Credit Cards

Rookie Wednesday: Q&A about Delta AMEX cards & the current state of the “rules”

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

delta gold-platinum-reserve cards from amex

As I talked about in this post, the 50,000 bonus Skymiles (expired) from 4 different cards is a great offer. But what bonus points can YOU get and what if you have or have had the cards before? What is OK and what is not? Let’s break them down rookie style.

First let’s look at the rules that are in place since 1MAY2014.

  • For the personal Delta AMEX cards, if you have at any time in your life received the new card sign-up bonus then you will not be able to get a bonus again.
  • For the business Delta AMEX cards, the rule is what we had in place for all cards before. That is, you must cancel, wait 365+ days, then you can apply again and get the new card bonus again.

Please note that these apply ONLY to the primary card holder. If you have had, say, a Delta AMEX Gold card where your husband was the primary, this in NO WAY excludes YOU from getting the bonus points.

What about the question I get all the time. If I got, say, the GOLD Delta AMEX card in the past, can I get the Platinum or Reserve card now and the bonus? If you HOLD the card your chance is just about zero as AMEX will see you are a card holder. Not just that but if you hold ANY AMEX consumer card you will not be able to get the current Delta new card bonus (OUCH)! The official wording says:

Consumer Delta Gold, Platinum:
If we identify you as currently having an American Express® Card account, you may not be eligible for this welcome bonus offer. This offer is also not available to applicants who have or have had this product.

What about the business cards then? Well as long as it has been 356+ days since you canceled any of the big 3 you should be fine as it is more about time between bonus deals not what card you held. Or again the official wording is:

OPEN Gold Delta Skymiles Business Credit Card:
The OPEN Gold Delta Skymiles Business Credit Card welcome bonus offer is not available to applicants who currently have the product or who have held the product within the last 12 months. Small business owners who hold or have held an American Express Consumer card will qualify for this offer if they have not held a Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card account within the last 12 months.

Can you hold more than one Delta business card at once, say a Gold and a Reserve card? For example, get one in your name and one in the EIN of your other company? Officially, no you can’t, at least per Delta, as you can only hold one personal and one business Delta card at a time that go to your Skymiles account. Does this mean that it 100% will not work? I have had readers report that they do hold two business cards this way so YMMV.  EDIT: Per updated info from AMEX you CAN get the new card bonus for all 3 cards and they are all unique products! Say you have the Delta Platinum business now and you got it more than 90+ days ago, you could then go for the Delta Gold business now and get the bonus as it is NOT the same card. Just know Delta may not like this and this updated rule DOES NOT apply to the consumer Delta cards only the business Delta cards.

What about my wife / +1 sending me their MQMs? Keep in mind the ONLY card that lets you send MQMs to another person is the Delta AMEX Reserve card. And then, ONLY the points you earn from spending $30/60,000 each year. The new card bonus MQMs go to the card holder – period! With the Platinum card you CANNOT send points to anyone. It goes to the Skymiles number linked to that card!

Can I apply for both the personal and business Delta AMEX cards at the same time / same day? Yes, but some words of warning. I would go for the personal card first, hopefully with instant approval, then go for the business. You will get a decision pending on the latter. You can then call the next day and tell AMEX why you want both cards. Some reps say you have to wait 5 days. Others say 1 week (same thing really, 5 business days). So should you just wait a week and apply for the business card later? You can, but either way should give the same results depending on your credit worthiness.

OK, I understand about the bonus points. But can I just get the card again if I have had it in the past as I want the card for the perks? Sure. Just know, as you just said, you are only getting the card not the bonus points. This likely applies to both the Skymiles & the MQMs, but there have been mixed reports on the MQM bonus. Just don’t expect ANY points if you had a new card bonus in the past, per the current rules.

Another good reminder to touch on at this point is the spending year. Understand the spending year is CALENDAR YEAR not the personal date for you when you got the card. MQM minimum spend to get bonus points? Does not matter when you got the card, it ends each year 31DEC and that is POSTING date of any transaction NOT the purchase date. Same goes for your MQD exempt spending – you must get it done and posted by 31DEC each year.

When it comes time for the annual fee, what should you do? I value my cards so I pay the fee ($450 per card for the Reserve each)! You could cancel, or see if AMEX wants to toss you some points to keep you, or downgrade. Do keep in mind that one of the current “rules” with AMEX is you can only hold a total of 4 credit cards at once (that is a total of 4 combined, personal and business). You can have additional charge cards. But if you are thinking of going for another AMEX card in 91+ days you may want to think about canceling over downgrading. The other issue too can be moving credit lines over to another card before you cancel. Just be VERY VERY VERY careful they do not do a credit pull to move the line over. If they want to do that most times say NO unless the credit pull is at the same time you are going for other cards on the same day maybe. At least that is my take on it.

