A Deltapoints guide to Delta Amex cards and more

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Sign-Up Bonuses


EDIT: As of 1MAY2014 you can only get each personal AMEX card once EVER in a lifetime (i.e. the new card bonus that is – you can get the card itself again). Thus churning AMEX cards is no longer an option. If you did get the PERSONAL card you can get the BUSINESS card however and get the new card bonus!

Per AMEX reps, including supervisors in charge of Delta Amex card promotions, you can get the NEW CARD sign up bonus for ANY Delta Amex card every 24 months (EDIT: The NEW RULE is you must NOT have the SAME card for the past 12 months or 365 days. It is the CLOSE date of the card that matters NOW). There are caveats and I will try to cover them.

Here is the ideal Delta round of cards.

Year 1 you get any Delta Amex personal card and then your wife/other goes for Biz card
Year 2 you get any Delta Amex biz card (pick biz after 1st click) & your wife/other goes for personal card. Once you have Year 2 cards you  CANCEL  Year 1 cards
Year 3 rinse and repeat the above, forever (be sure to wait 366 days after close date to reapply)!

Now you naturally always want to have a Delta Amex card to get free bags and all the other nice perks the cards give you when you fly. Also please note you DO NOT need to have a corporation to get the business cards! A sole proprietor can get them too (ie the business is only run by you full or part time).

Some generic info about going for card? My wife and I get a total of almost 20 credit cards each and every year. My credit score pre-round date is always over 750 fico and vantage over 900! We have hundreds of thousands of dollars of available (not used!) credit on cards. So every 90 days or so we both get 2-5 cards. Most of the time we get instant approvals, sometimes I have to call and move around credit lines to get approvals. Last year we both had 100% approvals on all cards and earned literally millions of miles.

So why do we do this? I learned from Rick the “Frugal Travel Guy”. He knows this game very well. You may have seen him on Nightline and may have had the privilege to hear him speak at the Chicago or other DO’s. I know him personally and he is a brilliant man. So, if you do 3 or 4 or 5 applications  all on the same day  for different banks, your odds for approval on them all goes way up! Also keep in mind it is good to have a long credit history. So keep what ever card you really love, ideally one with no annual fee, forever and charge something to it each and every year!

So what would be an idea for a Delta round today? Look at this:

(above are my links & I get referral credit -thanks for supporting the blog)

This 3 card round will net you two over ¼ MILLION  points in ONE DAY (once min spend is met for each card that is). Now, over the next 90 days, meeting the spend is the challenge for you to work on your way. But at a conservative 1 cent per point you have gained $2500 in free travel. Do this 4 times and you have 1 Million points! – René
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.

Barclaycard Arrival™
World MasterCard®
Earn 2x miles
on All Purchases

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  1. I thought the 24 months start counting when you close the account, not when you opened it?

  2. Hi Ted. Nope the clock starts from the day you got the card! – Rene ( but also why IMO you should cancel it at some point before round 2) – Rene

  3. How do you keep track of all these cards, what’s spent, what needs to be spent, how many points you are supposed to get, and the other benefits of the cards (companion tickets, rental car points on hotel cards, etc.) so you remember to use and fulfill them all?

  4. Why not get the personal and business cards at the same time and churn them simultaneously in 24 months? Or is the answer that they won’t award miles for both cards at teh same time? If that’s the case, then don’t you mean you should wait for year 3 (and not year 2) to reapply as you believe you need wait 2 full years?

  5. There have been reports of people trying to apply after more than 2 years and getting the “you already have a Delta Amex card” from the online application. Have you seen or heard this yourself?

  6. Hi Rene – Timely post, as I’m trying to get my cc house in order for 2012. I’m a small biz owner and have availed of numerous offers over last year or two, met the spend/racked up the miles, and now have between my wife and myself —
    AMEX — Centurion Business; SPG Business; Delta Skymiles Business; Platinum (wife)
    VISA — BA Chase*; Chase Ink Business x 2; VISA AAdvantage Citi
    MASTERCARD — OnePass Chase

    Other than the Centurion, BA Chase and one of the Chase Ink cards, I could live without the rest, and paying the fees. I was told cancelling cards affects your credit rating negatively. You say it does not. If you’re right, what’s best way to extricate yourself or cancel, by email or phone call? Any other advise? Thanks.

