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 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 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
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?