Delta is running a last-minute deal on its credit cards — their bonuses are worth double the normal amount
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Until April 3, Delta and American Express are offering the highest-ever publicly available welcome offers on their co-branded credit cards. These offers have been available a few times in the past, but we’ve never seen them go higher (other than for a few lucky, targeted people).
There are three offers available, and you’re eligible only if you haven’t had the card before. But because the three cards count as different products, you can earn a bonus on each of them. For example, if you’ve had the Gold Delta card before, you can still get the bonus on a new Platinum Delta card.
The three cards and offers are:
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 60,000 SkyMiles after spending $2,000 in the first three months. Plus, get a $50 statement credit when you make any Delta purchase in the first three months. $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 75,000 SkyMiles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. Plus, get a $100 statement credit when you make any Delta purchase in the first three months. $195 annual fee.
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express: Earn 75,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months. $450 annual fee.
While Delta SkyMiles aren’t necessarily the most valuable frequent-flyer mile currency out there, they definitely still offer value, and they remain worth collecting.
The cards have a lot of similarities
They all offer perks for Delta flyers, including one free checked bag for each person on the cardholder’s reservation, priority boarding so you can settle in sooner and snag space in the overhead compartments, a 20% discount in the form of a statement credit on Delta in-flight purchases, and no foreign-transaction fees.
The cards all earn 2x SkyMiles for every dollar you spend with Delta and one SkyMile per dollar on everything else.
However, there are also a few differences between the three cards. The Gold Delta card has a $95 annual fee, waived the first year, which brings it in line with the less expensive, mainstream airline credit cards.
The Platinum SkyMiles card’s annual fee is $195 and isn’t waived the first year, but it has an exceptionally valuable benefit that makes up for it.
Every year on your card-member anniversary, you’ll get a free domestic companion pass. A companion pass is essentially a buy-one-get-one-free coupon. When you book an economy-class flight for yourself anywhere within the continental US, you can get a second ticket for free, other than minimal taxes and fees.
For me, the value of the pass at least cancels out the annual fee, and the card offers enough value to mean I’m making a profit in some cases. I used my first companion pass this past fall to book a flight for my wife and myself — the tickets were about $225 each, but when I redeemed the pass, we only had to pay $24 in taxes and fees for her ticket.
The Delta Reserve card has a higher $450 annual fee, but it has a few additional perks that can make it worthwhile for some frequent flyers.
Like the Platinum SkyMiles card, it offers a domestic companion pass. However, that pass can be used for first-class tickets, not just economy. Additionally, the Delta Reserve offers full access to Delta Sky Club lounges whenever the cardholder is flying with Delta (the Gold and Platinum SkyMiles cards offer discounts on single-access Sky Club passes).
The Reserve has one other major perk, which can be crucial for travelers who hold Delta Medallion (elite) status.
Delta Medallion members are eligible for complimentary, space-available upgrades to first class and Delta One on flights within the US and the region, including Mexico and Central America, and extra-legroom seats on international flights.
Upgrades clear in hierarchical order based on a number of factors, including each passenger’s Medallion status level, the original fare class they booked, and a few other factors. The first tiebreaker for people with the same Medallion level and fare class: whether they hold the Delta Reserve card. Reserve cardholders will be prioritized over those without it. If there’s only one seat left and two members are still tied and both have the Reserve, it continues down the list of tiebreakers.
For travelers who fly a lot and frequently find themselves one or two upgrade-list spots away from getting that first-class seat, holding the Reserve can be extremely valuable.
The bottom line
Ultimately, all three of these cards offer a great value with useful perks. With the limited-time welcome offers, now is an ideal time to open one of them.
If you fly Delta with a partner, friend, or family members at least once or twice a year domestically, the Platinum SkyMiles card is probably more worthwhile for you because the companion pass can essentially pay for the annual fee. However, if you want a lower upfront fee, the Gold SkyMiles card still comes with useful benefits — and a fantastic bonus.
Finally, if you’re looking for access to Delta Sky Clubs (and don’t already have the Platinum Card from American Express), or want an extra edge in your Medallion upgrade priority, the Delta Reserve might be the card for you.
$95 annual fee (waived the first year): Learn more about the Gold Delta AmEx card from Insider Picks’ partner The Points Guy.
$195 annual fee: Learn more about the Platinum Delta AmEx card from Insider Picks’ partner The Points Guy.
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