Here is a fun one. Should you call or click? That is, say you have a chance to upgrade or go for a new card. Should you just call and see what they say? Please, never just call. Reps can say anything and you may not get the points at the end. By clicking and printing the page of the offer you are going for, you have a MUCH better chance of the offer, whatever it is, being honored as stated.

Are there any exceptions to these “rules”? You betcha! I have tons of reports of people having TWO Delta AMEX Gold personal cards at the same time. Others say they had the GOLD and went for the Platinum and got the new card bonus (i.e they went for the Platinum after 1MAY2014 and still got the bonus points including the MQMs). Ditto for the business cards even without an EIN number. So strange things can and do happen, but use these rules as a guide.

Any other questions? Ask away! – René
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. 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 American Express.


Gold Delta SkyMiles®
Credit Card from American Express®
Click HERE for more info


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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. I had zero issue getting the personal dl gold and dl platinum bonuses this year (punching myself for not waiting for the better bonus on the plat though!). So, ymmv.

  2. Rene,

    Is the same offer available for the biz Plat Delta AMEX as the personal one? The Mrs. is looking to buff her MQM/RDM balances.

    • @tuan – yep same offer. not my link so YMMV but the print seems to say so in the link. again NOT MY LINK on the biz plat!

  3. Hi- Can you have both the Platinum Personal and business and both the Reserve Cards?

    Thank you

    • @Sam – personal only 1. biz delta says only one biz but amex now says you could have all 3 biz and get bonus for each. Clearly not all at once. I would wait at least 91+ days between apps.

  4. Do these rules apply only to Delta branded cards, or for any AMEX cards? I have SPG and the Everyday cards.

  5. I hold a personal Reserve card, and just canceled my Biz Plat (got a great bonus last year for that!). Now I’m looking at the new offers and the only way I see to get the bonus is if my wife applies. She doens’t fly much at all (mostly me for business), and doesn’t even have a SkyMiles account. Can she sign up and use my Skymiles account so I get the bonus points?

  6. Rene,

    I just got the Gold card on my last batch in June (d’oh, oh well). I’d like to shoot for the Plat Business on my next go around. Unfortunately it looks like the offer ends when I’m at 89 days since my last batch. For sake of my credit score, would you recommend passing it up or applying the last day even though it hasn’t been 91 days?

  7. I chatted with an online rep and told her I have had the Delta Gold personal in the past. I also had the Gold biz card (converted it to a no fee card) so I do have an open Am Ex account. She said I am eligible for the bonus on the Platinum card. Sound right?

  8. Hi Rene- What I was meaning to ask is can we hold all of the following and earn MQM for each:

    1.Personal Delta Platinum
    2.Business Delta Platinum
    3.Personal Reserve
    4.Business Reserve

    Not worried about the initial bonsuses but can we hold all 4 and earn MQM’s on all of them.

    Thank you

  9. @Nancy – right now just the Delta AMEX promo.
    @Russ – sure she can if she has not had the DL AMEX before
    @James – it is a great offer. may be worth a shot. your call.
    @Deborah – you make my point about phone reps. If you had the Gold Delta in past, that means you can not get the Plat card now (consumer) and get the bonus. But YMMV.
    @Sam – It is more Delta we need to worry about. They say one personal and one biz per person. Having all 4 funnel to one Skymiles account could lead to a review by Delta. Then again some may be getting away with it. It sure seams like AMEX will have no problem giving you two Delta biz cards now (or even all 3) and the bonus if it has been 365+ days!

  10. Rene, Loyal Reader here. Sorry if asked before, but unclear in your Q&A is this: I currently hold and use a RESERVE Business. Am I eligible for sign-up bonus for PLATINUM Business right now? Many thanks.

    • @Alex – yes if it has been 365+ days since you got the Reserve card bonus according to the latest rules. Before you had to cancel and wait but now all 3 biz cards are looked at as unique products. The only time you now would have to cancel and wait 365+ days is to get the Reserve card bonus again. Clear?

  11. Rene–Crystal Clear explanation from you, as always! Love your blog, keep up the great work, and thanks for your help

  12. Rene – coming full circle on my comment above, just applied for PLAT BUSINESS and was APPROVED. I have both Starwood Business and Delta RESERVE Business right now, but last Reserve signup bonus was >365 days ago (was in Dec 2012). Whether or not I get the 50k/15k signup bonus for THIS won’t be known til i spend $1k. I will let you know!

