing -more- access? That seems counterintuitive to me.

  6. What about the companion certificates? I don’t see those mentioned anywhere. Are they no no longer a benefit of the Platinum and Reserve cards?

  7. I hold the Delta Platinum Amex and this is definitely a negative for me. For most people on here, I assume they hold airline cards for perks only. A companion pass for $195 a year is what made me get the Delta Platinum, not to spend money on the card. Now the card is increasing $55 and there is nothing I get in return. Is the card still worth it for a companion pass for $250? Maybe, but I will tell Amex I am not happy about this.

  8. Not sure why you are claiming that reserve card changes are positive. Spending $90k to get 15k MQM? That is about as crazy as Delta wants me to spend $250k to get Diamond. I get diamond since diamond exists but the $250K spending with Amex is laughable.
    Spending $550 to get into centurion? I’m sorry but I’m fine with Delta Sky club. Food quality is hugely increased. Can get ticket changes easily. Can sit and work or watch TV, get my espresso.
    Delta 3x? Most of us Business travelers fly delta, pay for it with amex, but ticketed by Travel agent canceling the 3x bonus. I have to remove this card from wallet. Can’t seem to validate the $550 cost.

  9. @Michael – In the same boat. I’m thinking of just canceling it. Is it worth 250? Maybe? But I would rather that space goes to a card I can get real value out of (Amex xday preferred) by putting spend on the card and paying less doing so. Would rather earn Amex points anyways. I’m beginning to justice less and less whether a card is worth it just because I squeak by and recoup the annual fee.

  10. @ Endre — Those MQMs are incremental. You earn 15K MQMs for spending $30K, a total of 30K MQMs for spending a total of $60K, a total of 45K MQMs for spending a total of $90K, and a total of 60K MQMs for spending a total of $120. Make more sense?

  11. Amex has largely played in AA/united space with their centurion lounges. And that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is to raise the annual fee and throw centurion lounge access on to a card which largely doesn’t need it. Where is a delta flyer going to use a centurion lounge unless they do business in an AA/united hub or travel internationally.

    It’s lipstick on a pig. Maybe they reached out to get advice from Doug “just one more drink” Parker.

    At least Ben is largely calling it as such.

  12. Mitch – the companion passes remain intact. The Delta Platinum remains free if you use the companion pass. For those that need the MQM from either the Delta Platinum or Delta Reserve, the Miles Boost is a loss, but you may make it up with bonus categories – but then you have to factor in the opportunity cost of not spending on a CSR/Gold/Prestige/whatever.

    Endre – 90K of Reserve spending would get you 45,000 MQM, not 15,000 MQM

    Lucky – One thing to remember is that it may not be wise to spend $120,000 on a credit card just to get gold status. Why? Because it may just make more sense to buy upgrades or whatever else you need – Delta makes that easier than any other airline

  13. Yes Ben which is why, as an AA flyer I carry the Amex platinum and not the reserve. Because at pretty much any hub I fly to there’s a centurion lounge and if it’s a cluster f I go to the admirals club.

    On the off chance I’m flying delta. Use their SkyClubs.

    Why would a delta captive flyer need centurion lounge access. Where they goona go? I get that Amex is expanding but aren’t even those locations not going to be in delta convienent spot?

    And has already been mentioned, centurion lounges are already wayyyy overcrowded (as are many SkyClubs).

    The alcohol area in the DTW skyclub near the low A gates is like having to dodge rabid dogs who haven’t eaten in weeks.

  14. Shawn – LAS is a good example of a Centurion Lounge in an airport where there is no Delta SkyClub. Also, JFK Terminal 4 is mainly a Delta terminal domestically and will have a Centurion Lounge and a SkyClub. I could also see using Denver’s Centurion Lounge as a Delta Flier…

  15. I thought the same thing as @GuruJanitor. There is major crowding at Centurion lounges and AMEX has cut a lot of ways to get it in and here they are ADDING a method for members to use it. Yes, it’s only limited to those flying Delta same day, but if you’re not in a DL hub where there’s a SkyClub, this will draw members in.

  16. Ben – I just opened the Delta Platinum earlier this year and received the 75k skymiles welcome bonus. Any word from Amex on what happens to those points if someone cancels the card following this announcement? The terms say they have the right to pull those back. Will they?Thanks.