  7. I started churning as a senior in college (last year), and have gotten a good number of cards now. I tried to churn again back in October and was only partly successful. Chase I’m 3 for 3, but Citi scared me a bit.

    I applied for a bus card and was denied after not showing proof of business (I used SS # and followed the steps by you, FTG, and TPG), and on a Citi Premier I got denied due to “no or low revolving credit” (I applied after paying my bills so my fault), I re-evaluated and they said my credit obligations were higher than my income.

    So I’m a litle nervous to apply for some more, even though I’m 750+ on all 3 bureaus and pay my balances in full. Thoughts to get me over my nerves?

  8. Ok, let’s see if I understand this. My husband and I each have our own Platinum Delta Business card. We have each had the personal cards in the past but closed them more than two years ago. I can apply for the personal card without closing the business card and get the new card sign up bonus again? Will the benefits of my Platinum card override the Gold when I fly? I don’t know if my question really makes sense? I hesitated to apply for another Amex. I have had my Amex card for many years. Thanks for all the information. Love your blog.

  9. Thank you. Instantly approved. I recently considered the higher signup bonus offer but did not want the burden of the significantly higher spend requirement.

    Your readers might also be interested to learn that after the instant online approval AMEX offered me the option of seeing my account number immediately to use for up to $1000 of Delta purchases only. This is until the actual card arrives in a week or so. I thought that was a nice feature. Never given the option of an instantly usable account number ever before.

  10. FYI. Couple of years ago there were targeted Delta AMEX offers of 75K and I heard even 100K (were able to see/unlock some of them by playing around the http codes). Not sure they will come back this year.

  11. OK, you say “Also please note you DO NOT need to have a business to get the business cards!” Can you please provide a link on how this is exactly done?

  12. Does anyone know if I have the ability to direct miles earned with the Gold Skymiles Amex to an additional card holder’s Skymiles account? In other words, can miles be accrued by me as the primary card holder in my account and then the secondary card holder would accrue miles in another Delta account. Essentially a 2 for 1 strategy.

  13. Hi:
    Could you tell me if the Hilton points can be used towards Delta tickets or are they only redeemable for Hilton stays?

    Also, can my spouse and I each sign up for a Delta gold personal or do we have to do one personal and one business?


  14. @Michelle – you will loose all value going Hilton to Delta. Both you and husband can both each have a personal and biz delta amex if you want.

  15. So glad I found this blog. I have been unofficially churning for a while, and never had anything other than an instant credit approval. I’m not concerned long term with my credit score, but why do the companies take time to review. How would you advise?

  16. Hi. The Chase, Ink, and Citibank cards listed above are good deals, but I don’t see how they contribute to the 1/4 million Delta points. BTW, I really like your regular emails and blog posts… so much good stuff to read!. -Carlton, T.R. (The Rookie)
    Augusta, GA

  17. Great blog Rene and thank you! Question-if I add a biz AMEX Reserve to get new card bonus spend MQMS, then close my personal AMEX reserve, will my annual spend total transfer to the new card for the $30k and $60k spend MQM bonuses? Or do I need to wait until the end of the calendar year to churn my AMEX Reserve? No spousal card involvement fyi. Thank you!

  18. @Howard – Each card is it’s own for MQM spend. Now, the difference is NEXT YEAR for MQD that is medallion qualifying dollars, on that BOTH count towards that spend. Clear?

  19. @Rene – Yes, clear for this year and for MQD spend next year. Will only keep 1 AMEX Reserve at a time, so for 2014, I could open a Biz AMEX Reserve, get 10k signup MQMs, then 30k more MQM (for $60k spending) = 40k MQM possible. Will close my Personal AMEX Reserve after opening Biz card, then flip-flop again in early ’15. Sound strategy? Thank you!

  20. @Howard – yes. There may be even one step more and keep following my fellow blogger Frequent Miler as he has even one more idea cooking soon (we had a fun conversation at Freddie I must keep PVT for now but no rush)! – Rene

  21. @Rene – I’ll keep an eye out for another idea coming soon, and thanks again!

