American Express and Delta have had a close relationship for many years, and as part of that they issue seven co-branded Delta Amex cards, including the Blue, Gold, Platinum, and Reserve cards (with the exception of the Blue product, all the others have both a personal and business version).
There’s a lot to know about these cards, especially as big changes were made to all Delta Amex cards in early 2020. As part of this, the cards are also offering limited time increased welcome bonuses, which may interest many.
Delta SkyMiles Blue Amex Card Basics For March 2020
In this post I wanted to take a close look at the Delta Amex card that’s probably talked about least, which is the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card. This is Delta’s newest credit card, and might be tempting to many given that it has no annual fee (Rates & Fees).
Is this the right card for someone who loves to avoid annual fees, or are you missing out on too much value?
Delta Blue Amex 15K Welcome Bonus
Through April 1, 2020, the Blue Delta SkyMiles Amex is offering a welcome bonus of 15,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending $1,000 within three months.
The bonuses on all other Delta Amex cards are significantly higher, which isn’t a surprise, since cards with annual fees often have better bonuses than cards without annual fees.
Redeem your SkyMiles for travel in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class
The welcome bonus on the card is “once in a lifetime,” so it’s not available to you if you currently have the card, or if you’ve had the card in the past.
However, note that you can get each “flavor” of the Delta Amex card, so you are eligible for this card if you’ve had either the business or personal version of the Gold, Platinum, or Reserve.
Delta Blue Amex No Annual Fee
Let me emphasize once again that the Blue Delta Amex has no annual fee. It’s great to see a trend whereby we’re seeing more airline credit cards with no annual fees, since it’s a nice option for someone who wants a co-branded credit card, but doesn’t want to pay an annual fee.
You can also add additional users to the card at no extra cost.
Earning Miles With Blue Delta Amex Card
The Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card offers:
- 2x SkyMiles for purchases directly with Delta, including for flights, Delta SkyClub memberships, seat upgrades, and more
- 2x SkyMiles at restaurants globally
- 1x SkyMiles on all other purchases
You can now earn bonus points on dining purchases with the card
For a no annual fee card it’s nice to see a card offering a bonus on dining. While some bonus categories are better than none, I don’t find the bonuses to be particularly compelling, as there are still better cards out there for airfare purchases and restaurant purchases.
No Foreign Transaction Fees With Delta Blue Amex
There’s no doubt that card issuers are moving towards offering more no annual fee cards with no foreign transaction fees, though it’s still not the standard.
New as of 2020, the Blue Delta Amex no longer has foreign transaction fees, which is awesome, since most Amex no annual fee cards do still have these fees.
Blue Delta Amex Card Benefits & Perks
The Delta Blue Amex is a decent no annual fee card in the sense that it offers 2x miles at restaurants and has no foreign transaction fees, but how are the perks on the card? Not surprisingly, this is an area where the card lags, and where the cards with annual fees offer significantly more value.
Nonetheless there are some perks to the card that may prove valuable to the occasional Delta flyer.
20% Delta Inflight Savings
If you have the Blue Delta Amex then you can save 20% in the form of a statement credit for eligible pre-purchased meals, and in-flight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages, and audio headsets, on Delta flights. Allow 8-12 weeks for the statement credit to post.
Save on inflight purchases with the card
Pay With Miles
Prior to 2020, having the Blue Delta Amex wouldn’t make you eligible for the Pay With Miles feature. That has changed as of 2020, as this card now does make you eligible for that.
What is Delta Pay With Miles? This allows those with co-branded Delta Amex cards to redeem miles for one cent each towards a Delta flight purchase (in increments of 5,000 miles per $50). That’s not the best deal in the world, though this is a feature that’s exclusively available to those with an eligible card.
Some people find this to be useful since they can redeem their miles towards flights, and then they still earn elite miles for taking those flights.
In other words, the 15,000 miles offered as part of the welcome bonus can be redeemed for a minimum of $150 worth of travel on Delta. That’s pretty good for a no annual fee card.
Pay With Points is a feature that many SkyMiles members value
Access To Amex Offers
Amex Offers is a program that offers discounts for purchases with all kinds of retailers. There’s huge value to be had in getting as many Amex cards as possible, so that you can get these offers on multiple cards.