  17. @ Zach — Generally speaking they don’t take them back as long as you don’t dispute the annual fee, or something. You can just cancel before the next year’s annual fee is due if you’re unhappy, and that should be fine.

  18. Reference the Reserve, you wrote “The card will offer complimentary Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta same day”

    So, only if I’m flying Delta do I get Centurion Lounge access?

  19. This increases the net cost to me of having Amex Delta Reserve by about ~$460. And ZERO of the additional benefits help me. I’m afraid this moves me into cancel mode. As a Diamond w/ Amex Plat and Amex Delta Reserve, I can’t be alone in thinking THIS SUCKS.

    –3x on Delta purchases: useless bc I get 5x from Amex Plat
    –15,000 bonus MQMs @ $90k & $120k: useless bc I limit my spending to $60k of non-bonused spending per year to limit my accumulation of Delta Pesos
    –Two SkyClub passes: useless bc with Diamond status, Amex Plat I already choose guest benefit
    –Centurion access: useless bc I have this w/ Amex Plat
    –Global Entry: useless bc I have this w/ many cards
    –Upgrades for non-elites: useless bc I’m Diamond
    –Removal of bonus redeemable miles at thresholds: This stings as I lose 30k miles per year worth about $360
    –Annual fee up by $100: this stings

  20. For the most part, the Gold and Platinum card updates appear to just be geared to those who use these as their primary card. I think it would be interesting to see breakdown of points earn with new categories minus the RDM bonuses. IMO, the updates are not really compelling to those with any sort of strategy to maximize points off spend. I guess you could argue the same target for the Reserve with the addition of the higher tiers, but it’s kind of annoying the same bonus categories don’t exist. Centurion is nice if you are actually in an airport where a lounge exists near a Delta terminal, but I do worry about the crowding situation in an already overcrowded scenario.

    I live in Seattle and have been splitting time between Alaska and Delta depending on routing options. I’ll stick with my Amex Platinum + Amex Gold combo as I feel it nets me a lot more than any of the new updates. I have the Delta Platinum and have mostly kept for my companion pass. I’m still up in the air as to whether I’ll hold onto it with the increased fee.

  21. @Anthony – Good catch on LAS. In that example though there’s no clubs outside of PP. I couldn’t remember the newer ones exact terminals. I’m sure there are some DEN delta passengers but would think it would be mainly UA and some AA. And even if their were, they couldnt use it as a terminal location upon landing and could only use on departure.

  22. As a reserve card holder, I find these positive for several reasons
    1. I dont hold the Platinum card and couldn’t justify the annual fee for both. The addition of Centurion access is the main reason I would want it so problem solved
    2. I mainly spend on the Delta card for additional MQM’s, the ability to earn more is nice. I wouldn’t use this to spend my way to status but it helps me achieve higher status with my normal flying (50-60k miles a year) the skymiles bonus elimination is negative but the mian purpose of the spending on the card is MQM’s
    3. 2 sky club passes are nice. My wife travels with me 2-3 times per year so this is worth $100.
    4 Companion pass staying is a bonus as well.

  23. I wish there was a way I can edit but what I meant was my Amex Delta Reserve card at $550 per year! I flew 1st class or business class with Delta this year on 4 round trips. I might have a few more before the year ends. Is it worth it to keep a Amex Delta Reserve card for $550 per year to use their Skylounges every time?

    I was thinking Centurion lounge access and typed that by accident.

  24. I had the Delta reserve for ten years and finally cancelled it this year. Boy, AMEX really tried to retain me as a customer as they routed me to a “specialist” to discuss cancelling. Fairly aggressive individual who kept reminding of the great benefits I was receiving with the card. I explained that most of the features on my reserve where available on my AMEX Plat card – and how disappointed I was in the Delta Skymiles program. It sounded like it was a discussion he already had with other customers. I finally explained it wasn’t AMEX’s issue, but Delta’s issue.

    I think the delta reserve makes sense if 1) you want to spend to delta status. 2) you can use the BOGO F ticket with delta. There is real value in those two benefits. I do fly with them a few times a year on discounted F tickets, but got tired of the SkyMile devaluations and their games with upgrade certs.

    I have no doubt these changes are to try and entice new customers to replace those getting disinterested in the Skymiles program.

