Until September 19, 2018, the Gold Delta Card is offering 60,000 bonus Delta miles for spending $3,000 in the first four months of holding the card. The Gold Delta Business Card comes with the exact same offer.
Also until September 19, 2018, the Platinum Delta Card is offering 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 status miles (MQMs) for spending $3,000 in the first four months. The Platinum Delta Business Card comes with the same offer.
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60k and 70k are as good as it gets for these Delta Amex cards, so if you’ve been waiting to snipe one, now is an ideal time.
- Sign Up Bonus: Platinum: 70k miles, 10k MQMs after spending $3,000 in the first four months. Gold: 60k miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months and an additional $1,000 within the first six months
- Category Bonuses: 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
- Free Checked Bag for you plus up to three others on same Delta reservation
- Priority Boarding
- In-flight Purchases Discount: Platinum cardmembers (not Gold) will get 20% off purchases on Delta flights.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Annual Fee: Platinum: $195, not waived, Gold: $95, waived for first year
- Eligibility: You can only get the bonus once per lifetime on public Amex offers. Example: If in the past, you have had only the Gold, you are ineligible to get the bonus on the Gold, but you can get the bonus on the Platinum. The Gold Delta Business Card is a separate product from the Gold consumer so having already earned one’s bonus doesn’t affect your eligibility for the other, as is the Platinum Delta Business card separate from the Platinum consumer card.
What Delta Miles Are and Aren’t Good For
Delta is constantly, and usually without any sort of prior announcement, devaluing their award prices. That’s not to say their miles are worthless–not at all. Around 1.3 cents per Delta miles is a fair valuation. I just wouldn’t hoard them for long periods of time. Earn and burn is the way to go with Delta.
I think one of the best uses of Delta miles are for the random/flash sales they run every so often, because you can book heavily discounted awards (like they ran in June to Mexico).
Also, if you live in or near Minneapolis, Detroit, or Salt Lake City, Delta miles will be extra useful for you. Those cities are Delta hubs with just a few direct options on American and United.
Sign Up Bonus
The Delta Gold card is offering 60,000 bonus Delta miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first four months from account opening.
The Delta Platinum is offering 70,000 bonus miles and 10,000 status miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first four months of account opening.
Historically, that’s as high as the bonuses on these cards get. It’s important to wait for historically high bonus offers on Amex cards since you can typically only get their bonuses once every ~7 years.
I value Delta miles at 1.3 cents each, so the Gold’s sign up bonus is worth $780 to me.
(60,000 * .013)
I value the Platinum’s sign up bonus at $715 plus the value of the MQMs.
(70,000 * .013) – 195 Annual Fee + MQMs
MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) are not redeemable for anything; they are simply the counter by which Delta determines your status. You normally earn them by flying, but getting the Platinum card can save you some butt-in-seat miles.
The value of the MQMs depends on your plans for Delta status. I have no interest or path to Delta status. I have 0 MQMs for the year, and that probably won’t change, so I’d value 10,000 MQMs at $0. However, if you are 10,000 MQMs short of Delta Diamond, the value of the 10,000s MQM could easily be a few thousand dollars because of the extra upgrades and other benefits you’d receive compared to being a Platinum member.
I imagine there’s even less of you after Delta status now that the MQD Spending Waiver Diamond Status has been raised to a shocking $250,000 a year.
You get two miles per dollar on all Delta purchases with both cards. I’d rather use the Amex Platinum card which earns 5 Membership Rewards (worth about 2 cents each) per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines, or the Chase Sapphire Reserve that earns 3 Ultimate Rewards (also worth about 2 cents each) per dollar spent on travel purchases.
Both cards come with the standard checked bag benefit that most airline cards offer. This one is good when you fly Delta, and is also good for a free checked bag for up to three others on the same reservation as you. You’ll also get priority boarding with each card.
The Platinum cards offer 20% in-flight purchases, but the Gold cards do not.
In addition to the initial bonus MQMs, the Platinum card comes with a chance to earn bonus MQMs every year. After you spend $25,000 on purchases on your Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card in a calendar year, you earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles. And after you spend $50,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in the same year, you earn an additional 10,000 MQMs and an additional 10,000 bonus miles. That’s a total of 20,000 MQMs and 20,000 bonus miles in a calendar year.
Foreign Transaction Fees
The cards have no foreign transaction fees.
The Gold card has a $95 annual fee. It is waived the first year.
The Platinum card has a $195 annual fee. It is NOT waived.
You can only get the bonus on each Amex card once per “lifetime”. Amex’s records seem to last about seven years, so a lifetime is really more like seven years.
The Gold and Platinum are two separate cards, so you can get the bonus on each. But if you have had the Gold card before, you are locked out of its bonus. If you have had the Platinum card before, you are locked out of its bonus. The Gold Delta Business card is a separate product from the Gold personal card, so you can earn the bonus on one and still be eligible for the bonus on the other. The Platinum Delta and Platinum Delta Business Cards are also different products.
The only exception to Amex’s once in a lifetime rule is that sometimes you can get the bonus on the same Amex card twice if you receive a targeted offer.
Additionally, you are limited to holding four to five American Express credit cards. Both personal and business count toward this limit. Charge cards–like the Amex Platinum, that don’t have credit limits–are counted separately. The Delta Amex cards are credit cards.
Deciding Between the Two
If you’re deciding which card to get, the big difference is how important Delta MQMs are to you. The difference in the two cards’ sign up offers is just about $65, with the Gold coming out ahead. Revisit the math above and you’ll see what I mean ($780 – $715 = $65). So if the MQMs are worth more than $65 to you, the Platinum card is the better deal.
There are large sign up bonuses on the Delta Gold and Platinum cards that you can earn if you sign up by April 11, 2018. If you don’t value Delta status, get the Gold card. It’s sign up offer is worth, by my valuations, $65 more than the Platinum. If you value Delta status, get the Delta Platinum card.