Getting At Least $600 In Value With Delta Amex Bonuses

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Update: These offers for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.

Through September 19, 2018, there are increased welcome bonuses on some of the popular Delta Amex co-branded credit cards. These include the following:

These are among the best offers we’ve ever seen on the cards, and you’re eligible for the bonuses on each of the cards, as they’re all considered separate products.

Personally I value SkyMiles at around 1.2 cents each, based on the ability to redeem for international business class awards. That’s the least I value any of the “big three” mileage currencies.

Many say that SkyMiles are “worthless,” and I think that’s a stretch, and simply not fair. Yes, I absolutely think you can get more value out of American AAdvantage miles and United MileagePlus miles than Delta SkyMiles.

However, the good news is that unlike some other points currencies, SkyMiles have a legitimate “floor” value, thanks to the ability to redeem SkyMiles as cash towards the cost of a Delta ticket.

If you have a Delta co-branded credit card then you can redeem SkyMiles for one cent each towards the cost of a ticket, in increments of 5,000 miles. The Pay With Miles benefit is available exclusively to those with select Delta co-branded credit cards. Even elite members without the credit card don’t have access to this benefit.

This means that if a ticket cost $200, you could choose to pay $150 plus 5,000 miles, $100 plus 10,000 miles, $50 plus 15,000 miles, or just pay 20,000 miles outright. The best part is that for all practical purposes these are still considered “paid” tickets. This means that:

  • You’re eligible for complimentary upgrades on these tickets as an elite member
  • You’re eligible for Medallion Qualifying Miles and Medallion Qualifying Segments for these tickets
  • You earn redeemable miles based only on the portion of the ticket for which you’re paying cash

In other words, the 60,000 bonus miles offered by the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card would give you at least $600 worth of travel on Delta, while the 70,000 bonus miles offered by the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Card give you at least $700 worth of travel on Delta.

Even for someone who doesn’t want to go through the effort of redeeming SkyMiles, this is something that’s very much a worthwhile welcome bonus.

Let me just emphasize again that this isn’t personally how I’d choose to redeem SkyMiles. Even though Delta has significantly increased many award costs over the past few years, I still think you can get significantly more than a penny of value per mile for international business class redemptions.

For example, China Airlines probably has my favorite SkyTeam business class product, and award availability on them is wide open.

For example, here’s availability between New York and Taipei nonstop in business class next April, where every date has availability (they only fly 4x per week):

At 85,000 miles one-way that’s a great deal, as I value that at way more than $850.

Bottom line

While SkyMiles aren’t the world’s most valuable mileage currency, there is something to be said for the fact that they have a floor value, because I can see many people redeeming American and United miles for significantly less than a penny of value per point.

This means the welcome bonuses on the Gold Delta SkyMiles Personal Card and Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Card are worth a minimum of $600 worth of travel on Delta, which is an excellent bonus.

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  1. There are also some First Class Redemptions I found as well

    LAX-SHA with a stopover in Guangzhou on China Southern for 85k+$135 taxes. Pretty decent for next year.

  2. The Delta Platinum Amex gives you 35,000 RDM and 10,000 MQM for $25,000 in spend in a calendar year. Using your 1.2x valuation, that is a 1.7% return on spend when just accounting for the RDM, which is useful. The MQM are probably even more useful for Delta fliers. In addition, you get the companion pass and free bags. Bottom line, for those that fly Delta on a regular basis domestically for business or leisure, it is a core card and probably better than the comparable United and AA cards. I pair it with the Amex Platinum for SkyClub / Centurion Club access.

  3. @Alex H – The ability to book First Class Redemptions on China Southern through Delta is a new thing. Up until very recently Delta hasn’t offered any international First Class Redemptions because Delta hasn’t offered international First Class (despite referring to their own product as DeltaOne, a hint that it’s better than Biz) since the 1990s. I haven’t found anyone who has booked AND flown one of these China Southern First Class Redemption tickets yet, so I’m still somewhat suspicious that this is another Delta IT glitch.

  4. (Elites are also eligible for complimentary upgrades on “traditional” award tickets, though I believe you’re not eligible for certificate and mileage upgrades, so that would be a better distinction between normal award tickets and Pay With Miles tickets. There’s also some complexity with companion upgrades.)

  5. I got both cards; Delta Skymikes and got the 30,000 bonus but when I applied and also got the Platinum Delta, American Express refuses to give me the 70000 promised. They said it was their policy that you could get both rewards ; only the one.
    This article states you get both.

  6. Definitely agreed that the Pay with SkyMiles sets a floor for informed user redemptions. But Delta is perfectly happy to offer pure mileage tickets that are worth less than 1.0 cents (mileage cost vs revenue cost)….

  7. I followed the instructions for a Gold Amex with Delta. Did the mandatory spend
    but received zero miles. Their answer, I had a Delta card before. I did 10 years ago
    while living on the navy base in Spain. Then in the USA I switched to Costco Amex.
    Then Costco cancelled AMEX. So I applied to Delta on the 50,000 Mile offer. But no luck
    I had hsd a card 10 years ago. I am appealing, but I am not optomistic. Think I will cancel
    before the the one year dues free.

  8. Sky miles may not be worthless but are basically useless. Who the hell wants to go to Taipei? How about Tampa? And when I want to be spied on or have my phone copied or be thrown into a detention camp with what’s estimated to be at least a million other people, I guess then I’ll consider going to the rest of China.

    Yeah there’s always one usage you said you can point to, but it’s basically irrelevant to 99% of the card holders that actually have families and lives. And 95% of everybody else.

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