  25. I actually flipped when I read:
    “You’ll earn 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $90,000 and $120,000 in a calendar year (currently the thresholds are just $30,000 and $60,000)”

    This is not the best choice of wording. I thought I would have to spend $90,000 to get my 15,000 MQMs (which I am not going to do!). I mostly use the card to supplement my MQMs in years when I don’t fly a lot. In fact I will still get 15,000 MQMs with $30,000 of spending. Not ideal compared to what I had but much better than you make it appear.

    https://skymilescreditcards.delta.com/terms/reserve.html#benefit-terms

    “If in any calendar year eligible purchases on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card are $30,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (“MQMs” as defined in the Delta SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules). If in that same calendar year eligible purchases on the Card are $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded an additional 15,000 MQMs for each threshold.”

  26. I got the Delta Gold for two reasons, initial bonus (75,000) and free checked bags. I keep it only because I can offset the AF through Amex offers. I’ve already earned $75 back with at least $35-40 in the hopper. That makes the annual cost essentially $0.

  27. The fine print on the Centurion Club access says that you have to purchase the ticket using the DL AmEX Reserve card. Kind of a bummer for those that would rather purchase using a card that offers more than 3miles/$. This requires you to think ahead about club locations when choosing which CC to use to purchase the flight.

  28. I am a Platinum card holder and I must say this is all completely negative. I feel like I am losing a ton of value. This is really disappointing and a slap in the face to loyal customers.

  29. I have the Platinum Delta Amex and still think the card is worth keeping for the companion cert. Have always redeemed for at least $250. I’m from Atlanta and typically hit Platinum/Diamond MQM targets and originally got the Platinum Delta Amex for the companion cert and insurance for hitting the MQD target. Going to see how the MQD spend goes this year to see if it’s still worth charging purchases to the Platinum Delta Amex. With the devaluation for international business class, I was already moving spend away from the Platinum Delta Amex and onto the Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Preferred/Freedom/Freedom Unlimited combo and think this may push me further in that direction.

  30. I’m a Platinum Delta Amex holder. The only real negatives for me personally are the fee increase (still typically outweighed by the value I derive from the companion pass) and losing the 10K bonus miles at $25/$50K.

    But I’m pleased to still get the 10K MQMs at $25/$50K (those are usually the key to me earning silver or gold status), and the higher multipliers on airfare/hotel/restaurant spending will go some way toward offsetting the loss of the bonus miles.

  31. I’m impressed. Given Delta redemption rates, I didn’t think these cards could be worth much less. Yet now they are.

  32. Unitl recently, I’ve been AMEX customer for at least 15 years, but early this year, I decided to cancel all their cards: as somebody mentioned, Amex is a greedy deceitful company which makes every effort to rob their customers the hard-earned rewards.

    I my case, early this year, because of TWO customer service errors, I lost 50,000 reward points. To complain, I even went to the AMEX Executive Office–which turned our to be a bunch of useless bureaucrats who admitted that customer service was giving erroneous and misleading information–still refused to rectify the errors and re-instate my reward points.

    After that, I was so frustrated that I canceled all my AMEX cards and swore that I will never become their customer again. (I am really not interested in accumulating Delta rewards even though I live in Atlanta, and Delta has a monopoly here on travel to Europe, which these days, I almost exclusively do–American, United, and their partners for most part meet my needs).

    Anyone who had a bad experience with AMEX is welcome to check the website called consumeraffairs.com, which is full of people who also had terrible experience with AMEX.

    So I’m not surprised with Ben’s overall negative assessment of their recent changes: this is hardly, surprising given the fact how bad AMEX has become: actually, it used to be a pretty decent, customer oriented credit card company.

  33. @Jimmy Gottfredson
    Did they cancel your amex after the hard sell trying to retain you? I called them a months ago trying to cancel my Hiton Amex and got the same hard sell bs, and now after many months, the account is still not cancelled. I just realized this and I have to go through the same bs again.

  34. @Lucky Do the complimentary upgrades with the reserve include upgrades to comfort plus? Those would be very valuable for the non-status holding Delta flier as I assume there is usually some space available there at check-in similar to being a silver member.

  35. Huge devaluation. Only good now for people who want to waste their spend on buying high status. Amazing that every single blogger is pitching this as positive. Guess we know where their loyalty lies.

