Huge Changes to Delta American Express Cards, and New Limited Time Offers in October

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American Express has shared a release that starting tomorrow they will be running a limited-time offer on their Delta co-brand credit cards, and also that those cards are getting improves mileage-earning and benefits.

New perks will include “access to The American Express Centurion® Lounges or a TSA Pre-Check Credit” and cards will have faster mileage-earning. The re-launch of benefits and earn will happen effective January 30, 2020 and the limited time offer will run October 1 – 30, 2019. [Offer expired]

Full details on the changes are at NewDeltaAmex.com and comes about six months after American Express and Delta re-upped their partnership through 2029.

Additions and Losses to Benefits and Earn for Each Card

American Express is increasing earn on some cards, adding new benefits, and taking away others while increasing annual fees for new cardmembers (and at renewal for existing cardmembers).

Gold cards:

  • Add double miles at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants
  • Increase annual fee to $99
  • Lose $29 per visit Sky Club access
  • Lose spending waiver for elite status effective January 1, 2020

Platinum cards:

  • Add $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Increased earn: double miles at U.S. supermarkets, 3x at Hotels and Delta
  • Personal card: earn 2x at restaurants
  • Business card: 1.5x on purchases of $5000 or more
  • Increase annual fee to $250
  • “Miles Boost” transitions to “Status Boost” and no longer includes bonus miles
  • Per-visit access to Sky Clubs increases to $39

Reserve cards:

  • Adds Centurion lounge access, and 2 one-time SkyClub guest passes
  • 4 “status boosts” annually (“Miles Boost” transitions to “Status Boost” and no longer includes bonus miles)
  • Complimentary upgrades for cardmembers without status
  • Add $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Earns 3x on Delta
  • Business card: 1.5x on all purchases after spending $150,000 per calendar year
  • Lose priority security access
  • Sky Club per-visit fee for guests goes up to $39
  • Annual fee goes up to $550.

American Express has had to place limits of use of their Centurion lounges to battle crowding but now adds more customers with complimentary access to these lounges.


Centurion Lounge DFW

New ‘Status Boost’ Program for Platinum and Reserve Cards

Status Boost replaces Miles Boost.

For Platinum cards that means $25,000 in spend in a calendar year earns 10,000 elite qualifying miles. A second $25,000 during a calendar year ($50,0000 total) earns an additional 10,000 elite qualifying miles. Spend thresholds no longer generate bonus redeemable miles.

For Reserve cardmembers $30,000 in spend in a calendar year earns 15,000 elite qualifying miles. Then the next three increments of $30,000 spend in a calendar year ($60,000, $90,000 and $120,000) earn additional awards of 15,000 elite qualifying miles apiece.

The terms say, “Card Members are only eligible to receive one annual bonus per threshold per calendar year for each type of eligible Delta SkyMiles Card (e.g., Platinum or Reserve) that is linked to the same SkyMiles account.” You cannot, therefore, have to Platinums and earn elite qualifying miles from spend on each.

Fortunately Reserve qualifying miles earned call still be claimed or gifted so it’s possible to receive elite qualifying miles from more than one Reserve card, they just cannot both be your own cards.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. @ Gary — Great, so they made the Reserve card WORSE — no more 15,000 miles per boost and a higher annual fee. So, if you spend $60,00 on the card per year, you LOSE 30,000 miles ($360) and pay a higher fee (+55). Net loss = $415. Number of lost card members in my house = 1. The credit card companies just keep making cash back look better and better….

  2. I’m already skipping Centurion lounges as it is because its to crowded. This is bad news on that front.

  3. If I still held the AMEX Plat card I’d be super upset about the Centurion Lounge access here…

    But, since I don’t still have the AMEX Plat I’m super upset at these changes. The increased annual fee hurts me, and I’ve held the Skymiles Plat card since it started. I’ll be surprised to see AMEX increase card holders with these changes.

  4. The Reserve card is now for one small subset of flyers: Delta loyalists chasing Platinum or Diamond MQM status. Full stop.

