The next few months will be hard to watch go by. Heck, until 00:01 on January 1st 2018 I will not be calm as until that time we are not officially earning points for the 2019 Medallion year. This is way too much time for Delta to implement the planned changes to not allow MQD exemption for Diamonds for the 2019 elite year. But as I talked about Sunday, Delta is paying attention to our input and I think of all the options I put forward for Delta to consider as alternatives one is not just a good alternative to what is in place right now but a smart change as well. What choice is that? I said:
“Make only the Delta Amex Reserve card open to MQD spend. Here is another option I really like. The Delta Reserve card, frankly speaking, is a lack luster card in the world of mega high end high annual fee cards. There are so many choices in the ~$450 range that offer a ton more perks than the CO-Branded Delta Amex Reserve card. But if this card were required for any chance at MQD exempt spending then all of a sudden the value proposition for this card (personal or business) becomes HUGE! Then the Gold becomes the default card for non elite’s and the Platinum card for lower or mid-tier elite’s with mid-MQD spending not needing MQD exempt spend levels for Platinum or Diamond.”
Personally I think this is something that is just a needed change and beyond what I have above there is much more to consider. Let’s break it down.
A wimp among titans.
I cannot begin to tell you how many Diamonds and other elites challenge me as to the value of the Delta Reserve card. They can get the same individual Sky Club entrance with the non-Delta Platinum card when flying Delta so there is no exclusivity there to justify the $450 annual fee. Let’s not forget that not long ago you got 2 guests with this card but not now. Nothing was ever done to make up for this lost perk (nor was the annual fee reduced after this devaluation).
While the Medallion upgrade tiebreaker this card offers is nice, the full court press of Delta selling cheap upgrades has resulted in the available upgrades becoming less and less which makes this perk a less wiz-bang feature than it once was to so many. The only real perk is the ability to earn MQMs but if the Diamond MQD spend exemption goes away then this card becomes almost pointless to hold any longer when there are so many other choices in the market (and not just from Amex).
The premium Amex Reserve card needs to be improved.
By making the Reserve card the ONLY card that can get you MQD exempt status via spend you are instantly creating a unique branding and segmentation for this premium Delta Amex card and adding value to the card. Delta could in one swift move justify the annual fee to anyone who cares about elite status but cannot swing spending $15,000 (net) directly with Delta. Delta brags about helping card acquisition – this move would do that in huge numbers.
Take the opportunity to add even more.
While we are tweaking the card more could be done to attract more to get and hold this card. Like what? Delta has made the change to allow coach BOGO certificate booked tickets with the Reserve card to be upgrade eligible (you can also book 1st class with the Reserve card BOGO) and that is a nice improvement but not a mega change. To me with this being a premium card, it should earn bonus SkyMiles when you book tickets with it (all Delta Amex CO-Branded cards earn 2x SkyMiles FYI). The Reserve card should earn you at least 3x or 4x SkyMiles when you book tickets on Delta.com with this card.
What else? How about 2 free premium drinks in the Sky Club each month as a statement credit much like the UBER credits the non-Delta Platinum card offers. Again, this would be a way to differentiate the card and a reason for a Delta flyer to not only fly Delta but to get more value when choosing to buy a Delta ticket.
The point is Delta has a unique chance to really help Amex and boost their membership in a high end card. If Delta’s goal is to reduce the number of Diamonds who qualify on Amex spend this will still accomplish that as some will not be willing to go up from a $95 Gold card or $195 Platinum card fee all the way up to the $450 Reserve card fee.
What do you think? Would you be OK with only the Reserve card allowing MQD spend exemption? Would this add value in your eyes to this premium card? Would you upgrade your current Delta Amex card to the Reserve if it meant the only way to reach MQD spend exemption was via this card? Let me (and Delta / Amex) know in the comments below. – René
PS – One reader who got a call from Delta said they are thinking of tweaking the coming change thus all but acknowledging it is on the way. If you have NOT yet put pen to paper to let Amex and Delta know you are opposed to the planned change please do so now!