  36. Lucky,
    More and more I feel like your site is an ingroup/outgroup discussion among people who essentially travel for a living, as you do.
    Your observations are often good, sometimes even useful, but c’mon, I am tired, tired, tired of “aspirational” (what a loathsome concept and term) stays in super luxury hotels that have invaded the planet.
    For many (most?) of us flying has become arduous, unpleasant and, heaven knows, not “aspirational.” Most of the so-called “benefits” on cards require legal assistance to understand. Once understood, it is another struggle to get airline or hotel employees to comply with the benefits. Some of those employees are utterly delightful, some not, but most are just as much in a cloud about the “benefits” as the bewildered client.
    I know that more and more people play the mile game, if you will, and so be it.
    But is there some way you can further widen your service beyond Wowee-oh-wow-wow hotels in the Maldives and $150,000 a year spends on credit cards?
    Holy cow, I am trying hard to NOT spend, NOT despoil, not rack up more, more, more. At the same time I would like to see, enjoy, and survive flying even when there is no longer anyone else is paying any tabs.
    My aspiration is to not be in a middle seat in row 32.

  37. Personal Reserve losing Miles Boost is a deal breaker for me. That actually made the card worth spending on at roughly 1.5x redeemable points per $1 spent. This new version isn’t worth spending on.

    Hope this is a test release to gauge reaction. If I’m going to be jobbed, I’ll let AA do it.

  38. @Ben Does this mean the mentioned trip delay insurance for the delta reserve starting in 2020 is no longer valid?

  39. I currently have Delta Amex Gold and have been thinking of getting the Delta Amex Platinum.
    Not sure what’s happening with the companion pass with Delta platinum card. I think it’s still there but happens only when you renew (as stated on their current website :
    “An annual Companion Certificate means you can get a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.‡*”.

    So I am thinking of getting this Platinum card during the limited offer (75k miles+5k MQM) for $195 annual fees (net fees $95, since you can get $100 for doing a delta purchase within first 3 months) and then renew it just once next year at $250, I will get the companion pass (assuming that benefit still present). Any decent domestic roundtrip ticket is at minimum @200 bucks so overall the net will still be not that much.

    What do you guys think??

  40. I wished they had removed the fare class restrictions on the platinum companion pass. Would have made this feature more “useable”.

    Losing the 10k bonus per tier with the platinum is pretty much a wash with the higher point earning rates.

    Could be worth a burn and churn if they have good promotions. Do we know if having the prior platinum card will still eliminate promotions on this updated product?

  41. @Endre After a 7 minute discussion the csr reluctantly closed my account. Logging on I confirmed it immediately. Our household are pretty good AMEX customers with other products so I’m guessing that helped. Also, used last very last BOGO the day before. I’ve always found AMEX to have great service, so this was IMO a little out of character.

  42. I hope people vote with their feet and kick their Delta cards to the curb, or at the very least stop putting any spend on these cards. It’s the only way the bean counters will get the idea.

    /Sadly, Delta still offers the best experience out of the US3. Far cry from the ME3.

  43. I don’t understand why they dropped the SkyPriority Security on the Reserve Card. This doesn’t strike me as something that costed them much if anything. Sometimes I preferred to use this over TSA PreCheck because the lines are actually shorter at certain airports at certain times. LAX T3 on early Monday mornings comes to mind.

    I fly Delta roughly 100-130k MQM worth per year. I’m never near a Centurion Lounge. I’ve never been in one. I frequent DTW, LAX, ICN, AMS, CDG. I would have to start flying Delta competitors to come close to a Centurion Lounge. I once considered checking one out at SFO, but it wasn’t worth the time. I was already get work done at the SkyClub near my gate.

    I don’t know if this card is worth $550. It had a great signup bonus. I thought I might keep it for the upgrade priority and companion ticket, but those seem tough. Upgrade priority is still moot even if you hold platinum or diamond status.

  44. I’ve had the platinum delta Amex for a few years and also have the Amex Platinum card.

    Since being platinum on delta long time ago (when platinum was the highest tier), I’ve been flying less but am getting back into it with a new job. The new mileage rules mean I will probably end up at Gold or Platinum (if I get a couple of international J class trips in) this year.