  5. Free upgrades for kettles? That’s huge. I believe this is the only credit card to offer this benefit. I’m sure non-revs will be pissed off! I wonder what percentage of people have the card without status though? I’d think <10%.

    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.

  6. “Card Members are only eligible to receive one annual bonus per threshold per calendar year for each type of eligible Delta SkyMiles Card

    Does it mean if you had person and business reserve – you can no longer collect annual boost twice (once on each card)?

  7. I am an Amex Platinum card holder and agree the Centurion Lounges are typically too crowded (however I was pleasantly surprised at the MIA Lounge last week). However, we Amex members can’t whine about this since the Platinum card also gives us access to DL Sky Club. Also, the DL Reserve Centurion Lounge is limited to 1 person (can pay for 2 companions but not free like with Platinum card) and only if they flew DL and used the Reserve card to pay for it. Then you add the Reserve card went up to $550 and I’m not sure it will really add a lot to the crowd in Centurion Lounges (also ignoring how many people that have the Reserve card also have a Platinum card so already have access).

  8. I don’t see the Centurion lounge access for the Reserve being that big of a deal. You have to be flying Delta to get access, Atlanta doesn’t have a Centurion lounge (I can’t imagine Amex doing this to itself…), and Centurion lounges don’t seem to be very conveniently placed for Delta flights.

    As for me, I may downgrade my Delta Platinum (I have until May to decide). The higher annual fee eats into the benefits provided by companion pass, and the new benefits aren’t really benefits at all when compared against other cards. I don’t need MORE free TSA Precheck/Global Entry (I have enough of these that I could renew every year if they’d let me). The restaurant bonus is half of the Amex Gold card. The hotel bonus doesn’t mean much against my CSR. The Amex Platinum STILL gets a better return on Delta purchases. I never used the Miles Boost, and I’m not inclined to use the less beneficial Status Boost either.

  9. I’ve had the delta platinum card since it started – it says on the card when I became a member is how I know. I dropped the reserve card last year and will drop the platinum card this time when my renewal comes up. I don’t really see how giving me an additional 10- or 15000 miles hurt delta considering how many miles it now takes to use them but, hey, they’re delta’s miles, not mine.

  10. Is the Delta Gold card even worth having anymore? They should just move the benefits from the card down to the no annual fee Delta card. Then, just get rid of the Gold card… Who is going to pay $99 a year for nothing??

  11. So does this mean they will be keeping the CDW coverage and all of the benefits that they still have that disappeared from the Citi cards?

  12. The Delta Platinum Amex took a significant blow when Delta introduced Basic Economy: a new low fare class that was NOT eligible for Companion Certificate redemption. So now, in addition to needing to find flights within specified fare classes (difficult to impossible, depending on the route, even with months’ advance purchase), you always have to buy up from the lowest fare in order to use the Companion Certificate, further eroding its value. The round-trip requirement can also be a major detriment– it would be much more useful if Delta matched the Amtrak companion benefit by offering TWO one-way certificates. But, of course, that would make it easier to actually use and get value from the Companion Certificate.

  13. “The terms say, “Card Members are only eligible to receive one annual bonus per threshold per calendar year for each type of eligible Delta SkyMiles Card (e.g., Platinum or Reserve) that is linked to the same SkyMiles account.” You cannot, therefore, have to Platinums and earn elite qualifying miles from spend on each.”

    Are we thinking this applies to Business/Personal Plantiums and Reserves as well?

    I.e. in the past one person could earn MQMs from a total of 4 cards: a Personal Platinum, a Business Platinum, a Personal Reserve and a Business Reserve for a total of 100k MQMs/year (not taking into account any MQM gifting).

    Does this wording imply that this is going away? Or does the wording simply confirm that you can’t earn MQMs from having 2x Personal Platinums and/or 2x Personal Reserves, for example?

    If the wording continues to allow the 4 cards max, it would allow for one person to earn 160k MQMs annually between the 4 cards with $340k in spend. If the wording doesn’t allow this then the max would be 80k MQMs with $170k in spend.

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