  22. @Rene – Re: the $450 annual fee. Both my wife and I have the personal Delta Reserve card. If we max the spenidng by mid year on both and want to add Biz cards, is a prorated rebate on the personal card $450 offered?…or is it costing us $450 x 4 to have had all 4 cards during the calendar year?

  23. Can one earn signup bonus miles from both a personal gold amex and a business gold amex within one calendar year? Then cancel the first before the annual fee kicks in? Or does “same card” mean “any gold card”?

  24. @Steven – yes you can hold and earn bonus and skymiles (and with some cards MQM’s) from BOTH the person and business cards at the same time. The SAME card, for AMEX, would = GOLD, PLAT, RES – personal or would = GOLD, PLAT, RES – business. So, as you can see, one in each family is fine personal and business. But, if you did do that, and you chose to cancel (not good to not have at least one at all times) then you would have to wait after cancel 365+ days to get a new card bonus for a new GOLD, PLAT, RES either personal or biz. clear?

  25. Could you explain why the Marriott card in the proposed lineup? Does it accrue skymiles or is it for hotel stays in your world?

  26. Can you explain how you handle the annual fees for the Delta Amex card rotation? Do you cancel the current year card you are using (e.g., business) before the annual fee hits again(at about 11 months)leaving a gap before you can apply for the previous amex you cancelled the year before(e.g, personal)? Maybe I am confused? Thanks!

  27. @Ryan – it is a personal call too keep or cancel. If you get say a new biz card (you have the personal) before the fee hits, once you have the business card it is up to you if you wish to keep the personal card. Clear?

  28. Sorry if already answered…

    I am considering the Reserve card. Currently, I have the Business Platinum Skymiles. I had the personal Platinum Skymiles through sometime in March 2013.

    Would I get the sign-up bonus on the Reserve now? Or do I need to wait until 1 year after the personal Platinum was closed?

  29. So that wait period applies even when upgrading (the previous closed card was only Platinum)?

    I thought that might be true but was hoping an upgrade might work to my favor. Oh well.

  30. Love the blog! I have had the Personal Plat Delta AMEX for 9 months and want to add a Business Delta AMEX card to start the yearly rotation. I have been hoping to get a bonus points offer in the mail but nothing is coming, probably because I already have a Personal card. Anything I can do to entice a Business AMEX bonus points offer to come my way?

  31. Just to close loop on my Nov 19th comment, I went ahead and looked closely at the terms & conditions on the Delta Reserve:

    “Welcome bonus offer not available to applicants who have had this product within the last 12 months or any other Consumer Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card account within the last 90 days.”

    So I decided to go for it. I screen printed everything and saved a PDF version of the terms when applying.

    No issues at all. Even with Consumer Platinum closed in March 2013 and Reserve opened in Dec 2013, I still received the bonus offer and MQMs 4 days after my first purchase.

    Great news for me since it bumped me up to GM.

  32. As an aside, I currently hold the Delta reserve. I found out that that makes me ineligible for the AMEX Platinum 40k bonus. According to the AMEX reps if you have any AMEX card it precludes you from the bonus.

  33. @John – correct all 3 are looked at as the same card. You CAN however go for the BIZ Delta AMEX card if you have not held any of the 3 for 365+ days!

  34. I recently applied for and was approved for a Delta Reserve Business card. This would mean that I could not apply for a Delta Platinum Business card correct?

  35. Delta Points: Is this info still accurate ? I dropped my Skymiles Amex about 3 years ago, but want to sign up again. When I spoke to 2 different Amex reps and asked if I could qualify for a sign up bonus by reapplying, they both told me I could not get the bonus. I am hoping they were wrong…….?

  36. @Rich – No. This is very old info that ended on 1MAY2014. I need to update. You can get the card but no longer get the bonus again. Now, you can go for the BIZ card if you have NEVER had that before and get the new card bonus. Also, you could “maybe” try for PLAT if you had GOLD Delta before but most times Delta views GOLD & PLAT & REZ all as same “family” of cards.

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