On July 5, 2017, the temporarily increased sign up bonus offers for the Delta Gold and Platinum cards issued by American Express will end.
People like to call Delta miles SkyPesos, me included sometimes, especially when another unannounced devaluation occurs and I’m feeling resentful. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless though…every mile has its niche, including SkyPesos. And I’ve put my money where my mouth is. I’ve held a personal Gold card in the past and currently hold the business gold card.
Delta miles are good for specific reasons. One reason is to use on market standard/cheap economy awards. Another is for flash sales they run roughly once a month, because you can book heavily discounted awards. Another is if you live in a hub city, then Delta miles will give you access to more award space. And finally–my personal reasoning for earning Delta miles–is diversity for being able to book last minute. I tend to plan things down to the wire, sometimes on purpose and sometimes spontaneously, and having more miles to choose from increases my likelihood of booking something.
Both offers are the highest on record. It’s always important to apply for Amex cards when they have a historically high sign up bonus since you can only get the public sign up bonus on a card once in your lifetime.
- Sign Up Bonus: Platinum: 70k miles, 10k MQMs, and $100 statement credit after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Gold: 60k miles and $50 statement credit after spending $3,000 in the first three months
- Category Bonuses: 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases
- Value of Delta Miles: Worth 1.3 cents each to me
- Free Checked Bag for you plus up to three others on same Delta reservation
- Priority Boarding
- No Foreign Transaction Fee
- Annual Fee:
Platinum: $195, not waived (so a net of -$95 after statement credit)
Gold: $95, waived for first year (so a net of +$50 after statement credit)
- Eligibility: You can only get the bonus once per lifetime on public Amex offers. For example, if you’ve opened just a Gold card in the past, you are ineligible to get the bonus on the Gold again, but you can get the bonus on the Platinum.
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards.
Delta Flash Sales
Delta often runs “flash sales” on awards to specific regions for specific travel dates, sometimes in a specific cabin class. These sales usually only last a couple days–hence the name “flash”–so when you see one that appeals to you, book fast. If there’s a particularly good one going I’ll be sure to write about it here on MileValue.
Examples of past flash sales:
United, Delta, and American Economy Award Chart
Below is a comparison of the three legacy carriers economy award prices to all regions from the continental United States. You can see charts for Business and First Class in Comparison of United, Delta, & American Airlines Latest 2017 Award Charts
Between the three, Delta has the cheapest economy prices to Alaska, Africa, and the Middle East. It has market standard economy prices to most other regions, with the exception of flying to South America, Australia, New Zealand, or the Pacific Islands.
This one seems obvious but I think is worth pointing out anyways. It’s easy to get caught up in the math and forget about logistics.
If you live in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Salt Lake City, or Seattle, Delta miles are going to give you access to more award space, as those are Delta hubs. In particular, if you live in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, or Seattle, Delta miles are even more important, as those cities are specifically, solely Delta hubs (United and American Airlines also have hubs in Los Angeles and New York).
Don’t Hold, Spend
All of this being said, it’s not wise to hoard Delta miles. Earn them and burn them as quickly as you can. All rewards depreciate over time, but I think it’s safe to say that SkyMiles do so more rapidly than other reward currencies.
For the moment both Delta co-branded Amex cards are offering enhanced sign up bonuses: 60k for the Gold and 70k for the Platinum. Both are record high, and expire July 5, 2017.
If you’re wavering between the two cards, read more about the specifics of each offer here. Essentially, if you don’t value Delta status, they are similar offers. If you value Delta status, get the Delta Platinum card.
Value is subjective (to an extent). I collect SkyMiles for the purpose of having a diverse rewards stash. If you collect SkyMiles, what’s your reasoning?