    • @Alex – I am confident you WILL get the bonus and well done btw. Enjoy the bonus points and MQMs! 🙂

  13. Rene, I, like you, have both the Delta Personal and Business Reserve cards. I was wondering if I can get myself into the SkyClub on one card and a friend into SkyClub on the other card, since it is still only one person per card? What do you think?

    • @JohnHace – ya know, in the OLD DAYS 😉 that would work. In fact, you could get a BUNCH of people in as it was 2 per card. Not today as the new rules are HARD AND FAST that it is only you. Sorry I wish it were the case. I will talk to AMEX about the idea but it is a Delta choice as you will see in a post soon. 🙁

  14. longroller Reply

    So I guess the best way to go is get the Personal Gold card, then upgrade to Platinum, then Reserve. This way you maximize the upgrade bonuses.

    • @Longroller – YES that can work! Oh, and asking for extra bits and points along each step 😉 (I have some tips on that at the Chicago Seminars coming up)

  15. Bonnie Cassidy Reply

    Got the Delta Reserve last November for the MQMs (and the SkyClub access). Trying to figure out if I should renew it? I don’t have any other Amex cards. Do any others provide MQMs? Renewing the Reserve for SkyClub and MQD waiver seems like a good idea…

    • @Bonnie – yep agree with what you said. keep in mind you will, after the next year fee hits, get a buy one get one free ticket in coach or 1st class domestic. i value those. if you don’t want Skyclub then consider downgrade to the Delta Platinum.

  16. Pingback: Rookie Wednesday: A look back on what we have covered so far (and beyond)! - Delta PointsDelta Points

  17. Louise Andrew Reply

    Rene, I recently SMd to Delta (which was to have been completed by Aug 18 but we did it by June 26 because of “grounding” surgery appt. Therefore, I assume (and just learned after reading your recent post) I am stuck as my status will only last until Jan 31.

    Since it is impossible to accrue so many many miles by year’s end without wasteful MR’s, I guess we will be staying with (former airline you hate). So that’s just a rant. Here’s my query:

    Has anyone launched a class action against the majors for their obvious bait-and-switch tactics on their websites? I have read your descriptions about Delta’s deceitful tactics, but they all do it. I accidentally came across an interesting and cheap itinerary on (former airline you hate) by perusing one way fares. Trying to make it round trip, I got several blatant lies from (former airline you hate) that they did not operate flights between several of the named cities, even though I could cite the flight numbers and times (not codeshares) from my “history” pages (now screen shots). A normal person would probably drop it at that. I of course went back and booked two one way trips, upgraded to B/F and it still cost $600 less than the next best alternative that (former airline you hate) admitted to having.
    So that is real question #1.

    Question #2 which is an afterthought (because the value of my time finding/doing that booking rather ate up the savings) is:
    Do you have any suggestion (other than ITA, which sometimes does not list available flights even if you query for unavailable seats) where one could look to find ANY CONCEIVABLE ROUTING on Delta (or any other airline for that matter) with which you could relatively easily put together an itinerary to present to an online agent, as “something you know is available but you can’t book online so no extra charge, please”? Thanks, Rene, keep with the good info wherever you take your biz.

    • @Louise – With SkyMiles Delta can legally do anything they want until you book a ticket and even then cancel that if anything against the rules has gone on. As for REV tickets I think the FEDs are already looking at the big3(4). As to cheap routes, for MR, there is no simple finds. Follow my MR tab/page, the FT MR page, TFD on twitter.

  18. This is a followup of the above posting. (Former airline you hate) had a first class international itinerary, for which they did not even provide pillows. I complained and was given approx 5K miles for my trouble.

    On the return (one way) flight, I had to check IN on a former very close partner of (former airline you hate) or else show up at the airport at 3 AM.
    Since I also have an account on that partner, I carefully explained to both the airlines’ reps by phone and then again at check in that I did NOT want credit with the foreign partner for any ongoing flights, just the first one since otherwise I would get no credit at all. I reconfirmed all of this at my first US port where I could speak with an agent.

    You guessed it, all the mileage credit got put on the foreign airline and (former airline you hate) refused to change this unless I could get the foreign airline (their former close partner) to remove the credit from that account. In another language. They were immovable.

    I realize you are now off Delta. I’m off ALL airlines, and would love to participate in any class action suit regarding their unethical tactics. So happy DOJ is pursuing Smisek and his ilk, they should all be inculcated.

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