    I had been thinking of getting the Delta Reserve for the mileage and MQD bonuses do make Diamond but these $90k and $120k tiers are simply asinine. I will never pay $550 for a card that provides fewer benfits than my Chase Sapphire reserve and Amex platinum cards let alone put all my annual spend on it!

    In a way, this frees me up to explore other options for my international travel. Delta partnerships and rewards are far less generous than Star Alliance and One World so I will be looking decent alternatives. I may actually drop all the Delta cards and resign myself to lower status going forward.

    What do people recommend for someone looking for good mileage returns for travel to Western Europe and South Asia?

  45. Ugh, I hate that they’re getting rid of the MQD waiver for the Gold Card. That helped me secure Gold status for later this year (have the waiver, just a mile short of Gold ATM), but since I usually don’t buy enough to hit $6,000 MQDs, it’s going to be a pain to retain the status. Don’t see much point in removing that benefit, but I’m sure Delta wants the money directly rather than it going through Amex.

  46. Complete garbage. Welcome to the new rat race of travel. Considering just downgrading completely to the Delta Blue card, and moving 99% of my purchases to an Amx Platinum or other card.

  47. I have Platinum Alex and I view changes as overall positive. I am not a huge spender compared to others, but I easily rack up $7000 on hotels, $10000 on Delta tickets and $6000 on restaurants with mix of business and personal use. With new multipliers it will be additional 30K miles per year, 10K more than current 2* 10K lost bonuses. Overall I am gaining 10K miles for $55 annual fee increase, which is about 0.5 cents per mile.

  48. Lucky, on the Delta Platinum card, will we still receive bonus skymiles on flight segments? I’m getting a 60% bonus now at Gold Medallion tier. Is that going away? I received an email this morning from Delta saying “you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit, now called Status Boost”, under heading Miles Boost. It’s not clear if this refers to just the Amex $25K threshold, or also bonus miles earned on flight segments.

  49. I currently have a Delta Gold AMX. I have been an American Express customer since 1984. I had the original Green card for 20 years. I find these changes to be a total negative for me. Retired now & travel maybe 5 times a year for fun. Except, travel’s not fun anymore. The $29 pass was the hook that made me upgrade, I travel alone a lot, & it’s a lovely way to take the travel hell down to a dull roar. Still, that’s not enough for me to justify the cost of a Sky Club membership to replace this perk. You could have limited folks to 2 a year, or raised the price, but don’t yank it! Oh, & the big push to upgrade my card right before you dropped this bomb, real classy. Going to cancel, save the yearly fee & go Blue AMX. The points are the only positive for me now.

  50. I agree completely with posters like Cassandra, who question the value of any of these “enhancements”. Delta and AMEX never improve anything; they constantly connive ways to devalue. Any improvement is usually duplicative, or so riddled with fine print and qualifiers you can’t use it. Like the luggage allowance; you probably already get it with your status and/or fare class; it doesn’t apply to international flights, and many codeshare partners don’t honor it – and if you incur a charge on a DL codeshare, AMEX will not credit you for it. The lounges have become an overcrowded joke with coach-caliber snacks, in most cases. I always have some hassle with bringing a guest (profuse apologies after the fact). Locations are not something can count on (see: LAS and LAX). If you get fed up and want to cancel, they threaten to take away any welcome bonus you haven’t used up. And the mileage bonuses are becoming harder and harder to attain, or realize any real, non-duplicative value from. Don’t get me started on worsening redemption rates. I say all this as a Platinum Million-Miler with Platinum cards; I spend a good deal of my travel time fighting with Delta to get what I feel I have been promised, and to avoid being chiseled.

  51. @G E Garrett–wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of both DL and AMEX (you may want to read my previous post that shares my horrible experience with AMEX)

  52. I JUST upgraded to the Platinum card four months ago. Now they’re eliminating the few perks I did enjoy AND increasing the annual fee by $55. WTF!!!!

  53. We were planning on using our AmEx Delta SkyMiles Gold card to achieve Medallion status via MQDs next year, and then fly from Atlanta to Fairbanks in the summer of 2021 for an RCI Alaska cruisetour. I’m not sure what we can do now to earn Medallion status. We haven’t flown since our daughters were born 7 years ago, so we’re not earning Medallion status the old-fashioned way like we did when we flew for business and pleasure. The irony is we’re finally going to spend $25K on the card this year (thanks to the endodontist!) and will have Silver Medallion status in 2020—when we’re not flying anywhere. “What’s the secret of your ….” “Timing!”