The ideal situation is to have a no annual fee card (like this one), so you can get access to these offers without paying an annual fee to get access to this.
Amex Offers could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can access these offers by logging into your account and scrolling down to the bottom of your account summary page.
You can save a significant amount of money with Amex Offers
Complimentary ShopRunner Membership
For having the Delta Blue Amex you get a ShopRunner membership, which gets you free two-day shipping on eligible items at a network of 100+ online stores. You just have to enroll in your complimentary membership and can then start taking advantage of it.
That’s pretty awesome for a no annual fee card.
Purchase Protection & Extended Warranty
The Delta Blue Amex offers purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, as follows:
- With purchase protection you’re covered for up to 90 days from the date of purchase when you charge your eligible purchased item to your card
- With extended warranty coverage you can get an extra year added to the original manufacturer’s warranty, on warranties of five years or less
In both cases, you’ll want to check your cardmember agreement for all of the terms.
Is The Blue SkyMiles Delta Amex Worth It?
Many people who like Delta as a brand may be tempted to pick up the Delta Blue Amex — it allows you to earn miles with Delta, it has no annual fee, and it offers some perks that could add value (20% off inflight purchases, Amex Offers, etc.).
However, in general I wouldn’t recommend outright applying for this card:
- There’s a lot more value to be had by applying for one of Delta’s cards with an annual fee, even if you want to eventually downgrade to this card
- If you’re looking for a no annual fee card, there are more well rounded options
Let me address both of those points below.
Why You Should Apply For The Delta Gold Amex Instead
- The card has a $99 annual fee, and it’s waived for the first 12 months (Rates & Fees), so for the first year you’ll pay the same with either card
- The card offers a huge welcome bonus of up to 70,000 SkyMiles — earn 60,000 SkyMiles after spending $2,000 within three months, and an additional 10,000 miles after your first anniversary; those 70,000 miles can be redeemed for a minimum of $700 worth of travel on Delta
- The card offers awesome perks like a first checked bag free and priority boarding
You can always get the Gold Delta Amex, and then if you don’t find it to be worth the annual fee, you can downgrade it to the Blue Delta Amex after a year. That would allow you to maintain the card account, and you wouldn’t pay the annual fee when you downgrade (and you’d still get the elevated perks and bigger bonus for the first year).
At a minimum, it really is worth trying the Delta Gold Amex to see if you like it and to take advantage of the better bonus, and then you can downgrade at a later point if you find it’s not worthwhile.
Tip: Earn Amex Points Rather Than Delta Miles
If you are looking to earn Delta SkyMiles through credit card spending then consider using a card earning Amex Membership Rewards points. That’s because these points can be transferred to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 ratio, and you can in many cases earn points at a much faster rate.
- The American Express® Green Card (review) offers 3x points on dining and travel, and up to $200 in annual credits (between CLEAR and LoungeBuddy)
- The American Express® Gold Card (review) offers 4x points at restaurants and at US supermarkets (on up to $25K per year), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines, plus up to $220 in credits annually (between airline fees and dining)
My Favorite No Annual Fee Card
If you’re absolutely committed to having a no annual fee card and want to maximize your return on spending, there are lots of excellent no annual fee cards to consider.
But it gets even better than that. As of late 2019, rewards earned on this card can be converted into ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio, assuming you have the card in conjunction with one earning ThankYou points (like the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige).
That means the card earns two ThankYou points per dollar, and I value those points at 1.7 cents each, so that’s like a 3.4% return on everyday spending.
Delta Amex Blue Card Summary
I appreciate that American Express and Delta offer a no annual fee option with the Delta Blue Amex. For someone absolutely committed to getting a Delta Amex Card and not paying an annual fee, this is the best/only option.
The card has no foreign transaction fees, offers 2x miles on dining, and gives you access to Pay With Miles and 20% discounts on inflight purchases.
However, for most people I think it’s absolutely worth applying for the Delta Gold Amex. The card has a lot more perks and a much better bonus, and you can always downgrade the card to the Delta Blue Amex after at least a year.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card (Rates & Fees), and Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (Rates & Fees).