  54. I have the Reserve Card and these are not really that great of changes. Sure the extra points on restaurants will be nice but $100 increase to get into Centurion – don’t care – i fly our of Seattle which has one of the best SkyClubs in US). The centurion lounges are so over crowded as is.
    I already have global and entry and TSA pre-check, so this isn’t a bonus for me either. The most upsetting things is this:

    You’ll earn 15,000 bonus MQMs after spending $90,000 and $120,000 in a calendar year (currently the thresholds are just $30,000 and $60,000).

    – I got 30K MQMs this year. I hit the 30k spending on the card late last year, and got the miles in January and just hit the 30K spend on the card for this year. So, i got a total of 30,000 MQMs this year, which is great. In order to get the 15,000 MQMs next year spending 90K is ridiculous. That’s not a plus for anyone. I do enjoy the complimentary club access but not sure if I will continue with this card. My husband has the gold one to have the $29 club access, but the $39 is no longer going to be worth it. There are more negatives in all of these upgrades than positives.

  55. as a follow up due to the addtl 15,000MQMs i just reached the gold level with Delta, which won’t be possible next year as I won’t spend 90k in a calendar year. While i fly a lot not enough to get to gold.

  56. “won’t be possible next year as I won’t spend 90k in a calendar year”
    New thresholds are $30,000, $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000

  57. Am I the only one finding this interesting?

    Annual Fee changes:
    Delta Gold personal is going from $95 to $99
    Delta Platinum personal is going from $ 195 to $ 250
    Delta Reserve personal is going from $ 450 to $ 550

    Amex Green personal is currently at $ 95
    Amex Gold personal went from $ 195 to $ 250 last year
    Amex Platinum personal went from $ 450 to $ 550 two years ago.

    Does this imply Amex Green will have a new annual fee of $ 99?

  58. For me – these changes are about a wash. I use the cards to spend my way to status.

    I have the AMEX Delta Platinum card and the AMEX Business Delta Reserve card. – And put $110,000/year on these cards to earn 50,000 MQMs and bonus of 50,000 miles. Total annual fees for the cards was $195 + $450 = $645. With flying MQMs – this gets me Delta Skymiles Platinum status.

    Next year I will downgrade the Delta Platinum AMEX card to the no fee personal card and sock drawer it. Maybe close it. And then keep the Delta Reserve Business AMEX card. For $120,000 of spend per year – I can maintain the Delta Airlines Platinum status and the annual fees paid will actually go down by $95. But will also lose 50,000 Delta Skymiles – so it ends up losing value in my case. Remains to be seen if spending to Platinum status will be worth it for me – if not – the spend will go to other bank cards.

  59. To follow up, yes, Delta/AMex does make a distinction, Ben might’ve missed it.

    On the Terms & conditions page, they make the distinction:

    Upgrade Priority

    Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Basic Card Members have access to Upgrade Priority within the Delta SkyMiles Complimentary Upgrade Program. Eligible Card Members who are SkyMiles Medallion Members have priority over other passengers within the same Medallion tier and fare class grouping. Upgrade Priority does not apply to the Airport Paid Standby Program, Regional or Global Upgrade Certificates, and Mileage Award Upgrades. To review the rules, including how to adjust upgrade preference settings within your SkyMiles account, please see https://www.delta.com/us/en/skymiles/medallion-program/medallion-upgrades.html.

    Access to Complimentary Upgrades

    Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Basic Card Members who are not SkyMiles Medallion Members are eligible for the Delta SkyMiles Complimentary Upgrade Program. Eligible Card Members will be eligible to receive complimentary upgrades for Delta One® (within the 50 United States), First Class, and Delta Comfort+® after Medallion Members. Basic Economy (E) fares are not eligible for Complimentary Upgrades, regardless of Medallion or other elite status. Complimentary Upgrades are subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or in all markets. Benefit terms and conditions subject to change. All Delta complimentary upgrade rules apply. To review the rules, including instructions on how to adjust upgrade preference settings within your SkyMiles account, please see https://www.delta.com/us/en/skymiles/medallion-program/medallion-upgrades.html.

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